This White Cake recipe is soft and velvety with perfect vanilla flavor.
Have you ever taken a bite of a beautiful white cake only to be disappointed by it’s rubbery texture and bland taste? With the proper ingredients and mixing technique you can make the best White Cake at home, from scratch.
If you’re into baking science and want to learn how I developed and tested this recipe you can visit this post where I explain in detail how I created the best White Cake recipe.
Ingredients for this White Cake Recipe
- Cake Flour – I prefer bleached cake flour because it is slightly acidic and whiter in color.
- Baking powder, baking soda, salt – for leavening and flavor
- Granulated sugar – Sugar flavors and tenderizes the cake and keeps the cake moist.
- Sour cream – Sour cream enriches and tenderizes the cake.
- Unsalted butter – Butter has a rich full flavor that enhances the cake.
- Vanilla extract – Use real vanilla extract for the best flavor. (Alternately, you can use almond extract)
- Egg whites – The main difference between a White Cake and a regular vanilla cake is the absence of yolks in the batter.
- Cream of tartar – Stabilizes the whipped whites.
How to make White Cake
- Sift the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Add half the sour cream and combine. Then add the softened butter.
- Mix until the butter is completely incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the remaining sour cream and vanilla and mix on high speed 2-3 minutes to aerate.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with the cream of tarter.
- Add the sugar and whisk to full peak.
- Fold the egg whites into the batter in three batches.
- Fold just until there are no streaks of egg white.
- Divide the batter between two cake pans. Do not butter the sides of the pan or use a non-stick pan.
- Bake until the center of the cake springs back when pressed. Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting.
White Cake Recipe Tips
- Use Room temperature ingredients for the lightest batter. Room temperature butter is between 65°F and 70°F. It should be slightly pliable but not soft and melting.
- Using the “reverse creaming” method to mix the batter makes a soft and fluffy cake. Whipping the whites in the cake also makes the cake soft and fluffy.
- Do not use pasteurized egg whites as they may not whip up properly.
- Do not butter the sides of the cake pan or use a non-stick pan. The cake will rise higher as it clings to the sides of the cake pan. Butter and flour the bottom of the pan or use a round of parchment paper.
- The cake will often “settle” as it comes out of the oven because of the whipped whites in the cake. The soft texture of the cake is well worth the slight shrinking.
- Do not overbake the cake. Remove it from the oven as soon as the cake springs back when the center is pressed.
- The cake can be kept at room temperature for several days (unless it has a perishable filling).
- If the cake has a perishable filling store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Leftover slices of cake can be individually wrapped and frozen for up to 3 months.
- Un-iced, the cake can be wrapped in two layers of plastic wrap and frozen for up to 3 months.
What Frosting Should I Use for My White Cake?
I love to fill and ice Velvety Soft White Cake with snow-white Ermine Frosting. I also recommend Italian Meringue Buttercream, Swiss Meringue Buttercream, Seven Minute Frosting or American Buttercream frosting for this cake.
What the difference between white cake and vanilla cake?
Most of the yellow color in a vanilla cake comes from the egg yolks. White cake is made with only egg whites and no yolks.
What kind of extract should I use for my White Cake?
I recommend a good natural vanilla extract for the best flavor. “Clear” vanilla extract is not actually made with vanilla beans and I saw no discernable difference in the color of the cake using natural vanilla.
Another option would be to use real Almond Extract for an almond flavored cake.
Now that you’ve made this recipe what should you do with the extra yolks? Check out this collection of recipes that use extra yolks for some great ideas.
If you love this recipe as much as I do, please consider leaving a 5-star review.
White Cake Recipe
- 9 ounces cake flour (2 cups, preferably bleached)
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 12 ounces granulated sugar ( 1 ½ cups, divided)
- 8 ounces sour cream (1 cup, room temperature, divided)
- 8 ounces unsalted butter (room temperature (see note))
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 6 large egg whites (room temperature (see note))
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Line two 8"x3" cake pans (don't use non-stick pans) with a circle of parchment paper or butter and flour the bottom of pans only. Do not butter and flour the sides of the pan.
- In a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt with 1 cup of the granulated sugar. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds to distribute the leavening. With the mixer on low speed, add half the sour cream and toss in the butter a tablespoon at a time.9 ounces cake flour, ¾ teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ¾ teaspoon salt, 12 ounces granulated sugar, 8 ounces sour cream, 8 ounces unsalted butter
- Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. With the mixer running on low speed, add the remaining sour cream and vanilla.1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Increase the speed to medium and beat about 2-3 minutes until the batter lightens in texture and becomes aerated. If your using a hand mixer this may take an extra minute or two. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure there are no pockets of unmixed batter.
- In another bowl, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar on medium high until they form soft peaks. Turn the mixer to medium low and slowly add the other ½ cup sugar. Turn the mixer to medium-high and whip the whites to full peak.6 large egg whites, ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- Fold the whites into the base in 3 parts, folding just until there are no streaks of egg white. Divide the batter evenly between the 2 pans and spread to level.
- Bake 25-30 minutes until the center of the cake springs back when lightly pressed or a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Cool at least 20 minutes in the pan and then turn out onto a cooling rack. **The cake will "settle" a bit as it cools. That's fine.**
- Trim the brown edges off the cake, split each cake into two layers. Fill and ice with your favorite frosting.
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