This homemade white cake recipe has a delicate crumb, a perfect level of sweetness, and a subtle vanilla flavor. You can frost it using your favorite white frosting or with one of my suggested recipes! I personally love this white cake with cream cheese frosting or Italian meringue buttercream. If you’re used to boxed cake mixes, you should really try preparing white cake from scratch. You’ll be amazed at how wonderful it tastes and how quickly it comes together!
After many tests, I have finally perfected my white cake recipe! My yellow cake recipe is the most popular on the blog, so this has been a high priority for ages. It’s perfect for holiday parties, birthdays, or any special occasion where cake should be front and center.
What’s the Difference Between White and Yellow Cake?
Yellow cake and white cake are almost identical with one main exception: the eggs! Yellow cake gets its color and slightly more custardy flavor from egg yolks, whereas white cakes use only the egg whites. Also, while this isn’t always the case, white cake is typically prepared with cake flour, whereas yellow cakes mainly use all-purpose flour.
Homemade White Cake Ingredients
For this easy white cake recipe, you’ll need:
- Cake flour
- Baking powder
- Kosher salt
- Egg whites
- Vanilla extract
- Unsalted butter
- White granulated sugar
Read more: This white cake recipe calls for half-and-half. What is half-and-half, and how do you make it if you already have cream and milk in the fridge? Read my tutorial on how to make half-and-half so you can save time and money!
How to Make White Cake From Scratch
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and kosher salt. In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites until frothy (you’ll need to whisk quite vigorously). Add the vanilla and half-and-half to the egg whites and whisk to combine.
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until the mixture is lighter in color and fluffy in texture. Add the wet and dry ingredients to the butter mixture in batches, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
Divide the white cake batter evenly between two 9-inch round cake pans (I’ve given instructions on how to prep the cake pans in the recipe card below). Bake the homemade white cake until the edges begin turning golden brown. Wait until the cakes are completely cool before frosting.
How to Store Cake
How long does cake stay fresh? Not long in my house! Joking aside, this simple white cake will keep at room temperature, covered, for 4-5 days if left unfrosted (or if you use my Italian meringue buttercream). After that, it can be stored in the refrigerator for an additional 5 days, though it will start drying out.
How to Freeze Cake
When you’re ready to enjoy the frozen white cake, set it on the counter, wrapped, and let it come to room temperature.
Tips for the Best White Cake
The key to perfect homemade cake is patience and attention to detail. I’m recommending some of my favorite kitchen tools below. None of them are essential, but I find that they make cake baking such a breeze.
I highly recommend using a kitchen scale so you can make sure your ingredients are accurately measured. My post How to Measure Flour demonstrates why the scale can make such a big difference. If you don’t have a scale, this article also explains how to accurately measure using cups.
If you don’t already have some in your pantry, you can make cake flour using all-purpose flour and cornstarch!
This cake uses 9-inch round cake pans. Keep in mind that if you try to use a different pan, you’ll likely have to adjust the bake time and possibly the ingredient quantities. Epicurious has written a thorough article on how to do cake pan substitutions. I haven’t tested this cake with any other sizes, so my best suggestion is to use this article if you want to experiment with a different pan.
I like using parchment rounds in the bottom of the pan for easy removal. A spritz of baking spray or a dab of butter helps keep them in place. Don’t grease the sides of the pan or your cake will detach from the sides, creating an angled shape instead of a flat one. If that happens, don’t worry! You can cover it with frosting.
Try to get an even amount of batter in each pan, either using a scale, or you can just eye it out, which I usually do. You want to level off the tops to avoid a lopsided rise. I love using an offset spatula for this, as well as for frosting the cake itself. If the cake rises unevenly, use a bread knife to gently even out the top.
Read more: If you’d like to know more about my cake equipment recommendations, as well as general tips and tricks, check out my blog post: How to Make a Perfect Layer Cake.
More Homemade Cake Recipes:
If you like this classic white cake recipe, you may also enjoy my classic yellow cake, chocolate espresso layer cake, rum cake, chocolate peanut butter cake, pineapple cake, and strawberry cake with strawberry buttercream. For even more easy recipes, check out my entire cakes and cupcakes archive.
- 15 ounces cake flour (3 cups using Scoop & Sweep Method)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 large egg whites
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons half-and-half (or 50% heavy cream + 50% whole milk)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (or seeds from 1 vanilla bean)
- 7 1/2 ounces unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
- 1 pound granulated sugar (2 1/4 cups)
- Place an oven rack on the center shelf and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Barely grease the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans and top with parchment rounds (do not grease the sides of the pan). If you have a sheet pan large enough to fit both cake pans, set them on it to simplify transferring the pans in and out of the oven.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, and kosher salt. In a separate large bowl, vigorously whisk together the egg whites until frothy, around 15-20 seconds. Whisk in the half-and-half and vanilla extract until evenly combined.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on low speed for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture has lightened in color and fluffed up a bit. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- With the mixer on low speed, swiftly alternate between adding the dry and wet ingredients over 60 seconds, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, all the way to the bottom to catch any hidden dry patches, then turn the speed up to medium for 20-30 seconds to aerate the batter slightly.
- Divide the batter equally between the two pans and level the tops out as much as possible (I like using a small offset spatula to do this). Bake for 35 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown, the tops are still slightly pale but firm, and a toothpick comes out clean from the center.
- Cool completely, then run an offset spatula or small knife around the edge of the cake to detach any areas that may have stuck. Place a large cutting board or cardboard round covered with parchment (my preference) over the cake pan and gently flip to dislodge the cake. Frost using one of the suggested frostings below (or with your favorite recipe).
Please read my full post for additional recipe notes, tips, and serving suggestions!
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