This white cake has a delicate crumb, perfect sweetness, and a subtle vanilla flavor. Make a cake from scratch easily with my recipe and tips. You’ll love the results!
You can frost the cake using your favorite white frosting or with one of my suggested recipes below.
I personally love the cake with cream cheese frosting or Italian meringue buttercream.
If you typically use boxed cake mixes, you should really try preparing one from scratch. You’ll be amazed at how wonderful it tastes and how quickly it comes together!
After many tests, I have finally perfected a homemade 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, this recipe calls for cake flour, whereas yellow cakes mainly use all-purpose flour.
White Cake Ingredients
For this recipe, you’ll need:
- Cake flour – If you don’t already have some in your pantry, you can make cake flour using all-purpose flour and cornstarch!
- Baking powder – Keep in mind that some brands of baking powder have aluminum in them, which can cause an aftertaste. For the best flavor, use aluminum-free brands.
- Kosher salt – This is not the same as table salt, which has iodine in it. Kosher salt or sea salt have larger flakes and are purer than table salt.
- Egg whites – It’s important to completely separate the yolks from the whites. Otherwise, the egg whites won’t whip up properly.
- Half-and-half – If you don’t have any half and half on hand, you can use equal parts heavy cream and whole milk. See my note below.
- Vanilla extract
- Unsalted butter – If all you have is salted butter, use it, but omit the salt from this recipe
- 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!
Homemade White Cake Recipe
- 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 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 until the edges begin turning golden brown.
- Cool the cakes completely in their pans before removing them to add frosting.
How to Store Cake
How long does cake stay fresh? Not long in my house! Joking aside, this 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.
If you use a frosting with cream-based products, like my cream cheese frosting or sour cream chocolate frosting, you’ll want to store the cake in the refrigerator.
How to Freeze Cake
This cake can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and frozen, unfrosted, for up to 3 months. I recommend using parchment and cardboard rounds to keep the cake secured in the freezer.
When you’re ready to enjoy the 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.
- Kitchen scale – 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.
- Cake pans – 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 recipe with any other sizes, so my best suggestion is to use this article if you want to experiment with a different pan.
- Parchment paper – 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.
OTHER HOMEMADE CAKE RECIPES
If you want to make other simple cakes from scratch, be sure to try my recipes for classic yellow cake and chocolate espresso layer cake.
After making those recipes, you’ll be ready to try different flavors. Some of the most popular cake recipes I have are for rum cake and chocolate peanut butter cake . They’re perfect for any occasion!
Fun flavors to make in the summer are 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).
- Beginner: Cream Cheese Frosting (double the recipe)
- Advanced: Vanilla Meringue Buttercream (decrease sugar to 1 cup)
Please read my full post for additional recipe notes, tips, and serving suggestions!
For immediate help troubleshooting a recipe, please email me using the form on my contact page. I’ll try to respond to urgent questions as quickly as possible! For all general questions, please leave a comment here :)
Absolutely gorgeous! The cake flour makes such a difference in texture here!
Perfect white cake recipe! So versatile and delicious!
Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes says
I never really knew the different between white and yellow cake! Love this recipe!
Aysegul Sanford says
This is such a delicious cake recipe that everyone should have in their recipe library. Your instructions were so easy to follow and so SO helpful. Thanks so much for sharing such a great recipe.
This is a favorite for so many special occasions!
Toni Dash says
My family really enjoyed this cake! Really amazing!
White cake couldn’t be any more perfect- I love this recipe!
Stephanie Manley says
I loved how tender the cake was. I have always been a little intimidated by cakes from scratch.
Could you possibly explain why you cool the cakes in their pans? Many recipes suggest that you leave the cakes in the pans for the first 10 or 15 minutes before removing them from the pan and then cooling them on a cooling rack. I believe this is to prevent the cakes from cooking further so I am just wondering why you allow them to cool in their pans? Thank you. :-)
Jennifer Farley says
It really depends on the cake and how stable it is while warm. This one is pretty delicate until it cools down, so there’s more of a risk of it breaking while transferring it out of the pan. Pound cakes and bundt cakes are usually very sturdy. Butter cakes tend to be more tender. But it always depends on the recipe.
Thanks so much for your reply! I’ve been baking cakes as part of a fundraiser and am discovering there is so much that I still need to learn. I am going to make your white cake so I will let you know how it goes. :-) Thanks so much!
Uuuh…the mouse don’t work in the page. I must use the keyboard to scroll. No displacement bar and the wheel don’t work.
Debbie McMahan says
Great cake recipe for a wedding!
We loved this. I used it for a strawberry shortcake. Very moist.
Thanks so much for the recipe! I’ve grown tired of boxed mixes and cannot wait to make this homemade white cake recipe for our next celebration!