Grandmother's Buttermilk Cake

Thursday 7 February 2019

Do you want the good news or the bad news first.  Okay, I'll give you the bad news.  My stove is broken. It's a combined gas electric and until I can afford to have it fixed, nothing is coming out of it.  
The gas burners have an electric ignition and the oven is totally electric.  I managed to get this cake baked and then Kaput!!!  That is the good news  . . .  at least this cake was finished baking!  Every silver lining and all that!

Normally I would have a whole queue of recipes waiting to post so you mightn't even have noticed.  
Unfortunately with recent events, that is not the case, so this cake is pretty much it until further notice. 

Perhaps this is the Universe's way of  telling me to slow down . . .  and maybe that's not a bad thing. 

This is a really lovely cake.  Its pretty basic, but its moist and delicious . . . 

Its the kind of cake that your nan would have cut and sat down in front of you when you went around to visit.  My maternal grandmother passed away when I was five years old. 
That must have been so hard for my mum . . .  she would have only been about 28 years old.  When I think about it, I am so blessed to have had my mum around for as long as I did.

My paternal Grandmaman passed away when I was about 28 years old, so a lot older (in her 80's).  I don't recall her ever making us cake, but she made beautiful meat pies and pancakes.

This cake is a lovely cake, truly.  Its simple . . .  there is nothing complicated here . . . 

Just simple flour, sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla . . . oh, and buttermilk.  I actually didn't have any buttermilk today, so I added some lemon juice to whole milk to make sour milk, and it worked beautifully. 

Just beat all the ingredients together and spread the batter in a pan and bake . . . 

The frosting is also really easy, and uses simple ingredients . . .  icing sugar (or confectioner's sugar as it is also known or powdered sugar) . . .  butter, cocoa powder (not drink mix), vanilla and some more buttermilk

Spread this creamy chocolate frosting on top of the cooled cake and you are basically done . . .

I like to put some sprinkles on top to dress it up a bit.  They look really pretty! 

With a glass of cold milk on the side, you can't lose.  The kids, big and small . . .  are really going to love this!

Yield: 9

Grandmother's Buttermilk Cake

prep time: 15 minscook time: 35 minstotal time: 50 mins
Tried and true, moist and delicious, this classic home style buttermilk cake is sure to put a smile on everyone's face.


  • 85g butter, softened (6 TBS)
  • 190g granulated sugar (1 cup)
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 210g plain flour (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 TBS baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 120ml buttermilk (1/2 cup)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the frosting
  • 60g butter (1/4 cup)
  • 195g icing sugar, sifted  (1 1/2 cups)
  • 30g, cocoa powder, sifted (1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 TBS buttermilk


  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Butter an 8 inch square baking tin and dust lightly with flour, tapping out all the excess.
  2. Using an electric whisk, beat the butter and sugar together for the cake until light and creamy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Slowly beat this into the creamed mixture, alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with a dry addition.  Stir in the vanilla.  Spread evenly in the prepared baking tin.  Bake in the preheated oven for about 35 minutes.  A toothpick inserted in the centre should come out clean.
  3. Leave to cool completely in the tin.
  4. To make the frosting beat the butter until creamy, then beat in the remaining ingredients until smooth and spreadable.  Spread over the cooled cake. Cut into squares to serve.
Created using The Recipes Generator

I really hope that my stove isn't out of commission for very long, but maybe I do need a break.  Hope you bake this cake and that you  and your family truly enjoy it!  Bon Appetit! 

Note - ingredients can be doubled successfully to make a larger cake.  Just bake in a 9 by 13 inch pan for 35 to 40 minutes. 

This content (written and photography) is the sole property of The English Kitchen. Any reposting or misuse is not permitted. If you are reading this elsewhere, please know that it is stolen content and you may report it to me at: mariealicejoan at aol dot com Thanks so much for visiting. Do come again! 

Follow my blog with Bloglovin


  1. Sorry to read about your cooker Marie. Mine is on its' last legs-only 2 burners and small oven still working but it's nearly 20 years old. Thanks for this recipe and all your earlier work.

    1. Thanks Jay! Its been a real work horse. Working over time 365 a year for the past 8 years. I love it so really hope that it is not on its last legs. We have an engineer coming to look at it on Monday! Wish me luck! xo

  2. Thank you for another winner marie..Personally I don't know how you maintain 2 blogs every day!!..Wowsers.Kudos:)

    1. Its the perfect size for small families Monique and feeding the littles! xo

  3. This sounds like a real family pleaser and I'm saving it up for when the grandkids come over for a visit. I love the sprinkles you used on the top. Are they something special?

    What a pain about your cooker. And you being a person who actually uses it and needs it! These trials are sent to test our patience for sure.

    1. They are Marie, but I am coping well. We bought a little electric ring to use for heating up soup and stuff. It might also come in useful for other things! Your grandkids will love this cake. The sprinkles are little candy covered chocolate buttons! xo

  4. I don't know about English stoves, but my propane stove also has electric ignition and I can light the burners with a match when there's no electricity. Not the oven, though. Hope you can get baking again soon--not being able to bake in midwinter is the pits! The cake looks scrumptious. I love baking with buttermilk. My dad used to drink it, but I can only take it in cooked food (or the occasional salad dressing).

    1. I do a lot of baking, but it won't hurt me to have a few days off I guess! I can't imagine drinking buttermilk, but I know quite a few people do Marty! Over here you can only get it in small containers, but in Ireland they sell it by the litre! Obviously the Irish use it a lot more! xo

  5. I am so sorry to hear about your stove. Can you use one of the simple gas stove lighters that they make for the job? Or even very carefully long matches?

    When we moved house it was going to cost so much to have a stove we hated disconnected and reconnected that we left it behind. I bought a fairly cheap halogen toaster oven and a single plug in induction hob. Granted I needed to only use "magnetic" pans on it, but I had a pretty set of enamel pans that I bought in a charity shop and am shocked to discover that I like it more than gas hobs that I have used my whole life! I have since bought a better oven and a second hob, but genuinely have found that I don't need anything more. I rarely use my second hob as it is so fast I don't often need it. I rarely cook for more than the two of us. If I do then my first toaster oven stands on top of the better one and the other hob comes out. The cost of replacing ovens is huge and if you (mostly) only cook for two then probably not worth the money.

    I hope you solve your cooker problems. Please stay well and safe.

    1. Hi Katie, this was actually last January, a year ago. My stove has since been fixed! Whew! I wish I had more counterspace as if I did I would certainly consider having a toaster oven! You stay well and safe also! xoxo

  6. Thanks for the recipe. It was great... except I had to convert tsps (a USA measurement) to grams. I didn't expect to have to do this when using an English recipe. Sorry to be critical. 😥

    1. You can be as critical as you like. You will find plenty of English recipes out there using tsp and TBS. I do my best. I am a Canadian by birth, having lived in the UK for a third of my life and back in Canada now. I like to think my recipe blog presents the best of both worlds. Sorry to disappoint!

  7. Hi Marie, I do believe I m addicted to your recipes now, the Spanish cake was amazing,I cannot go a week without making the hobnobs, but this cake. Oh my days, I absolutely love it. I have made it so many times in the last few weeks. Everyone gets some so they can hear me rave about it. Sometimes I make it a 2 layer using a cake knife and put raspberry jam in the middle and lemon icing on the top. I wanted to ask if you think it would work as a layer cake. I know you mention the larger sheet cake but ideally I would like to make it as a 2 layer 8” round cake, so I can fill and frost it. The last time I made it I added 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and it worked a dream, the cake stayed soft for 4 days, mind you by day 4 there was only a tiny slither left. I don’t think I will ever use another vanilla cake recipe again. Thank you so much for these wonderful treats, although my waistline might complain a bit, as they are so good I have to eat them.

    1. Hi there. That makes me so happy that you are enjoying my recipes as much as you are. That's why I share. So people can enjoy my recipes as well as I do! You could do this definitely as a layer cake. Just double the ingredients and bake it in two round 8 inch tins. If there is too much batter, you can bake the extra as a couple of fairy cakes. Speaking of waistlines, what is that? haha xoxo

  8. Many thanks, Marie, I forgot to put my name on the question. Best wishes, Jayne. PS I am trying your sweet and sour chicken next.

    1. Hi Jayne! I hope that you enjoy the chicken! I predict that you will! xo

    2. Hi Marie, I made the layer cake with macerated strawberries and white chocolate buttercream, I only used 1.5 times the recipe and it is amazing, I wish I could upload a picture to show you. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. Oh I will comment in the chicken recipe, but oh my days, I was in sweet and sour heaven. Best wishes, Jayne.


Thanks for stopping by. I love to hear from you so do not be shy!

Did you make the recipe as directed? Recipe results are not guaranteed when changes have been made.

Is this comment helpful to other readers? Rude or hateful comments will not be approved. Remember that this website is run by a real person.

Are you here to complain about ads? Please keep in mind that I develop these recipes and provide them to you for free. Advertising helps to defray my cost of doing so, and allows me to continue to post regular fresh content.

Thanks so much for your understanding! I appreciate you!