This skinny vanilla buttermilk cake is my new absolute favorite cake.
Even my mom, who can sometimes be a little hard to please when it comes to cakes, gave it a raving review!
I’ve been looking for a go-to lighter healthier from scratch vanilla cake recipe for quite some time and now I’ve finally got it. It’s the perfect size for us, making a single 8-inch round layer. And it’s super versatile – like the little basic black dress of desserts.
It’s the first recipe I’ve tried from one of my recent cookbook acquisitions: Enlightened Cakes: More Than 100 Decadently Light Layer Cakes, Bundt Cakes, Cupcakes, Cheesecakes, and More, All with Less Fat and Fewer Calories by Camilla Saulsbury.
Think of all the ways you can serve a simple wedge of light, yet moist, and delicious skinny vanilla buttermilk cake:
- Plain or with a dusting of confectioners sugar
- Iced with a thin layer of your favorite frosting
- Sliced horizontally and filled with a layer of jam and few dollops of whipped cream or topping
- Topped with fresh berries or other seasonal fresh fruit
- Topped with a compote of plumped dried fruit
- With a small scoop of frozen yogurt or ice cream
- Drizzled with your favorite sauce
- In a trifle
- Spread with nutella and sprinkled with chopped hazelnuts
- Topped with sliced strawberries alongside a small scoop of vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt…
With a simple fail-proof cake like this in your repertoire, you never have to worry about what to serve for dessert again!
The Skinny on Vanilla Buttermilk Cake
It’s made with basic ingredients I always have on hand, stirs together in minutes, and uses just 1/2 a stick of butter and 1/3 cup sugar, so it’s relatively low in PointsPlus values (as desserts go).
To make this cake even easier, I changed the way you mix it together, using a technique for one-bowl cakes Camilla uses throughout her cookbook, Piece of Cake!: One-Bowl, No-Fuss, From-Scratch Cakes.
- 1 cup flour (all-purpose or cake)
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- ¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature
- ⅔ cup low-fat buttermilk
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 tablespoon confectioners sugar (optional)
- 4 cups sliced strawberries
- 1 tablespoons sugar
- Position your oven rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Spray an 8-inch round baking pan with nonstick baking spray with flour. (Such as Bakers Joy or Pam with flour)
- In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt until well blended.
- Add the egg, butter, buttermilk and vanilla to the flour mixture. Using an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat the mixture for 1 minute, until blended. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula and then beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, until everything is incorporated and well blended.
- Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
- Bake in a preheated oven for 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Remove the pan from the oven and set it on a wire cooling rack for 10 minutes, then remove the cake from the pan and place it on the rack (top side up) to cool completely.
- When completely cool, sprinkle with the confectioners sugar if desired and serve with strawberries
- For the strawberries, in a large bowl, toss together the strawberries and 1 tablespoon sugar until well combined. Let stand for at least 15 minutes, until the sugar melts and strawberries begin to release their juices.
I made it with cake flour the first time and plan on trying all-purpose the next time I make it.
This a very versatile cake. You can enjoy it plain, with fruit and/or whipped cream. Or ice it with a thin layer of your favorite frosting. It's also great with ice cream or frozen yogurt and a drizzle of your favorite sauce.
Next time I may split it and add a thin layer of jam and few dollops of whipped cream before serving it topped with berries.
I also want to experiment with using olive oil instead of butter and lemon juice/zest in place of vanilla.
Another variation would be to top with 1 cup of fresh fruit before baking.
*PointsPlus® for skinny vanilla buttermilk cake calculated by Simple Nourished Living; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.
If you like this skinny vanilla buttermilk cake recipe post, check out these links:
- A Cooking Light recipe for glazed lemon buttermilk bundt cake
- A review of Camilla’s Enlightened Cakes cookbook
- My recipe for easy lighter pound cake from scratch