Vanilla Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream

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A family friend reached out to me a few weeks ago and asked if I would be willing and able to make a cake for her parent’s surprise anniversary party. I love sharing my love of cake with others so I was excited to help. She wanted a simple vanilla cake, which is my favorite as well, and then I had free range to decorate it however I wanted. She was decorating with eucalyptus and gold and white pumpkins so I used that as my inspiration to create this beautiful cake.


Since I had just made a vanilla cake a few weeks prior (for my own birthday) that turned out great, I used the same recipe, replacing the 1/3 cup lemon juice + 2/3 cup milk with 1 cup of (homemade) buttermilk. I made the full batch of Swiss meringue buttercream and it was the perfect amount to frost this cake without worrying about running out of frosting. I had a little frosting leftover (maybe around a cup).

Vanilla Butter Cake
Adapted from Liv for Cake

Vanilla Cake:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 Tbsp baking powder

  • 3/4 tsp salt

  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature

  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • 4 large eggs room temperature

  • 2 tsp vanilla

  • 1 cup buttermilk at room temperature

Elderflower Swiss Meringue Buttercream:

  • 6 large egg whites

  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • 3 cups unsalted butter room temperature

For the Cake: Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour three 8" cake rounds and line with parchment.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt until well combined. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and beat on med-high until pale and fluffy (approximately 3mins). Reduce speed and add eggs one at a time fully incorporating after each addition. Add vanilla. Alternate adding flour mixture with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour (3 additions of flour and 2 of buttermilk). Fully incorporating after each addition. Spread batter evenly between the prepared pans and smooth the tops.

Bake for approximately 28-30 mins or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean. Place cakes on wire rack to cool for 10mins then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely

For the Swiss Meringue Buttercream: Place egg whites and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk until combined. Place bowl over a pot with 1-2" of simmering water and whisk constantly until the mixture is hot and no longer grainy to the touch or reads 160F on a candy thermometer (approx. 3mins) Place bowl on your stand mixer and whisk on med-high until the meringue is stiff and cooled (the bowl is no longer warm to the touch (approx. 10mins).

Switch to paddle attachment. Slowly add cubed butter and mix until smooth.