Two Layer Vanilla Buttermilk Cake with Cherry Compote and Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream. This small two-layer cake is perfect for a celebration with a small group. The cake is tender from the reverse creaming method, and the Swiss meringue buttercream is smooth and silky. This is the perfect vanilla bean cake!
VANILLA BUTTERMILK CAKE
Hi! Happy Sunday! Just popping in to share this cake I’ve been working on with you. I have a whole bunch of three layer cakes and also a lot of snack cakes on here, but I wanted something that would be a wee in between size - still a layer cake with a filling, but a slightly scaled down version, so I scaled my favourite vanilla bean cake to make two 6 inch cakes, added in some buttermilk, filled it with a super easy cherry compote filling, then finished the whole thing off with a super smooth, silky swiss meringue buttercream.
TWO LAYER VANILLA BUTTERMILK CAKE - PERFECT FOR SMALL BATCH
This cake only has two layers, so it is a bit more approachable than a regular three layer cake. This means that it comes together super quickly, but is also the perfect amount of cake for a small gathering or a special event with a few people. You can mix and match the cake and the frosting if you like - any other frosting on my site will go great with this!
The cake itself is super simple - it is a vanilla buttermilk cake, which is super tender and has a delicate crumb thanks to the reverse creaming method, which is where you combine your dry ingredients, then slowly incorporate the butter. What this does is coats the flour in fat, which inhibits gluten development, giving you that lovely delicate, soft crumb. It is one of my favourite ways to make a cake, and works particularly well for this vanilla cake.
A FEW WEE TIPS FOR VANILLA BUTTERMILK CAKE
- Use good quality butter if you can here. I used Lewis Road Creamery. It really makes a huge difference to the taste!
- I also use good quality vanilla - I exclusively use Heilala. You can use the code CLOUDY20 in their store for a wee discount!
- You can fill this with whatever you like. I made a cherry filling, but it would be so good with any stone fruit filling, a berry compote, spiced apple filling, or you can just leave the filling out and have a vanilla on vanilla cake.
- The frosting will leave you with a wee bit left over. I don’t want you to feel like you don’t have enough frosting (truly the worst feeling ever), so there is a wee bit more. It is enough if you wanted to do a piped buttercream border, or it keeps in the fridge or freezes well in an airtight container too.
- I usually don’t use them because I am lazy, but Cake strips really make a difference here. They are a piece of material that you wet and wrap around the bottom of your cake pan, and they prevent the outside edge of the cake from baking up too quickly and browning too fast, and help the cake bake up nice and flat. You can either buy them or make your own by wetting a strip of scrap material and wrapping around.
- When you are dividing your batter between the pans, do it by weight. I like to know the weight of my mixing bowl before I start (write it somewhere in your kitchen), so I can just weigh the bowl filled with batter, and then subtract the bowl weight to get the weight of the batter. You can then work out how much batter goes in each pan. It’s quick and easy and means you get really even layers.
- I made the cake layers a few days before, then wrapped them tightly and froze them until needed. Then I let them defrost for a wee bit in the fridge, but you can assemble with the cake frozen if you like - just leave time for it to defrost once you’ve finished making it!
- I like to make my buttercream with cold butter, as it has less chance of going sloppy. Sometimes though this means that the butter doesn’t totally incorporate because the mixture gets too cool. To fix this I either quickly run the blow torch over the outside of the mixing bowl (only do this if your bowl is metal), or remove a tiny bit of the buttercream and either melt in the microwave or over the stove and then mix back in - the warmth from the small portion of warmed buttercream will be enough to bring up the temperature of the overall mixture and bring together your buttercream. You can also bring your butter out about 10 minutes before you start, and chop it up so it is a wee bit soft by the time you need it.
- I made some wee flags for the top of the cake using skewers and washi tape, inspired by this cake that my friend Tessa made!
More Layer Cake Recipes
- Vanilla Layer Cake
- Earl Grey Layer Cake with Vanilla German Buttercream
- Chocolate Buttermilk Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting and Honey Caramel Corn
- Banana Layer Cake with Salted Caramel and Peanut Butter Buttercream
Made this recipe and love it?
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A note on salt and oven temperature
It is important to note the type of salt that is called for in a recipe. I use Diamond Crystal salt throughout my recipes - if you use a different sort of kosher salt or regular table salt you will need to adjust accordingly as some salt is 'saltier' than others. Morton's salt is twice as salty, so you will need half the quantity. Same goes for a regular table salt. I am working to get gram measurements throughout my recipes for salt but still getting there.
All oven temperatures are conventional unless otherwise stated. If you are baking on fan / convection, you will need to adjust the temperature. An oven thermometer is a great investment to ensure that your oven is the correct temperature.
Using the double / triple function in the recipe card
You will notice that there is a '1X' '2X' '3X' button in my recipe card. This can be used for doubling or tripling a recipe. However, please note that this only doubles the ingredient quantities in the ingredients list and NOT in the method. If there are quantities or pan sizes in the method of the recipe (for example weigh out 150g brown butter), you will need to scale this number manually. It will also not change the baking time in the recipe so you will need to adjust this yourself too. It is always a good idea to read through a recipe fully before doubling it just to check this. If you would like to scale this recipe or convert for another pan size, use my calculator!
Tools and equipment
For a list of my go-to tools and equipment, I have a post you can refer to here.
Why is this recipe in grams?
I post my recipes in grams as it is the most accurate way to bake. Cups are not only inaccurate but they vary in volume worldwide. There is no way for me to provide one cup measure that works for everyone. However, posting in weight fixes this issue. If you would like the recipe in cups you are welcome to convert it yourself via google, but please do not ask me to do it for you as I am not comfortable providing a recipe using a method that I have not tested. Baking with a scale is easy, accurate, and also makes cleanup super simple. Here is the scale that I use if you would like a recommendation! Here's to accurate baking!Print
Two Layer Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Cake with Cherry Compote and Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream. The cake is tender from the reverse creaming method, and the Swiss meringue buttercream is smooth and silky.
Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Cake
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 130g buttermilk, at room temperature
- 40g full fat greek yoghurt
- 200g all-purpose flour
- 150g sugar
- 1 ¼ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 450g pitted cherries, diced
- 75g sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp vanilla bean paste (optional)
Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 125g egg whites
- 200g sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 450g unsalted butter, cool, cut into cubes
VANILLA BEAN BUTTERMILK CAKE
- Preheat the oven to 350°f / 180°c. Grease two 6” cake pans, and line with parchment paper on the bottom (see notes for using bake even strips)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, buttermilk, and yoghurt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix briefly to combine.
- With the mixer on low, add the butter a cube at a time, until fully incorporated and the mixture looks like sand.
- Add half of the wet ingredients into the mixer. Mix until just combined, then add the second half of the wet ingredients. Mix on medium speed until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and give a few folds with a rubber spatula to ensure that no dry ingredients remain.
- Divide the batter between your two cake tins (I prefer to do this by weight - see notes). Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cakes are springy to the touch, and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes in their pans, then turn onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
- Place the cherries, sugar, and salt into a medium saucepan and mix to combine. Place over a medium heat and bring to a boil, then cook, stirring often, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the fruit has softened a little and the liquid is turning syrupy.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and lemon juice, then transfer to an airtight container and allow to cool completely.
SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM
- Place the egg whites, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or a heat proof bowl. Place over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the water does not touch the bowl.
- Heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture registers 160˚f / 70˚c on a thermometer and the sugar has dissolved. Carefully transfer the bowl to the mixer, and fit with the whisk attachment.
- Whip the egg whites on high until they are snowy white and fluffy, 6-7 minutes. Add the butter one chunk at a time. The mixture may look curdled - but just keep mixing! Once all the butter is incorporated, mix on high for a further 10 minutes.
- Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated. (see notes for trouble shooting)
- Once the buttercream has finished mixing, switch to the paddle attachment and mix on low for one minute to remove any air.
- Transfer some of the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip or just with the end snipped off - this will be used to make a buttercream dam to hold in the cherry filling between layers.
- Secure one of the layers of cake to a cake turntable using a little buttercream. Add about half a cup of buttercream onto the first layer of cake, and smooth using an offset spatula.
- Create a buttercream dam using the buttercream in the piping bag by piping a ring of frosting around the outside edge of the first layer. Fill in the ring with the cherry filling (leave any extra juicy stuff behind, you may not need all of it).
- Place the second layer of cake onto the first, upside down to give you a flat top edge, pressing very lightly to secure, and sealing the joins with a layer of buttercream.
- Crumb coat the cake - to do this, apply a thin layer of buttercream over the surface of the cake, and smooth with a bench scraper or icing smoother. You can chill the cake now if you like, or you can continue on frosting it. I like to chill it if I am giving it a smooth finish, but found I do not need to if it is a rustic one like this.
- Apply a layer of buttercream over the surface of the cake and smooth off briefly with an offset spatula and scraper. Using your offset spatula, create swoops in the frosting. Smooth off the top edge. Alternatively, finish as desired.
- Store in the fridge until serving. Allow to stand at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before serving. Store leftovers in the fridge.
Cake Design inspired by Tessa Huff
Keywords: Cake, Buttermilk Cake, Vanilla Cake, Vanilla Bean Cake, Vanilla Buttercream, Swiss Meringue Buttercream