Looking for a cake to "wow" family, friends, guests? This delicious, one-bowl, super easy Buttermilk Butter Crunch Cake will do the trick!
If this Buttermilk Butter Crunch Cake had a place in Webster's dictionary, I'm quite certain that this is how it would be described:
A super tender, super moist, deliciously buttery, golden cake that can be literally thrown together in 10-minutes (hands-on time). The icing is also really easy and quick. It's a one-bowl, no-mixer, silky, vanilla buttercream that's scattered with a crisp, candied coconut-almond topping. Start to finish, this cake comes together in less than one hour.
Do you know what makes me (and Scott) really happy? That I (we) don't have to just read the definition of this Easy Buttermilk Butter Crunch Cake.
Nope, if I have just one hour to spare, I can have this cake sitting on my table, just waiting to be sliced and enjoyed. You can too! Yay!
If you've enjoyed our Easy Farmhouse Buttermilk Cake, you're going to love this one too, as I've adapted it from that super popular recipe. It's similar, while at the same time quite different, especially in the topping category.
The topping is two-fold, first, a quick buttercream made with butter, powdered sugar, milk, vanilla and a whisper of almond extract. (I'm of the opinion that just a touch of almond extract gives baked goods a really fine European-like flavor.)
As described in the Webster (wannabe) definition above, the second layer is an amazingly crisp, crunchy, candied almond-coconut topping. How do you "candy" almonds and coconut? Easy! Just combine the two and stir together with a bit of melted butter and honey. The mixture goes into the oven for 10 minutes and comes out golden, crisp and pretty as a picture!
What does buttermilk do in cakes?
Buttermilk is one of the secret ingredients in this Buttermilk Butter Crunch Cake (and in lots of other baked goods). I would go as far as saying it's almost magical. What does buttermilk do in cakes and other baked goods? Fine Cooking explains it like this:
"Buttermilk owes its success as a baking ingredient to its acidity. It’s not nearly as sour as lemon juice or vinegar, of course, but the milder lactic acid present in buttermilk makes it a real boon to bakers. A slightly acidic batter helps keep baked goods moist and tender by breaking down long, tough strands of gluten; it also prevents cherries and walnuts from acquiring a blue tinge in muffins. The tartness of buttermilk adds a pleasing, subtle tang to cakes and pastries. And the acid is responsible for buttermilk’s thick consistency, which adds a soft, rich, creamy quality to whatever you’re baking."
See the wonderful tender crumb in this Buttermilk Butter Crunch cake? Thank you buttermilk!
Is there anything I can substitute for buttermilk in a recipe?
No buttermilk? No problem! There are other ingredients that act similarly to buttermilk. If you have any regular yogurt, Greek yogurt or sour cream, these will all work as substitutes as they all have that acidic property that works to make baked goods moist and tender. You just want to thin them down with a little milk so they're similar to the consistency of buttermilk. And if you don't have any of the above, you're still okay. You can make your own (faux) buttermilk substitute!
How to make buttermilk from milk
It's easy to make your own buttermilk substitute. Simply add 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to a measuring cup. Fill it the rest of the way to one cup mark with whole milk and let it stand for 10 minutes. Voila! You've got a "sour milk" with similar properties. Use it as directed in recipes calling for buttermilk. It will provide the acid for leavening and help with creating a tender crumb. The resulting flavor may have a more subtle tang than buttermilk, but it definitely works!
How good is this Buttermilk Butter Crunch Cake? Well, I considered calling it "I Want to Marry You Cake" as it gets the same incredible rave responses as these cookies. In other words, it's so amazingly delicious. it might just elicit marriage proposals!
Café Tips for making this Easy Buttermilk Butter Crunch Cake
- Because this is a one-bowl, no-mixer recipe, the butter should be VERY soft. Leave it sit at room temperature for several hours or use a microwave at 10% power (for 1 to 4 minutes, depending on the power of your microwave) to soften your butter.
- This Buttermilk Butter Crunch Cake can be made up to 8 hours in advance and stored at room temperature (covered).
- If you’re feeding a crowd, double the recipe and bake the cake in a 9×13-inch pan.
- Have extra buttermilk after making this cake? Try out our Ridiculously Easy Buttermilk Biscuits or these Easy Buttermilk Brioche Buns. You’ll find yourself buying buttermilk on a regular basis!
- You could also use an 8-inch cake pan for this recipe which will result in a little higher cake. I used a 9-inch because I wanted to serve it on my cake stand which is a bit larger.
- Don’t skip lining the pan with parchment if you want to be able to easily remove the cake from the pan. If you want to serve the cake right from the pan, you can just grease the pan and skip the parchment paper. I love these pre-cut parchment paper circles. They're really nice because they have little tabs to use to pull the cake out of the pan. You can also cut your own.
- A nice sturdy whisk is a great tool to have when making cakes. A good whisk is not expensive and will last a long time. I really like the feeling of this whisk and use it all the time.
- No buttermilk? No problem! As stated above in the post, just add one tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to a measuring cup. Fill with milk to measure one cup. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes, then proceed with recipe.
- For those of you living outside of the United States, half and half is an American convenience product used in coffee. It's a mixture of half milk and half cream, hence the name. You could also use whole milk in lieu of half and half with good results.
- ¼ cup butter very soft
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons butter
- 2 teaspoons honey
- ½ cup sweetened coconut
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- ¼ cup butter
- 3-4 tablespoons milk or half and half
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla or vanilla paste
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray a 9" round cake pan with baking spray and line with parchment paper. Set aside. Line a sheet pan with foil and spray it with cooking spray. Set aside.
Combine the soft butter and sugar and stir until all sugar is combined. The mixture will not be smooth and fluffy at this point.
Add the egg and whisk until smooth and fluffy. Stir in the buttermilk and vanilla and almond extracts and whisk until well combined. Sprinkle the flour, baking soda and salt evenly over the top and whisk until the mixture is smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake for 30-35 minutes until light golden brown (a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean and/or the cake will spring back when lightly touched in the center). Do not turn the oven off yet.
Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool for at least 20 minutes before adding the icing.
While the cake is cooling, make the topping and the icing. Combine coconut and almonds on the prepared sheet pan. Combine melted butter and honey in a small bowl. Drizzle over coconut-almond mixture and stir well to coat nuts and coconut. Spread mixture out to a thin layer.
Place pan in the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Stir to redistribute and spread out the mixture to an even layer again. Return to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes. Repeat stirring and redistributing again and bake for 4-5 more minutes until the mixture is golden brown. Set aside to cool.
For the icing, place butter in a microwave-safe bowl and cook in the microwave on high power for 1 minute. If butter is not melted return to microwave for another 15 seconds.
Add 3 tablespoons half and half, vanilla and almond extracts to butter and stir to combine. Add powdered sugar and stir well till smooth and creamy. Add a bit more half and half to thin if needed. Icing should be a very thick, but spreadable consistency.
Spread the buttercream over the top of the cake. Scatter the almond mixture evenly over the top before the icing sets. Enjoy!!
See Café Tips above in post for further directions and detailed tips.
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