Simple Christmas Cake is a white velvet buttermilk cake, topped with a delightful cream cheese frosting then garnished with fresh rosemary and cranberries. Perfect for your holiday dessert table!
The holidays can be a stressful time but I've decided to try and have a simple Christmas this year. I'm going to try my best not to get stressed because after all, Christmas is the time of year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus. And that's what I want to focus on. The opposite of stressed is desserts (actually stressed spelled backwards) and y'all know I love to bake. I wanted to create a no-fuss kind of cake for the holidays and this Simple Christmas Cake is just that.
In the spirit of keeping it simple, I sort of threw this together with the ingredients I had on hand. I wanted to make my grandmother's favorite 1-2-3-4 cake but didn't have the milk which is needed for her recipe. I'd recently made a red velvet cake, so buttermilk was the only thing I had in the fridge. I also substituted all-purpose flour instead of cake flour. The result, perfection!
It's a "Simple" Christmas Cake because there's no fancy decorating needed. I simply frosted the cake in a rustic fashion with a luscious cream cheese frosting (in other words, just slathered it on in sort of a messy way), then added some fresh rosemary and cranberries as a festive garnish.
What is a white velvet buttermilk cake?
White velvet buttermilk cake is basically red velvet without the red. It’s a buttermilk cake base that results in a moist cake, similar to pound cake in texture. If you leave out all the color and the cocoa powder you have yourself a nice white velvet cake. The buttermilk gives this southern inspired cake it’s rich and velvety crumb.
A traditional red velvet cake is made with a little bit of cocoa powder. Some people say that red velvet is actually chocolate cake while others say that it’s just white cake with red food coloring added. Both are wrong. The cocoa powder does add flavor to the cake but not enough to call it chocolate so when you leave it out, it doesn’t affect the flavor that much. (Scroll to the bottom of this post for the full recipe.)
Good to the last bite! The cake itself is dense yet has a velvety texture. The buttermilk and vanilla go well together for a satisfying flavor that pairs perfectly with the cream cheese buttercream frosting.
Shop the NEW Simply Christmas Line
Speaking of a simple holiday season, I discovered a beautiful Christmas line from DaySpring gifts called Simply Christmas - a Mary & Martha Collection by Candace Cameron Bure of the popular tv show Full House. In 2017, DaySpring launched Candace Cameron Bure's lifestyle brand designed to cheer you on in authentic living and Biblical truth through the positive message of her products. Candace's very first Christmas line, Simply Christmas is a collection of 25+ beautiful products with a simple design centered around the meaningful message–Be Still & Know.
All of the serving pieces you see in the following photos, as well as my apron, oven mitt and many more festive items for your home are part of Candace Cameron Bure's Simply Christmas line. Scroll down to see and you'll find a link underneath each photo if you would like to shop for these items. Please note, that I've included affiliate links in this post.
I served the cake on these snowflake themed Dessert Plates.
I'm in love with this super cute Comfort + Joy Christmas apron.
Feeling cozy with Simply Christmas Be Still Mugs - Set of 2.
Doing my best Candace pose with the Comfort + Joy Oven Mitt + Cookie Cutters + Recipe Cards.
More of my favorites... Simply Christmas Be Still Hand Knit Throw, Comfort pillow, Joy Pillow, Peace on Earth Wreath.
A beautiful centerpiece for your Christmas dessert table, the Comfort + Joy Dessert Pedestal and Peace Dessert Server. (The dessert server actually has the word PEACE stamped on it which is so clever, it's a peace of cake. Ha!)
Wishing you all a simple and peaceful Christmas this holiday season!
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
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Simple Christmas Cake
For the cake
- 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the frosting
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened 4 ounces
- 16 ounces powdered sugar about 4 cups
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Fresh cranberries and fresh rosemary, for garnish
For the cake
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with non-stick cooking spray and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, measure out flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk together. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream butter with and electric mixer until smooth. Add sugar and mix. Add eggs and mix until combined. Add half of the flour mixture and half of the buttermilk, plus the vanilla. Mix on medium low until combined. Repeat with remaining flour and buttermilk. Mix until combined, then continue mixing on medium low for 30 seconds. Divide batter between the three prepared pans. Bake on the middle rack of your oven for 22-27 minutes. At 22 minutes, test one of the cakes by inserting a toothpick. If it comes out clean, they are done. If not, continue to bake for 5 more minutes. Let cool completely.
For the frosting
- In a large bowl, cream butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar with the mixer on low. Once it's added, turn mixer up to medium high and beat until smooth. Add flavoring and mix.
Frosting the cake
- Remove cakes from pans. Place one layer on cake plate. Add frosting. Add another layer. Frost. Add top layer. Frost top and sides of cake. Add a crown of rosemary on top and cranberries in the middle. Stor cake, covered, at room temperature for one day and in the refrigerator for up to a week.
A "behind the scenes" photo and a shout out to my friend and talented photographer, Jennifer Scott, who took most of the photos for this post.
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Tastes ok but very dense cake. I was disappointed.
This recipe is one of the easiest I've found. really I love these festive recipes and definitely will try to bake asap!!! 🙂 Thanks for sharing a delightful recipe.
Is this cake firm enough for carving/torting and then moving without it falling apart?
Lise Ode says
I don't think so. This recipe works best as a simple 3-layer cake.