How to make the best Butter Cake

Learn how to make the best traditional butter cake using just six simple ingredients. This recipe and tips will ensure you always bake a beautiful light, moist and delicious butter cake.

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How to make the best butter cake

Sometimes the simple things bring the most joy. This traditional butter cake is made from just six pantry staples, but the end result is what cooking is all about - care, comfort and deliciousness.
  • 250g Western Star Chef’s Choice Butter, chopped, softened
  • 1 cup (215g) caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups (300g) self-raising flour
  • ½ cup (125ml) milk
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C (fan-forced) and grease a 24cm x 13cm x 6.5cm (base measurements) loaf pan. Line base and sides with baking paper, extending paper 2cm above pan edges
  2. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until pale and creamy
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mixture may look curdled at this stage
  4. Add sifted flour and milk in two batches, folding until combined. Spoon into prepared pan and smooth top
  5. Cook 50-60 minutes or until lightly golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from oven and stand in pan for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely
Get the recipe that you can save to your myfoodbook cookbooks here: Butter Cake
5 tips for making the perfect butter cake
1. Preheat the oven
Always preheat your oven to the right temperature before baking to make sure your cake cooks evenly. Cakes are best baked in the lower-middle shelves, so arrange the shelving before turning on the oven to avoid losing any heat. If you're not sure your oven is the right temperature, place an oven thermometer in the middle of the oven and check it doesn’t run too hot or cold. Adjust temperature and time to suit if necessary.
2. Preparing the pan
Use the correct cake pan size. Pans that are too large or small will affect the cook time and end result. Always grease and line the baking pan with baking paper to stop your cake sticking. To make it easier to line, use a cooking spray to lightly grease the tin first.
3. Use quality, room temperature ingredients
All your ingredients must be at room temperature before you begin to ensure the fats, eggs and dairy emulsify easily and form a good batter.
This cake is so simple that the flavour and quality of all the ingredients will shine. Fresh butter, milk, eggs and even flour will greatly affect the flavour and quality of your butter cake. A cultured butter such as Western Star Chef's Choice Butter will provide a rich creamery flavour for an outstanding butter cake. Check that your ingredients are all in date, especially your self-raising flour as out-of-date flour may not rise well to give you a fluffy texture.
Weigh and measure ingredients carefully. Using a scale is the most accurate method. If using a cup measure for flour and sugar, scoop it out as opposed to filling it with a spoon. Overfill the cup measure, tap gently to compact the flour or sugar then scrape excess off the top with the back of a dinner knife.
4. Don’t substitute
Avoid substituting ingredients as this can have a structural impact on the end result.
5. Let the cake cool
You've done the work and now your prize is out of the oven! It's tempting to cut into the freshly baked cake, but your cake will crumble and break.
Remove it from the oven and let it stand in its cake tin for 5-10 minutes, the cake continues cooking and sets during this time. Remove any baking paper and cool on a wire cake rack until room temperature (it's okay to remove the cake while it's still a little warm, but not hot).
Now you can slice and serve! If you are icing your butter cake, it's best to chill your cake first to prevent the icing from softening or melting.
What is the best butter for butter cake?
Western Star Chef’s Choice Butter is ideal for baking and butter cakes. This award-winning butter is unsalted so you can control the level of salt, and it’s known for its creamier continental taste and texture. Its creamy, fresh taste makes for the cleanest buttery flavour.
What is the difference between sponge cake and butter cake?
Sponge cakes have a light, spongy and airy texture. They generally contain no or very little butter and use whipped egg white as the major raising agent. Butter cakes, however, contain a large amount of butter, and use a raising agent such as baking powder or bi-carb soda for leavening.
Why is my butter cake dry?
A dry cake texture could simply be the result of too much flour to butter ratio. Cake baking recipes are quite a science and have a delicate balance of ingredient ratios. All the ingredients should be carefully measured or weighed, and recipe methods and cook times followed closely. It could also be that your oven is too hot, and the cake has been overcooked. Some ovens run hotter and can “dry” out cakes and baked goods. Check your oven with an oven thermometer, or adjust your cook times.
Why is my butter cake dense and heavy?
There could be a number of reasons:
  • Over-creaming the butter and sugar together will trap more air in the mixture, which can cause the cake to deflate. For best results, cream butter for 2-3 minutes only.
  • Your raising agents may be out of date. In this case, check your self-raising flour.
  • Over-mixing the batter will develop too much gluten, making your cake chewy instead of light. Only fold ingredients together just until combined.
  • Too much liquid or sugar can also create a dense texture for your butter cake. Always weigh or measure ingredients correctly.
How long does butter cake last?
Butter cake will keep well wrapped in a sealed container for 3 days. Microwave slices for 10 seconds or until warm before serving.
More baking recipes
Discover more great baking ideas below, including a tropical passionfruit butter that's perfectly served with this butter cake.
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