White Buttermilk Citrus Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This cake has all the elements of a delicious dessert, a vanilla buttermilk cake filled with fresh orange curd, and finished with swiss meringue buttercream. I love this cake in the winter when oranges are in season and most flavorful.

I chose a simple decorating technique for the buttercream, I think it creates a rustic elegance for any occasion.

Make ahead Tips: The Orange Curd can be made the day before and refrigerated so the curd will be chilled and thick to make it easier to spread between cake layers. I also like to make the cake layers the day before, wrap in foil or plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. The layers are easier to work with and slice when they’re chilled and it definitely helps with time management.
Recipe type: Dessert | Butter Layer Cake | White Cake | Orange Curd
Serves: 10 to 12 servings
Small amount of vegetable shortening and flour for preparing pans
Cake Batter:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups buttermilk, preferably whole buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
Orange Curd:
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated orange zest (zest from 1 large orange)
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice (about 1 large orange)
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 or 2 lemons)
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 6 large egg yolks
Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 1/16 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Candy Rounds Decorations:
  • ¼ to ½ cup (2 to 4 ounces) vanilla candy melts. Tip: I used Merckens Coating Wafers. You could also use almond bark.
  • Sprinkles Tip: I used a combination of white, silver, and gold sprinkles for this cake.
  • Round cookie cutters Tip: I used 3 different sized, 1 inch, 1½ inch, and 2¼ inch.
  • White Buttermilk Citrus Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare three 8-inch round layer cake pans; lightly grease the pans with shortening and dust with flour. Tip: to make baked cake easier to remove from pan, lightly grease the pan, line with parchment paper, and then lightly grease the top of the parchment paper and dust with flour. Tip: Use cake strips around the pans to help ensure the cake rises evenly. Make a cake strip with a length of aluminum foil long enough to encircle the pan with a little overlap. Fold the strip lengthwise until it is 2 to 3 inches wide. Wrap the strip around the outside of the pan and secure it with a metal paper clip or tape.
Cake Batter:
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; sift or whisk together to mix. Set aside.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, stir the buttermilk and vanilla together. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Tip: To cream, start by placing the butter in the bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed begin by beating the butter about 1 minute until it is smooth and light in color. With the mixer still on medium speed, slowly add the sugar to the butter, either one tablespoon at a time, or in a very slow steady stream, taking from 4 to 8 minutes to add all of the sugar, and beating until the butter and sugar are fully incorporated and the mixture is a light, or pale-yellow color, with a fluffy texture. While adding the sugar, stop the mixer occasionally to scrape the mixture off the paddle and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beating until thoroughly mixed.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, add about one third of the flour mixture, mix just until the flour is almost completely blended. Scrape the bowl down, and add about one half of the buttermilk mixture, blending just until mixed. Scrape the bowl down again and continue alternating with the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture, ending with the last portion of the flour, and stirring just until blended.
  6. Bake: Spoon the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the surface with a small offset spatula or the back of a large spoon. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a long toothpick, wooden skewer, or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and place pans on a wire cooling rack to cool for 10 to 15 minutes then remove cake from the pans and place the cake on the wire cooling rack to finish cooling. Tip: 33 minutes was the perfect bake time for my oven.
Orange Curd:
  1. In a medium-sized heavy saucepan over low to medium-low heat, combine butter, sugar, orange zest, orange juice, lemon juice, salt, and egg yolks. Cook and stir with a rubber spatula in a figure eights pattern around the edge of the pan and into the center, making sure to scrape the rubber spatula across the bottom of the pan. Cook until butter is melted and mixture is thickened, about 7 to 10 minutes, or registers from 170 degrees up to 180 degrees, (just below simmer,) using a candy or instant read thermometer to gauge the temperature. Important: Do not allow mixture to boil or the egg yolks will curdle. Tip: the orange curd will start to thicken at about 170 degrees and is fully thickened at about 180 degrees. Tip: A heat-resistant rubber spatula is best for stirring because it can scrape the entire bottom of the pot to help prevent the egg from clumping together and curdling.
  2. Immediately pour the hot mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl to strain out the orange zest pieces and any bits of egg that may have curdled. Let cool, stirring occasionally as it cools, then pour the curd into an airtight container and refrigerate. The curd will continue to thicken as it cools.
  3. White Buttermilk Citrus Cake
Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
  1. In a large bowl of an electric stand mixer combine egg whites, sugar, and salt; place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Using a wire whisk, whisk constantly by hand until the mixture is hot, about 3 to 5 minutes. Tip: the mixture should reach about 130 degrees using a candy or instant read thermometer to gauge the temperature, or feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingertips. Remove from heat.
  2. Attach the bowl to the electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium high speed for 5 to 7 minutes or until the mixture forms a thick fluffy meringue and is cool. Tip: Touch the meringue and make sure it has cooled to room temperature. Also, the outside of the bowl should feel cool to the touch.
  3. Stop the mixer, remove the whisk and attach the paddle. With the mixer on medium to medium-high speed add the butter, about 2 tablespoons at a time and mixing 20 to 30 seconds after each addition. While adding the butter, stop the mixer occasionally to scrape the mixture off the paddle and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly. Add the vanilla and continue beating until the Buttercream is thick and smooth and fluffy, about another 2 to 3 minutes. Tip: after adding the butter the mixture may appear to be curdled. But don’t worry this will be fixed by beating the buttercream until it becomes fluffy.
  4. White Buttermilk Citrus Cake
Candy Rounds Decorations:
  1. Place the vanilla wafers in the top of a double boiler over hot water. Melt, stirring gently with a rubber spatula. Tip: Create a double boiler by filling a saucepan with 2 inches of water and bringing it to a simmer. Turn the heat off and place a stainless steel, ceramic, or glass bowl on top of the simmering water, the upper pan should not touch the water.
  2. Pour the melted wafers out onto a large sheet of parchment paper, and use an offset spatula to spread it into a thin layer about ⅛ inch to ¼ inch thick. Sprinkle some pretty sprinkles on top of the wet vanilla wafers. It’s a good idea to press larger sprinkles down into the melted wafers so they will be firmly adhered.
  3. Let the melted wafers set 2 to 3 minutes until it is beginning to set but still soft. Press the cookie cutters into the almost set wafers to mark the circles, then as the wafers continue to set press the cutters into the original marks the rotate the cutters to cut through all the way through. You may need to repeat with each circle until the wafers are completely set and the circles have been completely cut through.
  4. White Buttermilk Citrus Cake
  1. Using a long-serrated kitchen knife, split each cake into 2 horizontal layers.
  2. Place about 1 cup of buttercream into a pastry bag fitted with a coupler. Tip: you won’t need a decorating tip. If using disposable pastry bag you could also just cut a small tip off the end instead of using a coupler.
  3. Place one of the bottom halves of the cake layers on a cake plate. Using an offset spatula spread a very thin layer of buttercream over the layer. Tip: Make a very thin layer, like a thin crumb coat. This will prevent the orange curd from soaking into the cake.
  4. Using the buttercream in the pastry bag pipe a small border around the outside top edge of the layer to hold the orange curd in. Then spread a scant ⅓ cup of orange curd inside the buttercream border.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with the next four layers.
  6. Place the last cake layer on top, upside down so the flat bottom of the cake is facing up to make a nice flat top.
  7. Crumb coat the cake by covering the sides with a thin layer of buttercream; smooth with an offset spatula, removing excess buttercream.
  8. Refrigerate the cake until the crumb coat is firm, about 30 minutes.
  9. To create the rustic look, spread a thick layer of buttercream, about ¼ inch thick, over the top of the cake and let it overhang over the sides. Then use an offset spatula to add buttercream on the sides, smoothing as much as you want, and pushing the top edge up but letting the top edge be as uneven and rustic as you want.
  10. Place the candy round decorations randomly into the top and sides of the cake.
Recipe Notes
Pan: Three 8" Round Layers Pan Prep: Greased and Floured Oven Temp: 350° Storage: Cover and Refrigerate

Help: Cake Hints and Tips

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Recipe by at https://thebakingpan.com/recipes/cakes/white-buttermilk-citrus-cake/