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Two Layer Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Cake with Cherry Compote and Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • Author: Erin Clarkson
  • Prep Time: 45
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: One 6" layer cake - serves 8 1x


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 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 115g unsalted butter, at room temperature

Cherry Compote

  • 450g pitted cherries, diced
  • 75g sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste (optional)

Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 125g egg whites
  • 200g sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 450g unsalted butter, cool, cut into cubes



  1. 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)
  2. 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.
  3. With the mixer on low, add the butter a cube at a time, until fully incorporated and the mixture looks like sand.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes in their pans, then turn onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely.


  1. 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.
  2. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and lemon juice, then transfer to an airtight container and allow to cool completely.


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated. (see notes for trouble shooting)
  5. Once the buttercream has finished mixing, switch to the paddle attachment and mix on low for one minute to remove any air.


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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