Cakes/ Classic Desserts/ Dessert/ Layer Cakes

White Cake

July 20, 2018

This is the ultimate white cake recipe. Tender, light, moist, and fluffy cake layers frosted with the creamiest vanilla frosting. After you try this, you won’t need any other recipe. It’s perfect as a birthday cake, wedding cake, or for any celebration.

White Cake

A few years ago I was at a beautiful wedding in San Francisco where I had the most delicious vanilla cake ever. I was so obsessed with it and couldn’t wait to try it back at home. I tested (and tasted) many recipes to try and recreate it, but as a true perfectionist, I wasn’t impressed with any of them. I was an amateur baker back then, so I gave up the idea quickly. But recently I gave it another try, now that I actually know what I’m doing. I spent the last few weeks trying all kinds of homemade vanilla and white cake recipes until my heart was set on one. This is the white cake I’ve been dreaming of.

White Cake Frosting

This is my very best recipe for white cake

It’s a strong statement but it’s true! It’s ultra moist with a fluffy texture that almost melts in your mouth, and the delicate buttery, vanilla flavor is heavenly.

Use high quality vanilla extract

It makes all the difference. I’ve tested it with imitation vanilla extract, pure vanilla extract, and high quality vanilla extract, which is also pure vanilla extract that tastes superb (but it’s quite expensive). The high quality one wins big time, but since I know not all of you have it, just use any pure vanilla extract for the best flavor. I know that for some, the imitation vanilla extract is the flavor that brings childhood memories, so it’s a matter of personal taste. I prefer pure vanilla flavor.

White Cake


I use egg whites for this recipe. If you want a recipe that uses whole eggs, I’ll be working on that real soon. For a white cake, egg whites are used instead of whole eggs because the egg yolks give the cake a yellowish color. You can use the egg yolks to make creme brulee or Boston cream pie.

How to bake even, flat cakes?

I’ve finally got myself a few cake strips, and it works like a charm. My cakes turned out even, flat and white on the edges. The strips are affordable, don’t take much space in the kitchen, and if you like making layer cakes then it’s a must. The strips are easy to use. Soak them in water, then squeeze out the water, and place them around the cake pans. They’re adjustable for different pan sizes.


I use my vanilla buttercream frosting because that’s a classic combination, but if you prefer cream cheese frosting, use it instead. You can experiment with different fillings and frosting. You can use lemon curd or jam as the filling.

White Cake

More Classic Layer Cakes:

4.95 from 18 votes
White Cake
White Cake Recipe
Prep Time: 35 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 5 mins
YIELD: 12 servings

I highly recommend sticking to the recipe. Using butter and sour cream is what makes this recipe so good. It's best if all the ingredients (eggs, milk, sour cream) are at room temperature, but make sure to separate the eggs while they are still cold because it's easier. If you don't have a stand mixer, use a hand mixer. I recommend lining the bottom of the cake pan with parchment paper to ensure that the cakes come out of the pan in one piece. I cut parchment paper rounds the size of the pan.

  • 2 and 1/4 cups (315g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) sour cream
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) whole milk
  • 1 cup (2 sticks/225 g) unsalted butter , softened to room temperature
  • 1 and 3/4 cups (350g) granulated sugar
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Vanilla Frosting
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (340 g/3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 6 cups (700 g) powdered sugar, sifted, plus more as needed
  • 5 tablespoons (75 ml) heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Butter two 9-inch cake pans (8-inch would work too) that are at least 2-inch high, and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another medium bowl combine sour cream and milk. Set bowls aside.

  3. In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add egg whites and vanilla extract and beat until combined. With the mixer on low speed, add half of the flour mixture and beat until combined. Add milk mixture and beat until combined. Add the other half of the flour mixture and beat just until combined. Do not over mix – the less you mix, the lighter the cake will be.

  4. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool for 15 minutes, then gently remove from pan and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack.

  5. Frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and salt on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase speed to high and beat for 2 minutes. Beat in more powdered sugar if frosting is too thin.

  6. Assembly: If the cakes rose too much, cut their rounded top with a knife to make them flat. Set one cake layer on a plate or cake stand. Evenly spread a thick layer of the frosting over the cake to the edge. Top with the second cake layer. Spread frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Cake should be kept in the fridge, but bring it to room temperature before serving.

Recipe Notes

Frosting can be made 3 days ahead of time and kept in the fridge, covered. Cakes (unfrosted) can be made a day ahead and kept in the fridge, covered. The next day, bring frosting to room temperature and frost the cake. Frosted cake can be kept tightly covered in the fridge for 3-4 days. Leftovers can be kept in the freezer for up to 2 months and thawed overnight in the fridge.


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  • Reply
    July 20, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    What is “high quality” vanilla? As opposed to the pure vanilla extract, that is.

    • Reply
      July 20, 2018 at 4:13 pm

      Hi Ari, both are pure vanilla extracts, but the higher the quality, the better the flavor, and every brand tastes different. I added links to both of my favorite products, one that is quite expensive, and another that is more budget friendly.

  • Reply
    July 20, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    Hi ! Can i use oil instead of butter?

    • Reply
      July 23, 2018 at 8:10 am

      Oil will change the entire texture and flavor of the cake, so it’s not possible to use it.

  • Reply
    July 23, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    Hi Shiran!

    Is it possible to fold in Oreo crumbs and make it a cookies and Creme cake? Thank you!

    • Reply
      July 24, 2018 at 4:15 am

      Hi Jasmine, yes, you can fold in 1 cup or more chopped Oreos or Oreo crumbs, and you can add some to the frosting as well.

  • Reply
    July 27, 2018 at 7:26 am

    Hi Shiran

    What’s the substitution for heavy cream?


    • Reply
      July 30, 2018 at 9:41 am

      It depends on the recipe, but for the frosting recipe you can leave it out or use a bit of whole milk instead.

  • Reply
    July 28, 2018 at 9:24 pm

    Thanks for the recipe! I found the cake to be very light, airy, and buttery. It was delicious. But! — you just knew it was coming –I found the frosting to be very sweet. The consistency was perfect for spreading but I wound up using only five cups of the powdered sugar due to my tasting it along the way and finding it sweet. I think I’ll try it again with the cream cheese frosting. But overall, it’s a perfect cake. I used strawberry jam for the filling and it all came about deliciously I’m adding this one to my list of cakes to bake for occasions.

  • Reply
    August 2, 2018 at 10:42 pm

    Hey Shiran!

    Sour cream isn’t easily available in my country. Is there a substitute?

    • Reply
      August 7, 2018 at 7:37 am

      Hey, here’s a good guide. I usually use greek yogurt, yogurt, or buttermilk. I haven’t tested them in this recipe so I can’t say which one is the best substitute.

  • Reply
    August 25, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    Can you use Cake flour instead of all purpose?

    • Reply
      August 26, 2018 at 12:41 pm

      Yes, you can use 315 grams of cake flour instead.

      • Reply
        Megan Platt
        November 6, 2018 at 10:14 am

        315 grams is 2 1/2 cups but the recipe says to use 2 1/4 c of flour. Which is correct? Is there an actual conversion to use cake flour? Thanks!

        • Reply
          November 10, 2018 at 5:32 am

          There are different ways to measure flour. I use the one that uses more flour (1 cup = 140 grams) to make sure you don’t end up with too much flour, and also because that’s how I see many bakers measure it when they don’t use kitchen weight (without them knowing about the different methods). You can read about the 2 methods here.

  • Reply
    August 30, 2018 at 6:11 am

    can you use microwave convection

    • Reply
      September 1, 2018 at 12:16 pm

      I have no experience baking with microwave convection, sorry!

  • Reply
    Monique Herbst
    September 18, 2018 at 2:40 pm

    Loved the consistency of this cake, but may try it with less butter next time. It seemed to almost caramelize and be over buttery, but still delicious! My question though is the color. I don’t know if you’re photos are just in natural lighting and edited or if my coloring is just WAY off!! It definitely came out a yellow color…any thoughts on this? I followed the recipe exactly so I’m not sure where it came off, but would love your insight!

    • Reply
      September 24, 2018 at 8:51 am

      The color might be slightly different due to editing, but my cake was more white than yellow in color. If your butter is very yellow, that may cause that. I used white butter.

  • Reply
    October 28, 2018 at 6:20 pm

    Wow! Best white cake ever. I followed the recipe exactly, sifting, and room temp, etc. I used a bit less sugar but that was only difference. I used my own frosting recipe because it uses only a 1/2 cup sugar. All I can say is that I have been trying white cake recipes for 30+ years, but I don’t have to try any other recipe now – this recipe is IT! Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful expertise and recipe!

    • Reply
      October 31, 2018 at 6:23 am

      I’m so glad, Hilary! Thank you so much!

  • Reply
    Anny Wedding
    November 3, 2018 at 6:47 am

    Just made this recipe recipe tonight and already going to bake another batch again! Thank you so much!

  • Reply
    November 30, 2018 at 6:50 pm

    Hi Shiran,
    I wish to use this recipe to make a rainbow cake with natural water based coloring. In order to keep the liquids balanced (the natural colors r very dilute), I thought to replace the milk with the colored water. What might happen if I make this replacement?

    • Reply
      December 2, 2018 at 5:58 am

      Hi Sivan, you can replace some of the milk with it, but not too much. I don’t recommend replacing all of the milk, because this will affect the cake’s texture and flavor.

  • Reply
    December 1, 2018 at 10:34 pm

    This is hands down the best recipe iv come across! Love it and the buttercream icing!
    I put white food dye in too help with the icing colour but the cakes came out relatively white, and tasted amazing, everyone loved it!

  • Reply
    Linda Harris
    December 23, 2018 at 10:11 pm

    Can you use the whole egg

  • Reply
    December 27, 2018 at 8:43 am

    oh my gosh, this was THE best cake EVER!! I made this for our Christmas gathering and everyone raved about it! I only made 1/2 recipe and baked it up in a true 8×8 pan, then slathered on some cream cheese frosting. Thank you so much for this recipe, definitely a winner!

  • Reply
    Kim Redbird
    January 1, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    I made this cake yesterday for a New Year’s Eve party. It was the best white cake I have ever made. I folded in 1/2 cup coconut to the cake before baking. The secret is like you said: do not over mix in the final mixing of dry ingredients. I used a homemade 7 minute frosting. It was delicious. Absolutely the best. FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS!

  • Reply
    Sarah Nemisz
    January 8, 2019 at 10:15 pm

    Can I use cream instead of whole milk??

  • Reply
    January 12, 2019 at 8:17 pm

    I’m needing to make a half sheet cake (2 actually, since it will be a 2-layer cake) and the customer wants white cake. Do you recommend doubling this recipe for each layer or would one batch of the recipe work per half sheet cake? Thanks in advance!

  • Reply
    January 13, 2019 at 11:05 pm

    This cake is so delicious! The best one I’ve come across so far! Thank you for the recipe! I baked it twice -one with the amount of sugar shown then I tried baking it again with only 1-1/4 cup of sugar and I prefer the one with less sugar but both equally delicious depending on your sweet tooth!

    Question…I like my cakes with slightly taller layers so do you think it’s ok to make more batter by adding half of each ingredient? Also the batter was super super thick..should it be more smooth and on the liquidy side?

  • Reply
    Beverly J Tuft
    January 18, 2019 at 3:12 pm

    For years I have wanted a dense white cake, tired sooo many, but they were always “light and airy”……not what I wanted. I wanted a denser , moist cake—and this is it!! Thank you so much for this recipe, it is perfect.

  • Reply
    January 18, 2019 at 8:12 pm

    Can I use a 9 x 13 pan to bake this cake?

  • Reply
    January 24, 2019 at 2:52 am

    This is one of the best recipes I have used for a basic white or yellow cake. It is so moist yet very light and fluffy. I substituted full fat greek yogurt for sour cream as I ran out of it and it was delicious!

  • Reply
    February 8, 2019 at 10:31 am

    I was wondering if you have a video on this cake? I also have a question, other recipes have you whip the egg whites first, did you find that an unnecessary step to make it fluffy? This is my first attempt for a white cake. Thank you.

  • Reply
    February 14, 2019 at 12:15 pm

    Can this recipe be used in (3 )6″ pans?

    • Reply
      February 21, 2019 at 6:25 am

      Hi Susannah, you can use this guide.

  • Reply
    February 26, 2019 at 5:44 pm

    This cake is excellent. Moist and flavourful. Love it.

  • Reply
    February 28, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Can I substitute with unsweetened applesauce? And if yes, how much to use? I am on a strict diet, so no butter, milk or sour cream for me.

  • Reply
    March 6, 2019 at 10:12 am

    Is there no need to beat the egg whites before folding in.

  • Reply
    April 2, 2019 at 9:18 am

    Hello Shiran.
    Can we use one pan because I have heart shaped one and don’t have another or I put in other Pan and at end just cut the heart shape?

    Thank you!

    • Reply
      April 11, 2019 at 4:31 am

      Hi Laura. It really depends of the size of the pan, so I can’t say for sure. You can use different pans as long as you don’t overfill them with batter. The baking time will also change.

  • Reply
    Adrienne Schusterman
    April 5, 2019 at 1:52 pm

    Wonderful cake. If people want to substitute different ingredients they should not make this cake. It’s so perfect. Just the way it is. I tell my children if you want to start substituting and changing measurements on my recipes, pick another recipe. It’s 5 stars for a reason. Your recipe is getting added to my collection of yummy cakes. 2 sticks of butter and all!!!!

  • Reply
    April 6, 2019 at 8:37 am

    Hi Shiran,
    I found your recipe via Instagram, made it tonight and with some reduced sugar amount, it was what I wanted – light, airy and moist (and yellow coz my butter was yellow), but quite buttery! I was wondering if I reduced the butter amount, would it affect the cupcake?

    • Reply
      April 11, 2019 at 4:26 am

      You can try to slightly reduce the amount of butter if you like, but I always suggest to stick to the recipe for the best result.

  • Reply
    April 6, 2019 at 8:52 am

    I probably should’ve added that I made these as cupcakes, not round cake.

  • Reply
    Morgan Millican
    April 23, 2019 at 9:57 am

    I love this recipe! I made this cake this past weekend for Easter and my family loved it!

    Would this recipe do well with cupcakes? My nieces birthday is coming up and my sister was asking for this cake in cupcake form😊

  • Reply
    Chris Root
    May 9, 2019 at 11:20 am

    Hi Shiran,
    Once made should it be kept in the fridge with the cream cheese in it?
    If so does the cake go dense or is it still the same?

  • Reply
    May 16, 2019 at 5:17 pm

    Do the pans have to be 2″ thick?

  • Reply
    Anna Anderson
    May 20, 2019 at 1:31 pm

    Will this recipe fit a 9×13 pan?

  • Reply
    May 26, 2019 at 7:09 am

    I found the cake was still yellow after baking and it separated from the edges so it formed a crack all around tehbcake. Do you have any suggestions with regards to this ?

  • Reply
    Sharon Doell
    July 8, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    Are each of the layers 2 inches tall? Or are we using the 2 inch tall pan for extra room on top?

  • Reply
    July 23, 2019 at 2:49 am

    I love this cake, everyone who’s has it also loves it! It’s so dense but light and so moist. It could pass as a mud cake (whiteout the mud lol).

  • Reply
    August 19, 2019 at 1:16 pm

    Hi Shiran
    I’m planning to bake this cake for my daughter’s birthday. Can I use this recipe of vanilla frosting if I want to cover my cake with fondant?

  • Reply
    September 12, 2019 at 2:56 am

    How many cupcakes does this receipe make?

  • Reply
    October 13, 2019 at 7:33 pm

    Superb! I used this recipe for my daughter’s birthday cake. To save time, I made it two weeks ahead and froze each layer wrapped separately. I also only used 1 1/4 cups sugar. Got lots of compliments. Any chance you’ve got a chocolate version of this recipe? I’d like to use it again, but thought it might be nice to change it up.

  • Reply
    January 31, 2020 at 1:33 pm

    How many cupcakes can you make in a batch?

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