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Homemade White Cake

This White Cake with Buttercream Frosting is not only moist but light and tender. This is one "made from scratch" cake that must be added to your recipe collection!

The best white cake with buttercream frosting on a serving stand

The Best White Cake Recipe

Baking a white cake that's full of moisture and has a soft and tender crumb isn't all that difficult. It's really not much different than making my basic vanilla cake, which I must say, is my most popular recipe.

It's tried and true! Just take a look at all the photos from everyone who's tried it on Pinterest.

I took all the concepts I learned through making the perfect vanilla cake and used them to create the Best White Cake Recipe. I know so many of you hate the word moist, but how else am I supposed to describe a cake that is so far from dry, it sticks to your fork.

There is no other way!

Whipping egg whites to soft peaks and folding them into the batter is what gives the cake its phenomenal texture. The batter is then flavored with hints of almond and vanilla extracts. Vanilla buttercream with the addition of almond extract is the perfect way to frost the cake.

I hate to brag but, I must say, this truly is the best white cake recipe you'll ever try! (And trust me, I've tried many!)

A slice of moist white cake with buttercream frosting on a plate, with a fork cutting off a bite

What You'll Need

Both the moist white cake and buttercream frosting are made with simple pantry staples!

  • Egg - Only egg whites are used in this recipe. Yolks will weigh down the cake and give it a yellow color.
  • Granulated sugar - Sugar should be divided.
  • Butter - Unsalted butter is best.
  • Extracts - Both vanilla and almond extract give a light flavor to this white cake.
  • Cake flour - I do not recommend substituting any other type of flour!
  • Baking powder - Helps create the light, fluffy texture.
  • Salt
  • Buttermilk - Buttermilk also helps create a soft cake crumb.
  • Confectioners' sugar - Sift first, to prevent any clumps.
  • Heavy cream - Use just enough to create the perfect frosting consistency.
Frosted white cake, half cut into slices

How to Make White Cake with Buttercream Frosting

This decadent cake is simple to make! Just be sure to fully complete each step and not skimp on the time needed to whip or cream ingredients!

  1. Whip the egg whites into soft peaks. Beat egg whites until foamy, then add in ½ cup sugar while the mixer is running. Turn the mixer to high until the egg whites are whipped into soft peaks.
  1. Combine other ingredients. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add in the vanilla and almond extracts. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the butter mixture. Whisk in ½ of the egg whites, then gently fold the rest in with a spatula.
  1. Bake. Divide the batter into two greased and lightly floured pans. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
  2. Cool. Cool for 10 minutes in the pans then transfer to a wire rack.  

Important Note: Because this recipe uses whipped egg whites, the baked cake will deflate slightly once removed from the oven. This is normal! You will have 2 layers that are about 1.5 inches tall.

White vanilla buttercream frosting
  1. Make the buttercream frosting. Beat the butter until pale and creamy. Add half of the confectioner's sugar at a time, beating on low until moistened then increasing the speed. Add the extracts and salt. Slowly add 3 tablespoons of the heavy cream, beating 3-5 minutes until well-incorporated. Add cream ½ tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
Two round moist white cakes with buttercream frosting in the center
  1. Assemble the cake. Place one cake on a serving platter and spread ½ cup frosting on top. Add the second cake and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides.

How to Keep Homemade White Cake Moist

Don't overbake the cake! Leaving the cake in the oven any longer than needed will dry it out.

Use a toothpick or wooden skewer to test the doneness of the cake. If the toothpick comes out with wet batter on it, it needs more baking time.

If the toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs on it, it's perfectly baked and needs to be removed from the oven.

Unfortunately, if the toothpick comes out completely clean, I'm sorry to say, you've overbaked the cake and it will be dry.

It's always best to start checking the cake 5-7 minutes sooner than the bake time listed in the recipe.

Side view of a frosted moist white cake

Tips for Success

Though this white cake recipe is simple, you do want to take your time and not rush the process or skimp on ingredients. Here are a few things to keep in mind while making this moist cake!

  • When mixing the ingredients together, don't over mix. Mix just until the ingredients are incorporated. Any longer than that and you'll start the process of gluten development which will yield a denser, tougher cake texture.
  • Cake flour is necessary for this recipe. Do not use anything other than that! The low protein content in cake flour means less gluten development which is only going to enhance the soft texture of the cake. Cake flour can be found in the baking aisle with all the other flours. If for some reason you can't find it, here's how to make homemade cake flour.
  • Use room temperature ingredients. Set the eggs, butter, and buttermilk out on the counter for at least an hour before you begin to make the cake.
  • Switch up the almond extract. There are no substitutions with the base of this white cake recipe. However, you can omit the almond extract or replace it with any other flavor extract or essence.
  • Use clear vanilla extract. Make sure to use clear vanilla extract if you want the cake to be as white as possible. You can find it at your grocery store in the baking/spice aisle.
  • Make sure to whip the egg whites to soft peaks. When you turn the beaters over, the tip of the egg whites will curl over a bit. Under whipping will prevent the cake layers from rising to their full potential. Over whipping will compromise the cake's final texture.
A slice of moist white cake with buttercream frosting

Serving Suggestions

Topped with that decadent buttercream frosting, this homemade white cake is completely dreamy on its own! For an extra special touch, add some sprinkles to the edge. Enjoy at room temperature for a dessert you won't forget anytime soon.


How to Store

If you want to bake the cake in advance, you can store cooled cake layers in the fridge for up to 2 days. Just wrap tightly in plastic wrap and assemble within 2 days.

Otherwise, leftovers of the fully assembled cake can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days. Just be sure to keep it covered to avoid the cake or frosting drying it. Bring to room temperature before serving.


Can I Freeze This?

Yes, you can store the completely frosted cake for up to 2 months! Just thaw overnight in the fridge and bring to room temperature before serving. This is a great cake to have on hand for last-minute desserts, when you want something nice and a little fancy but have no time!

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A slice of moist white cake with buttercream frosting on a plate, with a fork cutting off a bite

Homemade White Cake

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

This White Cake with Buttercream Frosting is not only moist but light and tender. This is one "made from scratch" cake that must be added to your recipe collection!

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 6 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 ½ cups (300 g) cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk, room temperature

For the Frosting

  • 1 ½ cup (340 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 5 ½ cups (660 g) confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 3-6 tablespoons heavy cream, room temperature

Instructions

Make the cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and lightly flour 2 9-inch round cake pans; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add ½ cup of the sugar while the mixer is running. Turn the mixer up to high-speed and whip the egg whites to soft peaks. Set aside.
  3. In a separate large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts.
  4. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir with a whisk and add it to the butter mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beating well after each addition. Gently whisk ⅓ of the egg whites into the batter. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the remaining egg whites until well combined.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Take care to not over-bake. Check the cake at 15 minutes to see how it is doing and judge the timing from there. 
  6. Cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack. 

Make the frosting

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl with a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed until creamy and pale in color, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add half the confectioners' sugar and beat on low speed just until the sugar has fully moistened, then turn the speed up to medium-high and beat until well incorporated, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add the remaining confectioners' sugar and beat on low speed just until the sugar has fully moistened, then turn the speed up to medium-high and beat until well incorporated, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add the vanilla extract, almond extract, and salt. Turn the mixer on low speed and slowly add 3 tablespoons of the heavy cream. Turn the mixer up to medium-high and beat until the cream is well incorporated, about 3-5 minutes. (After 2 minutes stop and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl then continue mixing.)
  5. Check the consistency of the frosting and add more cream, ½ tablespoon at a time, if needed. The frosting should be soft and spreadable but not so loose that it doesn't hold its shape.

Assemble the cake

  1. Place one layer on a serving platter. Spread about ⅓ of the frosting over the top.
  2. Gently place the second layer on top of the frosting. Spread remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake.

Notes

Baking Variations:

  • Bake the cake in 3 8-inch round pans for 15-25 minutes, 24 muffin cups for 15-18 minutes, or a 9x13-inch pan for 30-35 minutes. If you wish to make changes other than these, please consult this guide for how to convert pan sizes.
  • You can omit the almond extract or replace it with any other flavor extract or essence.

Room temperature ingredients: Make sure to use room temperature ingredients. Cold eggs will be difficult to whip up to soft peaks.

Properly measure ingredients: Measure the flour by lightly spooning it into the measuring cup then level the cup with the back of a knife. Or use the weight measurement listed.

Cake flour: I don't recommend substituting the cake flour. Using any other flour will compromise the cake's texture.

Clear vanilla: Make sure to use clear vanilla extract if you want the cake to be as white as possible. You can find it at your grocery store in the baking/spice aisle.

Egg whites: Make sure to whip to soft peaks. When you turn the beaters over, the tip of the egg whites will curl over a bit. Under whipping will prevent the cake layers from rising to their full potential. Over whipping will compromise the cake's final texture.

Don't overbake! Start checking the cake 5-7 minutes sooner than the bake time listed. If the toothpick comes out with wet batter on it, it needs more baking time. If the toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs on it, it’s perfectly baked and needs to be removed from the oven. If the toothpick comes out completely clean, I’m sorry to say, you’ve overbaked the cake and it will be dry.

Make ahead tip

  1. Wrap baked and cooled cake layers tightly in plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator. Assemble and frost the cake within 2 days.
  2. Once the cake has been assembled, cover it and keep it stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. Bring it to room temperature just before serving.
  3. The frosted cake can be frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature just before serving.

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 783Total Fat: 42gSaturated Fat: 26gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 111mgSodium: 307mgCarbohydrates: 99gFiber: 0gSugar: 76gProtein: 5g

The nutrition information provided is for convenience and as a courtesy only. It is not guaranteed to be accurate because nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator and input the exact ingredients you used in the recipe.

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Janie

Monday 6th of September 2021

Hi! I tried using cake flour but the cake due to high altitude. I have read that all-purpose flour is better for baking in high altitudes. Any other suggestions?

Jen Sobjack

Tuesday 7th of September 2021

Unfortunately, I don't have experience with high-altitude baking and can't offer any advice.

Kimberly

Friday 22nd of May 2020

Wow!!!! I finally made this cake for the first time and it turned out perfect!!!! I’m an American living in France and missed the classic vanilla cake. Thank you so much! 🙏🙏🙌🙌

Sue Dawn Wilson

Saturday 15th of February 2020

Yep I was under baking it!

Nounou

Thursday 21st of November 2019

Hello!

Can I add any chocolate to it? Or cocoa powder?

Thanks!

Jen Sobjack

Thursday 21st of November 2019

I don't recommend adding chocolate to this recipe. Instead, make my chocolate cake. It's delightful.

Pauline

Thursday 16th of May 2019

I want to make this cake with whole eggs. Will it turn out okay? Also, if using whole eggs should I cut down on the number of eggs?

Jen Sobjack

Thursday 16th of May 2019

Unfortunately, this recipe is designed to use just the egg whites. They are whipped to stiff peaks then folded into the cake batter. You can't do that with whole eggs. If you want to use whole eggs, I suggest trying my basic vanilla cake.

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