Outrageously light and fluffy, this white cake gets its signature softness by using egg whites as opposed to whole eggs. This recipe also features the addition of sour cream and cake & pastry flour for added moisture and tenderness! It's perfect for birthdays, holidays, or any and all celebrations!
I love trying to recreate recipes from my favorite stores and bakeries - so I'm pretty pumped to share this white cake recipe with you all because it tastes EXACTLY like the vanilla birthday cake I used to get when I was younger!
I wanted to keep this recipe on the simpler side of things! Mostly because I think layer cakes are intimidating enough to make because a) the effort and b) .....
This recipe does take a bit of work, but it really is easy to walk through all of the steps and NO funky ingredients required!
White cake ingredients:
• cake & pastry flour: you can use all-purpose flour if that's all you have on hand, but cake and pastry flour will yield an even softer and more tender cake! Here's how to make cake & pastry flour at home using all-purpose flour!
• baking powder + baking soda: whenever I can get away with using both, I will! It makes the cake all the more airy and soft!
• salt: for the cake and buttercream frosting - it helps balance out the sweetness
• butter: again, for the cake and the frosting. It adds amazing flavor and richness to the cake. And you can't have buttercream without.... butter!
• vegetable oil: I like to add both butter and oil to my white cake! While the butter adds flavor, the oil makes the cake more tender and moist, and helps it last longer!
• sugar: granulated sugar for the cake and powdered sugar for the frosting
• egg whites: no yolks here! Leaving out egg yolks not only makes for a "whiter" finish to the cake, but it also keeps the cake lighter and softer. Egg yolks - while amazing for added richness and flavor - weight down cakes
• vanilla extract: for flavor! You can use clear vanilla for a "whiter" finish to the cake, or just plain pure vanilla extract
• sour cream: for flavor, moisture and added rise! No sour cream? Here's how to make a sour cream substitute at home!
• buttermilk: it also helps with rise (thanks to the acidity) and with getting the right consistency to the batter! Regular milk also works fine in a pinch.
• milk / heavy cream: for the buttercream frosting. Heavy cream will yield a slightly richer frosting, but milk is perfectly delicious in its own right!
White cake storage and serving:
Keep your stacked and frosted cake stored in the fridge until ready to serve. To cover the cake, you can use a cake keeper or plastic wrap. If using plastic wrap, chill the cake in the fridge for 30 minutes to let the frosting set, and then cover in plastic wrap. This'll help protect any detailing you added!
The cake will last for up to 7 days in the fridge. I also recommend taking the cake out of the fridge 30 minutes before serving to allow the cake and frosting to soften a bit. They both firm up because of the cold.
You can also make the cake layers and store them (unfrosted). Wrap each layer tightly in a layer of plastic wrap and keep at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the fridge for up to 7. You can also freeze the layers for up to 3 months - wrap tightly in a layer of plastic wrap followed by a layer of aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn.
Check out these other recipes!
White Cake Recipe
For the white cake:
- 3 cups cake & pastry flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- 1 & ¾ cups granulated sugar
- 6 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract * see notes
- 1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
- ⅔ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
For the vanilla buttercream frosting:
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 to 6 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Butter 2 (9 inch) round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper rounds. Set aside.
- Make the white cake: In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine, and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine butter, oil, and sugar. Using an electric mixer fitted with the beater attachment, beat the ingredients together until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has lightened in color and fluffed up (about 2 minutes on medium speed). The mixture will be slightly grainy - that's fine!* You can do this step by hand, but it is a workout!
- Add the egg whites to the butter mixture. Beat until well incorporated (about 1 minute). Add in your sour cream and vanilla, and whisk to combine.
- Add about half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, and stir to combine. Whisk in your buttermilk, followed by the remaining half of the dry ingredients until just combined. Take care not to over mix!
- Divide the cake batter evenly between your 2 prepared cake pans, and smoothen the batter into an even layer. Bake in the center of your preheated 350°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Cool the cakes for about 10 minutes in the pans, and then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely to room temperature. I also like to wrap my cakes and pop them in the freezer for about 1 hour before frosting to make assembly easier!
- Make the buttercream: Add your butter into a large bowl. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until lightened in color and fluffy (about 2 to 3 minutes).* Again, you can do this by hand.... but maybe skip arm day at the gym.
- Add your powdered sugar to the butter and mix on low to incorporate (so you don't get a puff of sugar flying at you). Once you no longer see any dry sugar, cream the butter and sugar together on high speed for another 2 minutes to dissolve the sugar well.
- Add your salt, 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream, and vanilla. Whip the mixture for another 1 to 2 minutes on high speed, or until it's light and fluffy. Take care not to over mix if using heavy cream as it can turn grainy. Mix in more milk/cream as needed to get your desired consistency.
- Assemble your cake & decorate! Now comes the fun part! Place one of your white cakes onto your serving platter. Spread about ⅓ of the frosting over top. Top with the second cake layer, and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake.Serve as is or decorate with some sprinkles and piped detailing!