Vanilla Bean Cake with Strawberry Buttercream

vanilla bean cake with strawberry buttercream 5


You know how they say dogs and their masters start to look alike after a while? I have a feeling it’s that way with food bloggers and their food. Like, I really think I bake the way I dress — comfy and cozy…a messy bun, fleece lined tights (oh my god, have you tried those??)ย  and an old cashmere sweater. And yes, I still wear Ugg boots. Kinda like this little cake, no sharp edges, nothing fussy. We’re two peas in a pod, this cake and me.


And I have to hand it to this little cake, it soldiered on through so many mishaps. Even though it lost a whole layer of its being to the bottom of the pan, the texture was light and fluffy, and the vanilla flavor was pure. Even though I added a liiiitle too much strawberry puree to the frosting so that it drooped and slumped where it should have peaked and swirled, it rang out with the essence of fresh strawberries. So even though it was technically a fail, I didn’t have the heart to keep this stalwart little cake from his moment in the spotlight. He won me over with pure chutzpah. And on top of that he was delicious. I love the combination of vanilla and strawberry, it reminds me of spring. This is a simple cake with a simple buttercream, livened up with fresh strawberry puree. It’s a lovely cake, just be sure to line your pan with parchment ๐Ÿ˜‰

vanilla bean cake with strawberry buttercream 5
5 from 2 votes

Vanilla Bean Cake with Strawberry Buttercream

Author Sue Moran


  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 8 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

for the frosting

  • 1/2 pint strawberries
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2-3 cups confectioner's sugar


  • Set oven to 350F
  • Grease and flour a 9" cake or spring form pan. I recommend lining the bottom with parchment.
  • Whisk the dry ingredients together so they are well mixed. Set aside.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  • Add the vanilla extract and the seeds from the bean.
  • Add the flour to the bowl, alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat just until combined.
  • Turn the batter into the pan.and smooth it out evenly.
  • Bake for about 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out without wet batter clinging to it.
  • Cool on a rack completely before frosting.
  • To make the frosting: Wash and hull the berries. Cut them in half and put them in the bowl of a small 4 cup food processor. Process until you have a smooth puree. Scrape down the sides of the machine as necessary.
  • Cream the butter with 2 cups of the sugar. ,Add just enough puree to form a spreadable frosting. Beat until smooth.and adjust the texture with more sugar if too wet, or more puree if too stiff.

Cook's notes

Cake recipe adapted from
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.


What does your cake say about you?

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  • Reply
    Lakshmy Govind
    January 15, 2019 at 12:20 pm

    I just tested this before my one year olds birthday this march. Came out so well. Vanilla and strawberries are a match made in heaven

    • Reply
      January 15, 2019 at 1:22 pm

      This is such a nice choice for a first birthday!

  • Reply
    February 24, 2014 at 9:48 am

    that cake looks amazingly soft, sue! your choice of frosting is perfect. what a lovely creation.

  • Reply
    Laura Dembowski
    February 23, 2014 at 10:32 am

    I think this cake and frosting look absolutely perfect! I’m practically drooling over the pics. Oh, and I live in my Ugg slippers. I don’t know what I did before them. I’ve worn them every day all day, except when I leave the house, for about ten years. Of course they have to be replaced frequently getting so much wear.

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    February 21, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    This simple little cake looks and sounds just perfect – maybe like its master? Never seen fleece lined tights. Might be something they need in UK.

  • Reply
    February 20, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    Here’s a little trick I learned from my momma to help prevent your layer cakes from sticking to the bottom of the pan:
    With a magic marker, pen, or pencil, trace around the edge of your layer pan onto waxed paper. Fold in half, then, quarters, then again. Cut on rounded edge and unfurl your circle of wax paper that will now fit your pan. Spray pan with cooking spray, then place wax paper in bottom. Your layers will release perfectly every time when you use waxed paper!

    • Reply
      February 21, 2014 at 6:55 am

      I need to remember that :\ Thanks!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    February 20, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Well said Sue – well said. It doesn’t have to be six layers of perfection – this is perfect just the way it is.

  • Reply
    February 20, 2014 at 9:39 am

    Those tights sound wonderful, will have to do a little googling on them. I’m an Uggs girl myself despite their apparent fashion faux-pas for women over a certain *ahem* age. I love them, they’re super comfy, warm and easy on and off. And to keep this post cake-related, this looks lovely, that pale pink caught my eye and hooked me in ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Reply
    February 20, 2014 at 4:45 am

    I am definitely ready for spring and berries. They won’t come soon enough! Though, I might have to get this cake on my counter this weekend…because now that i’ve seen that strawberry frosting, I won’t be able to stop thinking about it!

    • Reply
      February 20, 2014 at 8:09 am

      Thanks Joanne ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    February 19, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    The simplest desserts are often the best. Love these flavors and your pretty pink buttercream!

  • Reply
    [email protected] is How I Cook
    February 19, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    I think you’ll have to toss those tights soon because this cake signals that Spring is in the air. I can smell it from here!

  • Reply
    February 19, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    What a lovely little cake and frosting! Not in the least “droopy and schlumpy” but more relaxed and inviting…deliciously so! Cannot wait to make this. Oh, and, would love a link for those fleece lined tights; I live here in SoCal (Orange Co) and have never seen them.

  • Reply
    February 19, 2014 at 10:06 am

    I had to chuckle at the description of how you dress. At work, my hair is perfectly coifed, my makeup is carefully put on and I try to dress professionally. Today, I’m on my couch (enjoying vacation) sans makeup, bedhead hair, sweats. This is the true me. This cake is a stunner, in it’s simplicity. The crumb on this as tender as what I’m always seeking. I love the natural pink of this frosting. I made a strawberry cake where I loved the frosting more than I loved the denseness of the cake. I’m pinning this as a cake recipe I just have to try– I love cake. The more, the better! Oh, and fleece lined tights…? Curious, too.

    • Reply
      February 19, 2014 at 10:25 am

      Thanks Debby — and I would not steer you wrong, go out and buy yourself a pair of those tights — you will NOT regret it ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    February 19, 2014 at 9:47 am

    Hi Sue, Another fabulous recipe I see. Love that you used vanilla pin in the cake and fresh strawberries in the frosting!

    • Reply
      February 19, 2014 at 10:28 am

      Thanks Cheri — I get so sick of passing by those out of season strawberries every week, and I figure we are getting a little closer to spring every day…hopefully! Somehow I think the fresh puree brings out the flavor so much more than if I were to just eat the berries whole.

  • Reply
    February 19, 2014 at 9:15 am

    Looks delicious. Tell me more about those fleece lined tights even though I don’t need them in Florida…..very curious.

    • Reply
      February 19, 2014 at 10:30 am

      No — you do need them in Florida for the cold nights and the air conditioning! I discovered them in New England, but brought them with me to Los Angeles, and I wear them just as often. They are the coziest things imaginable, and my daughters who live in the really cold parts of the country swear by them. I’ll have to find a link to put up!

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