This is a white cake recipe, from scratch, with NO shortening, and REAL vanilla. This is that perfect white wedding cake recipe for the bride who doesn’t like artificial ingredients, the white cake for your picky four year old who doesn’t like yellow this week but wants vanilla cake at their birthday party, the white cake recipe you use to build a perfect ombre layer cake, the white cake you use as a base for the perfect funfetti cake I’m posting on Friday, the white cake that makes beautiful white cupcakes for decorating. This is that white cake recipe.
White cake is different from classic yellow/vanilla cake in that it’s lighter both in texture and color. It’s a classic at weddings, often flavored with almond extract, and frequently requested by those who don’t like dense cakes at parties or celebrations. It’s really delicious, but also often reliant on artificial ingredients or shortening to maintain its white color. Because the cake has no butter or egg yolks, it’s also easy to dry out, and no one likes dry cake! I’ve experimented with recipes for years, but it wasn’t until I decided to just wing it and modify one of my tried and true vanilla cake recipes that I found a consistently perfect, beautifully textured product I was happy with. I love this cake recipe!
By using oil to replace some of the egg in the cake batter, we help retain the moisture so your cake stays delicious, and prevent it from drying quickly during baking. We have to remove the egg yolks to ensure a white color, but doing so removes fat, which we need to get that really nice layer cake crumb, and adding the oil is a great way to compensate. It also helps to keep things light versus using something like shortening. Shortening isn’t something I like to use, so I always look for alternatives. I also find that the cakes made with shortening turn out a little too dense, and if I’m using this recipe for cupcakes, I want it to be fluffy! So I like that my white cake recipe works equally well for cake or cupcakes.
I used my homemade vanilla extract to flavor my cake, and as you can see, it still turned out a lovely shade of white despite the colored extract. You may use any extract you’d like, and of course it’s a great flavor to pair with just about any filling and frosting you can think of. Today I filled and frosted the cake with a lemon Swiss meringue butter cream and topped it with some rainbow sprinkles!
File it away the next time you need a white cake, which will be Friday… I’m sharing an awesome variation and easy decorating technique videos in my next post. Enjoy darlings!
Notes and updates 5/7/16: First of all, thank you so SO much for making this one of my top pinned recipes. I am thrilled to see how many of you enjoy my white cake! That being said, I recently had someone reach out to me to share their experience with the cake – she had results I hadn’t seen before – and I decided to test out a few modifications I’d been thinking about to improve the recipe. These recipes are very dear to my heart and I want to be sure you can enjoy them as much as I do!
I have included updated measurements in the recipe box. I know some of you really loved the original though, so those measurements are included in the “Notes” section of the recipe. Personally, I think the new measurements provide a slightly better structure to the cake, which should make it even more suitable for layering. The new measurements are also easier to scale up for the small bakery owners who have reached out inquiring about this.
With love and pixie dust – Mary <3
- 2 cups granulated sugar (14 oz, 396 g)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (12 oz, 360 g)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ¾ c neutral-flavored oil (avocado oil or canola oil are what I usually use)
- 3 large egg whites (105 g)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract or other extract of your choice
- 1½ cups whole milk (366 g)
- Preheat your oven to 350 F, butter 2 8" round cake pans and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
- Whisk together the wet ingredients in a smaller mixing bowl.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
- Divide batter evenly between your cake pans and bake for 35-40 minutes (8" pan), 45-50 minutes (6" pan), 20 minutes for cupcakes until the center of the cake springs back when touched.
- Allow cakes to set for 5-10 minutes in the pan before inverting onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Frost and decorate as desired
2 cups granulated sugar
2½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
3/4 c avocado or other neutral-flavored oil
1 large egg white
2 tsp vanilla extract or other extract of your choice
2 cups whole milk