January 18, 2023

Everyday Butter Cake

A cross between a tea cake and a butter cake, this is a simple & quick vanilla cake recipe that leads to a fluffy snacking style cake good for any day, anytime.

Yield: 1 9" cake
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Recipe Overview 

This recipe started with a pound cake: the ingredients and quantities are very similar to my own pound cake recipe, with some major exceptions and deviations in the method: we’re melting the butter like Deb’s, rather than creaming it into the sugar, and we’re baking it in a shallow square pan (you can also do this in a 9” round pan) and tripling the sour cream. 

 

Baking it shallow means it bakes quicker so no chance of it drying out, rises evenly and since there’s more air dispersed through the crumb it becomes quite fluffy. The added sour cream helps keep it all moist, and the melted butter means that we can make this cake fairly quickly and without the need for an extensive creaming session (like we would in a pound cake!). 

 

All this to say, this cake seems unnervingly simple and basic but turns into something exceptional, the kind of recipe you always want in your rotation if just to have a quick, satisfying cake when you need it. 

 

Recipe Ingredients 

Butter: What our recipe is named after, so no subs! 

 

Flour: Cake flour, with its much finer grain and lower protein content is my preference for most cakes. It’ll give you a lighter crumb and a more tender cake overall. If you can’t find it, you can use all purpose but sift it well and remove two tablespoons of it and add 2 tablespoons of corn or tapioca starch. 

 

Sugar: We’re doing a mix of fine granulated (non-organic) and powdered sugar (I like to use organic powdered sugar, but that’s a personal preference). Partially to sweeten but the added starch to the powdered sugar aids in the fluffy texture of the cake. 

 

Sour Cream: You might ask to use yogurt in place of the sour cream here, I think that the chemistry of it would be fine, but it will alter the flavor (the cake will be tangier) and moisture (not as fluffy). If it’s all you have and you must have cake, go for it.  

 

Vanilla: Aside from the sugar & butter combination, this is your only flavor so use something really good quality and use a lot! You can do a combination of pure extract and paste or the scrapings of a vanilla bean. 

 

Flavoring this Everyday Butter Cake 

I get that someone might see this and think, wow that’s boring I wonder if I can jazz it up with some flavor? So here’s a few ideas: 

  • Citrus: add any kind of lemon, lime or orange zest to the batter. Forgo the juice which will mess with the chemistry of the cake and use an extract instead. 
  • Chocolate chips: some mini chocolate chips would be lovely here. 
  • Turn it into a coffee cake: spread a mixture of granulated sugar and cinnamon (and/or cocoa) into the center. 

 

Can I double this recipe? 

You can but I’d still bake it in separate pans so that you don’t have to over-cook it to get the center to bake. This is a thick cake and would struggle to bake in the center in a large pan.

 

Everyday Butter Cake Recipe

Everyday Butter Cake

A cross between a tea cake and a butter cake, this is a simple & quick vanilla cake recipe that leads to a fluffy snacking style cake good for any day, anytime.
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Yields: 1 9" cake
5 from 17 votes

Ingredients

  • 226g or 1 cup unsalted butter cold is fine
  • 220g or 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 180g or ¾ cup sour cream
  • 250g or 2 cups cake flour sifted
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 9” square or round cake pan.
  • Place the butter in a large glass or heatproof bowl and microwave it until it’s almost but not completely melted.
  • Add the sugar and whisk very well, a full 30 seconds.
  • Add the salt and vanilla and whisk for another 30 seconds.
  • Add the eggs then whisk for a full minute, until it’s light and creamy.
  • Whisk in the sour cream.
  • Sift in the cake flour, powdered sugar and baking powder.
  • Fold the batter until it’s smooth. Pour into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with an additional 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar.
  • Bake for 30-45 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean and the top is golden brown.

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Recipe Rating




  1. 5 stars
    Loved it! I followed the recipe to a T! Although because my oven is stronger I baked mine for 30 mins. It was so good I had to make it again two days later! #bestcakeever

  2. This recipe looks delish! Could you add sprinkles to the batter or on top of the cake? If so, how much would you recommend? Thinking about adding rainbow sprinkles…

  3. I’m dying to make this into a cupcake- any suggestions regarding the baking temp/ time? I don’t want to go in and completely butcher the batter

  4. Hi! I would like to try this out with the mini chocolate chips you suggested – how much would you recommend? Maybe a half cup?

  5. 5 stars
    Gone by the end of the evening!!! Everyone loved this. Thank you.! This is the first recipe of yours I’ve made. It won’t be the last!

  6. This recipe looks delicious. When whisking- do you recommend whisking by hand or with a hand mixer / stand mixer?

  7. 5 stars
    I had been obsessing over the thought of this cake since I first came across the recipe. I didn’t have enough sour cream so I used one quarter cup sour cream and 1/2 c Greek vanilla yogurt. It came out great !

  8. 5 stars
    LOVED THIS! Thought I had ruined it by using salted butter and corse kosher salt, not at all. Next time I would make sure unsalted butter and using sea salt. Going to experiement with adding brown sugar cinnamon swirls to it for a breakfast coffee cake version.

  9. My 13 year old made this, as I am in bed sick, and hers never came together, looked curdled even after moving in the dry ingredients. Wonder why?

  10. 5 stars
    Made this on a whim and it came out so good!
    Things I Did Differently:
    – Used 1/2 tsp of regular salt instead of 1 tsp of fine sea salt
    – coconut milk yogurt instead of sour cream
    – Did not have cake flour so I followed her direction of removing 2 tbsp of flour, added 2 tbsp of corn starch
    – added orange zest
    Even with the edits I had to make, the cake still came out delicious! Will be making again, it was so easy

  11. 5 stars
    wow. i just finished making this cake and i don’t regret it a single bit! it’s so good! i substituted the sour cream for cream cheese because i didn’t have any and it still came out amazing!!! my dad loves is a huge cake lover and he said it’s one of the best i’ve made. thank you for this recipe definitely will make again!

  12. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! Super light, kind of a mix between a butter cake and a pound cake. Would be fantastic with some whipped cream and berries!

  13. 5 stars
    This is the best snack cake! It is super fluffy with the little crisp on top from the powdered sugar. We cut the recipe to 1/3, used a loaf pan, and baked for 25 minutes and it came out perfect. I’m going to try it with a little orange extract next time.

  14. Sweetened this partly with maple syrup (because i did this on a whim and didn’t quite have enough granulated sugar) and it’s absolutely lovely

  15. Can this be done in the air fryer? It’s summer in were I am and trying to avoid turning the oven on at all cost

  16. 5 stars
    I made it and it’s perfect! I ended up adding the zest of two lemons and 2 tbsp of lemon juice and it turned out absolutely beautiful. Thank you so much for the lovely recipe!

  17. What size pan did you use for baking? Also what material pan is best for this recipe? Foil, metal, glass, etc.?

  18. This looks amazing and I’d love to try it! Has anyone tried this but with dairy free/vegan butter and sour cream? I’d love to make it but I’m seriously lactose intolerant

  19. Hi! Have you ever tried Greek yogurt instead of sour cream? I only ask because that’s what I have in my house right now and I think I need to make this…right now.

  20. If I wanted to make a small snacking cake and halved the recipe, what would you suggest for halving the 3 eggs (preferably without wasting half an egg, if possible).

    • It is a rather small snacking cake as is, unless you want to make it in a loaf pan? If so I’d just halve the egg after cracking and whisking (maybe even weigh it so you know you are getting exactly half). Some say you can just use the yolk but I find it alters the texture of the bake a bit.

  21. Making tomorrow morning first thing! Easy quick cake with ingredients I always have on hand…will make some hot tea, eat cake and watch all creatures great and small. Perfect Saturday morning! Thank you!!

  22. 5 stars
    This might be the best cake I’ve ever made! It’s delicious, moist and super easy to make—only one bowl. I sprinkled a mix of cinnamon and sugar on top and it’s perfect. Thanks for another wonderful recipe.