The Search for a Great White Cake
I finally did it! I made a delicious homemade white cake with buttercream frosting! I’ve found my go-to recipe.
I love cake. I mean LOVE cake. I look forward to birthday cake. I hate to leave a wedding before the cake is served (which almost always happens because wedding receptions are so stupid long these days!). I loveeeee cake.
A few years ago at a church dinner, I tasted a really delicious homemade white cake. I asked around to find out who made the cake and when I found her I gushed about how much I liked the cake. I asked her for the recipe so I could make homemade cake for my daughter’s birthday. She basically said, “no way.” 🙁 Soooo, that was great.
I just wanted to learn to make a white cake like I would normally buy from a bakery or eat at a wedding. Since I knew the bakeries weren’t going to give me their recipe, I would have to figure it out myself. It took two years and many attempts, but I’m finally happy with a recipe. The best part for you is that I DO share recipes!
I decided to frost my cake with a basic buttercream because it tastes so much better to me than sickening sweet traditional white frosting. This buttercream frosting does nicely for a simply frosted cake, but you may want to try a different recipe if you’re using it to really decorate.
I have never in my life decorated a cake. This would have been a great fact for me to consider before I dove head first into baking this cake to photograph and share with you. So, don’t judge… I am very aware that my cake decorating skills need work!
Being the cake decorating novice that I am, I decided to try my hand at the rosette method that I’ve seen in Facebook videos. It’s really not that hard and I think, with enough practice, I could be good at it.
I found this great video about decorating a cake with frosting rosette’s that you may find helpful:
My buttercream frosting is very buttery and delicious. I chose it for the taste, but if you care more about the decorating, go for a more sturdy frosting recipe like this one.
Quick side note: if you’re also interested in an amazing chocolate cake recipe, click this picture:
A simple white cake recipe.
- Prep Time: 20
- Cook Time: 25
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- 1 cup milk, room temperature
- 6 egg whites, room temperature (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups cake flour, sifted
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans (I also recommend adding a circle of parchment paper to the bottom of each pan to further ensure the cake doesn’t stick.)
3. In a medium bowl, stir together the room temperature milk and egg whites along with the vanilla and almond extracts until blended.
4. In a large mixing bowl, combine cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl. Cut the butter into cubes and add it to the bowl then cut in the by hand (a pastry blender works well!) until the butter pieces are the size of small peas.
5. Add the milk mixture and beat on low speed just until combined. Do not over mix.
6. Pour the batter evenly between the two cake pans.
7. Bake at 350 for 23-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cakes.
8. Cool the cakes to room temperature before frosting.
- Serving Size: 16
- Calories: 247
- Sugar: 23
- Sodium: 178
- Fat: 9
- Saturated Fat: 6
- Unsaturated Fat: 3
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 38
- Protein: 4
- Cholesterol: 24
- Cake doesn’t rise – Check your baking powder. If it’s expired or even close to the expiration date it is likely the problem.
- Cake over flows while cooking – Never fill the cake pans above halfway full. If you have extra batter, discard it or try making a mini cake or whatever.
- The almond flavor is too strong – use less. But seriously, just use less! I like the flavor balance between the vanilla and almond in this recipe, but if you don’t, then use less. I am from the northeast-ish midwest-ish area and wedding cakes seem to often have a wonderful touch of almond flavor. LOVE it! But if you don’t then okay. No need to leave a nasty comment, just use less almond extract. 🙂
- Cake sticks to the pan – I’ve had this happen and it’s the worst feeling! Now I’ve begun to cut a circle of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the cake pan. I still grease and flour the whole pan as usual, but then I place the parchment paper in the bottom. This ensures that the cake WILL come out of the pan perfectly.
- Measure your ingredients very carefully. Being off by even a little bit can mess with the cake’s texture.
These are the cake pans I use and recommend for this recipe:
Other Cake Baking Tips
- Do not over mix the batter.
- Use only very fresh ingredients.
- Use an oven thermometer to make sure your temperature is just right.
- Consider the altitude of where you live and adjust baking instructions accordingly.
- Don’t open the oven while the cake is baking.
- Cool the cakes for a few minutes in the pan, then flip them onto plates and cover with plastic wrap to finish cooling. I do this and my cakes are always perfectly moist.
Have a great cake baking tip? Tell us in the comments!
A note about comments
Wow! Thank you everyone for all the comments on this post! It seems this recipe has worked beautifully for many, and not so well for others. It’s okay! No recipe is for everyone. I am working on this recipe to figure out why it comes out dry and dense for some people (my suspicion is over mixing when incorporating the butter and/or when adding the wet ingredients) and will update you all when I can.
I am a busy full-time working mom with a full life and as this is only one of many posts I receive daily feedback on, I just cannot keep up with comments. Hey, I’m only human! 🙂 You should be able to find comments from others in the thread that will answer any questions you have.
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