New Favorite White Layer Cake

Soft, fluffy, and perfect white layer cake made from scratch!! Get the recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Good morning and happy new year, sweet friends.

After what seems like an entire month of sugar, I figure today is the best day to share a giant white cake filled with creamy vanilla frosting and topped with rainbow– but mostly pink– sprinkles. Seriously though. I really want to start 2017 off the best way we know how: with a bakery classic. This is my new favorite white layer cake!

Cheers!

Soft, fluffy, and perfect white layer cake made from scratch!! Get the recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Creating a white cake that incorporates a soft and airy crumb, a sweet but not-at-all-muted flavor, moist but not eggy, tender crumbs that stick to your fork, all completely from scratch that is also EASY and approachable is a tall order. In fact, I didn’t even know if all of that together was even possible in a home kitchen. I was given some hope when I bit into my first simply perfect vanilla cupcake back in August, but work was cut out turning those cupcakes into a larger cake. It’s not as simple as doubling all the ingredients. No, a fluffy white cake takes a little more TLC.

Here is what I learned:

  1. To get a good rise, you need to properly cream the butter and sugar together. Of course we’ll have a crutch of baking powder and soda, but the recipe begins with that very first and imperative step: beating the butter and sugar together until creamy.
  2. After that, you’ll need 5 egg whites. This is sort of a pain with all those leftover egg yolks, but the most guaranteed way to achieve a fluffy and soft white cake is by leaving out the yolks. Not only will using only egg whites give us a pristine white cake, it will ensure that the crumb is not weighed down by the fat in egg yolks. Think about it: lighter confections such as marshmallows and angel food cakes only require egg whites.
  3. Sour cream is the cake’s security blanket; it keeps everything moist and tender.
  4. Cake flour is almost 30x finer than all-purpose flour. This means a light cake. Using it is a surefire way to achieve a delicate and delicious texture. It’s certainly not as common as all-purpose flour but it’s sold right next to it in the baking aisle.
  5. All room temperature! When ingredients are all the same temperature, they bind together more readily than if you had some cold + some warmer ingredients. Colder ingredients (especially egg whites) will produce a thicker batter and, since it’s cold, will take longer to bake. This changes everything.

To summarize, make sure you’re creaming the butter and sugar together properly, all your ingredients are the same temperature and you use egg whites, sour cream, and cake flour. Power ingredients!

white-layer-cake-5

white-layer-cake-7

The result is a fabulously ultra-light cake with buttery vanilla flavor, just like the kind you find at a bakery or from a box mix. And all made from scratch in your very own kitchen. Now THAT’S the way to start a new year!

While the ingredients in the cake batter don’t leave any room for substitutions, we can have some fun with a variety of frostings and cake pans. I went with a vanilla frosting, which I’ll include in the recipe below. But I also encourage you to play around with milk chocolate frosting or even a cream cheese frosting. Both remarkable on this beauty. Or rainbow chip frosting! 🙂

The vanilla frosting makes a lot, so expect a thick layer between the cakes. Alternatively, you can bake the cake in a 9×13 pan. This single layer size is much easier for not only preparing and frosting, but for serving as well.

Just as tasty right here. ↓ ↓

Soft, fluffy, and perfect white layer cake made from scratch!! Get the recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Check out that cake crumb! Snowy white, soft, sweet, with an airy crumb. ♥

Simple, yet glamorous. Happy happy baking.

Soft, fluffy, and perfect white layer cake made from scratch!! Get the recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

More favorites:

Favorite White Layer Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 and 1/2 cups (250g) cake flour1 (measured correctly)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks; 170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 and 3/4 cups (350g) granulated sugar
  • 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120g) sour cream, at room temperature2
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract (yes, Tbsp!)
  • 1 cup (240ml) whole milk, at room temperature2

Vanilla Frosting

  • 1 and 1/4 cups (2.5 sticks; 287g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 5 cups (580g) sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (or use clear imitation vanilla extract for stark white frosting)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • sprinkles for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease and lightly flour two 9-inch cake pans.
  2. Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
  3. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy - about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on high speed for 2 minutes until creamed together. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the egg whites. Beat on high speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Then beat in the sour cream and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until just incorporated. With the mixer still running on low, slowly pour in the milk until combined. Do not overmix. You may need to whisk it all by hand to make sure there are no lumps at the bottom of the bowl. The batter will be slightly thick.
  4. Pour batter evenly into cake pans. Bake for around 24-25 minutes or until the cakes are baked through. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it is done. Allow cakes to cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack. The cakes must be completely cool before frosting and assembling.
  5. Make the frosting: In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy - about 2 minutes. Add confectioners' sugar, cream, vanilla extract, and salt with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 full minutes. Add more confectioners' sugar if frosting is too thin, more cream if frosting is too thick, or a pinch more of salt if frosting is way too sweet.
  6. Assemble and frost: First, using a large serrated knife, slice a thin layer off the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface. Discard (or crumble over ice cream!). Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Evenly cover the top with frosting. Top with 2nd layer and spread the remaining frosting all over the top and sides. Decorate top of cake with sprinkles, if desired.
  7. Slice, serve, enjoy!

Make ahead tip: The cake layers can be baked, cooled, and covered tightly at room temperature overnight. Likewise, the frosting can be prepared then covered and refrigerated overnight. Assemble and frost the cake the next day when you are ready to serve. Frosted cake can be frozen up to 2 months if you have room in the freezer. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving.

Recipe Notes:

  1. If you cannot get your hands on cake flour, you can make a DIY version from all-purpose flour and cornstarch. Measure 1 cup of all-purpose flour. Remove 2 Tablespoons. Mix in 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch. This equals 1 cup of cake flour. I suggest doing this 3x, mixing it all up in 1 bowl then removing 1/2 cup since you need 2 and 1/2 cups in this recipe.
  2. Whole milk and sour cream are strongly recommended for the best taste and texture. A full fat plain yogurt would work instead, though the cake may not be as light. Same goes with a lower fat milk.

To bake in a 9x13 pan: Simply pour the batter into a greased and lightly floured 9x13 pan and bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Did you make a recipe?

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

SHOP THE RECIPE


Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.

Kitchenaid Stand Mixer | Kitchenaid Hand Mixer | 5-qt Tilt Head Glass Measuring Bowl | Rainbow WhisksCake Pan | Icing Spatula

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pays me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Soft, fluffy, and perfect white layer cake made from scratch!! Get the recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com
Soft, fluffy, and perfect white layer cake made from scratch!! Get the recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

125 comments

  1. If I bake this in a 9×13 pan, do I halve the frosting recipe?

  2. I’m always more fascinated with your baking equipment then your actual baked goods but that cake looks soooooo good 🙂

  3. Looks great Sally and I love the frosting to cake ratio 🙂 

  4. Can I make this with a 6″ cake pan?  I’m really liking the smaller but larger than a cupcake. 

  5. Hi Sally! I’m 18 and I love your blog and all your recipes. You have inspired me so much, for my birthday I actually received your cookbook and so much baking equipment! This cake looks so good and I can’t wait to try it out! 

  6. Hello, Sally! Thank you for your amazing blog; I love just about every recipe of yours that I try.
    Is there a way to make the cake whiter than it appears in your pictures (as in a true white cake)? I’m planning on baking cookies and cream-esque cupcakes.

  7. Whenever I bake with cake flour, I find it doesn’t have enough substance for me (too airy or something).  How would it be to mix half AP with the cake flour?

  8. Hi! I randomly have a lot of egg whites (made a lot of creme brûlée recently!) and I don’t remember how many eggs were used.  Any guess as to the weight of 5 egg whites if I weighed them out instead?  No worries if not — macarons will be my next adventure

  9. Hi Sally! I want to make this cake for my sis in law’s sprinkle tomorrow, but I forgot to pick up cake flour and apparently am all out of corn starch.

  10. I had to check back in. I made the cake today and it was AMAZING!! I’ve never made such a tender homemade cake. I didn’t use evaporated milk as I asked earlier, but I used a mix of heavy cream and 1%. My husband is on an extremely low sodium diet so I use a no sodium baking powder and don’t add salt. I don’t know what it’s “supposed” to taste like but it was great. Thank you!

  11. This looks scrumptious! Happy New Year too and what a great start! Hehe! <3

    Jadirah Sarmad at Jasmine Catches Butterflies ʚϊɞ

  12. I made your chocolate cake yesterday which I found at the end of the white cake. It came out great, everybody loved it. I was trying to find it now and I can’t .when I put in “chocolate cake”into the search   box I didn’t get it.what am I doing wrong?

  13. Yes, it is and it is amazing. It will be my new “go to chocolate cake.but how can I find it without your help?

  14. Made this cake today and it came out beautiful! My husband and I enjoyed a slice after dinner. Easy and so good!

  15. Where do you get your beautiful sprinkles?

  16. This looks incredible! Pinning for future reference 😛

  17. I always check your site first when looking for a new cake recipe as they always come out great!!  I love your lemon blueberry one and have had great results with the funfetti, strawberry and coconut cake recipes in the past.  This year my son has requested a cookies and cream cake for his birthday. He wants a vanilla cake base so your Oreo cake (that I’m dying to try!) won’t work. Would you suggest using this white cake recipe and adding crushed Oreos to the batter?  Or would you recommend adding whole oreos to the cake pan (like the Oreo cake recipe)?  I’m planning on making a white chocolate cream cheese frosting and adding more crushed Oreos between the layers.  Thanks for your advice!

    • Hi Jenn! I recommend adding crushed Oreos to this cake batter. Should be SO good!!! You’re giving me some recipe inspiration 🙂

      • I added crushed Oreos to the batter and it came out really great!!  I also ended up using the frosting from the recipe above and added crushed Oreos between the cake layers. This cake got rave reviews from everyone!!  Thanks for always making me look like a pro baker!!

  18. This cake is absolutely wonderful! It is very easy to see why it is your new favorite 🙂 I made it on Monday (with chocolate buttercream frosting) and my family of 5 devoured it within 24 hours! I now have 2 go-to recipes for any occasion: your sheet cake recipe and this one. Thank you for the recipe!

  19. I love cakes and have been baking for a while now. Just curious if I can omit the sour cream though, or any substitutes? Great recipe. Thanks!

  20. I am going to try making this cake today. I am wondering about the frosting recipe that you included here. I usually don’t like a frosting with butter (prefer shortening) but want to try one with the heavy cream. Do you think I could sub half butter and half shortening for the frosting? Or do you have an entirely different recipe for frosting that you would recommend instead? Thank you! Love your site by the way. I have made several of your recipes already.

    • Hi Christine! Thanks for the comment. I don’t typically make frosting with shortening– just not my preference. So I don’t have a recipe for you to try out. But I’m sure half butter half shortening would work here.

  21. This was my first time to bake a cake that didn’t come out of a box, so I cut the recipe in half as a test run. My intent was to make it a coconut cake so I used coconut milk instead of whole milk and I omitted the vanilla. The half recipe made 12 cupcakes. The most noticeable taste at the first bite: the eggs. The coconut milk wasn’t noticeable, so I’ll just have to rely on the icing and coconut flakes for that. The cupcakes were moist and light but I think I’ll stick to the recipe next time. I think the vanilla would’ve covered the egg-y taste. Thanks for sharing the information on your website!

  22. what kind of salt do you use? table salt, diamond crystal kosher salt….? Thanks!

  23. Hi Sally! I’m going to be using a Mickey Mouse cake pan for my son’s birthday and using this recipe. With the remaining batter I was thinking of just doing cupcakes. Would this batter be ok for cupcakes? Just watching them a little closer since they will bake faster possibly. 

  24. This looks like a perfect white cake! I can’t wait to try it out! One question, would this cake hold up well if I bake it over the weekend and freeze it for a few days? I really only have weekends to bake and I was hoping to thaw it and put it together before next Friday.

  25. Hi Sally!

    Can I double and cook in a half sheet pan?  I need a half sheet cake for my daughter’s birthday.

    Just made this in a 9×13 pan and it looks great.  Waiting for it to cool before I frost and devour it. =)

  26. Are you sure it’s supposed to be a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of salt?
    I feel as though it should be reversed and was wondering if it was a typo.
    I tried it out as you wrote it this Friday and it came out great. But I feel as though 1/2 a teaspoon of baking soda is too little and that next time I make it I should increase it to 1 teaspoon to get the cake to rise a little more.

  27. Hi Sally. I want to make my mom a pineapple cake for her birthday. If I replace the 1 cup whole milk with pineapple juice in this recipe, would that do the trick? Any thoughts? Thank you!! 

    -Darlene

  28. hi Sally, thank you very much for sharing your marvellous treats with us. Other than buttercream, is there any frosting i can use? It’s for a birthday.

    thanks

  29. I don’t usually post my comments but I had to let you know that your site has been my go-to location for recipes. They always turn out great and my husband loves them. Thank you 🙂 !!

  30. I’ve made your simply perfect vanilla cupcakes and I have never really been a vanilla fan as they always seemed so boring compared to chocolate. But those converted me. They were AMAZING! And everyone at the baby shower LOVED them.
    I’m making this cake for someone’s birthday and there is going to be 30 people. Just wondering if I should double the batch and make it 4 layers (as that would seem the simplest way to go about it) or do you think doubling the batch and baking in 2 11inch tins would work out okay?  I’m never good at sizing recipes up. I always mix in seperate batches as I know the levenning agents need to be adjusted and it can mess up mixing times to fully incorporate everything. Not a confident enough baker, or rich enough to waste that much cake mix of it doesn’t work. 
    Though I suppose there is always cake pops but if hate to have to start over again.
    PS I am so jealous of the sprinkles you guys have over there. Here in Australia they are only made by max two companies and the pretty ones that are shipped in from overseas are SUPER expensive. But sometimes do worth it!

    • Hi Amanda! Must it be a layer cake? Because the easiest way to feed that many people for dessert is to make 2 9×13 inch cakes. So simple that way! See the recipe notes for bake time!

      • Thanks for getting back to me, sorry I forgot to reply. I ended up needing triple the recipe just to make sure there was enough to feed the 30-40 now going, but I can confirm that the cake stacks well, I just made sure the buttercream had a bit less cream to make sure it held up the cake. It was a tall cake my friend was after for the drama of it. 
        10 inches tall, 6 layers of cake and 6 layers of buttercream and everyone loved it!

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