I Am Baker

The Perfect White Cake

I have been searching for this cake for about two years now.  In my experience, making white cake at home is just never as good as the bakery. (Sorry!  I know some of you just cringed reading that.)

The Perfect White Cake

Until now.

I am not kidding when I tell you that this recipe is it.  The flavor is fantastic and the texture is truly perfection.  Even the-pickiest-dessert-eater-ever, aka my hubby, loved it.

And I know you will too.  As I noted in the recipe I found this cake on epicurious who got it from Cooks Illustrated.  I have never been led astray with either of those sources so I am confident you will find the same success I did!

One major adaptation I did was using 8-in cake pans.  The original recipe calls for 9-in and about 5 minutes less cooking time.  If you plan on using 9-in plans please do consult the original recipe.  The first time I made it I used 8-in cake pans with no time adaptation and was not as successful.

The Perfect Homemade White Cake



The Perfect White Cake


  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 cup milk at room temperature
  • 6 large egg whites at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened but still cool


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 8-inch cake pans.
  2. Make sure milk and eggs are room temperature.
  3. Pour milk (I used skim) , egg whites, and extracts into medium bowl and mix with fork until blended.
  4. Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of electric mixer at slow speed. Add butter, cut into cubes and continue beating on low for about 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture to flour mixture and beat at medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat for about 1 minute.
  6. Pour batter evenly between two prepared cake pans.
  7. Bake until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 27 to 30 minutes.
  8. Allow cake to cool to room temperature.
  9. Frost cakes with favorite frosting.
  10. Just barely adapted from epicurious, taken from Cooks Illustrated.
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The Best Homemade White Cake

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(Just don’t read this post if you are opposed to drama. People are very specific in what they believe a buttercream is!)
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  1. Cindy says

    Do you use all the milk mixture or just one cup? I made it and I have a lot more than 1 cup and and recipe says to add 1/2 cup than the other 1/2 cup????

  2. Christine says

    “The perfect white cake”? Close enough. I have been searching for the perfect cake recipe for some time now; however have only faced disappointments. This cake turned out lovely, in terms of texture -perfectly cooked. (Although I must say that the cooking time, for me, took much longer than the instructions suggest). The only two things that I didn’t enjoy; were 1) the almond extract and 2) the crazy amount of sugar! I am remaking this cake today, without the almond extract and with less sugar. I am sure it will then be perfect! – And side note, the author should have included a recipe for frosting or icing or whatever, instead of us having to Google one.

  3. Cristina says

    I made this cake yesterday and while it was delicious, it did not meet my expectations. It turned out to be dense and heavy while I expected it to be lighter. Each cake was only about 1.5 inches thick. I live above 5,000 ft and I looked for a modification for high altitude but couldn’t find one here or on the original site. Typically, one just adds a couple tablespoons more flour and possibly bakes at a slightly higher temperature. I added a tad more flour, but baked at the recommended temp. Perhaps there was too much butter? Maybe my baking powder is losing some of its efficacy? Any suggestions from high altitude bakers?

    • Cheryl says

      We kept having issues at our altitude and found this recipe (6th one we tried) We increased the flour for our altitude (6300ft) so 5 tablespoons extra and also added an extra egg and 1 tablespoon of milk because we kept ending up with overbaked exterior/underbaked interior. Then we increased the baking temp (375) and decreased the baking time by about 5 minutes. It was the best one we’ve tried yet. If that doesn’t work for you, I did see on the silk flour box we just got to try again (need to make a 3 layer cake for my niece’s birthday) that decreasing butter can also help. Their recommendation was to decrease the butter from 1 1/2 to 1 cup. Hope this helps.


    • a says

      i am at 7500 ft n i would suggest using less baking powder. i would try maybe just following the recipe, add a few T. extra flour and reduce the bk. powder to 1 – 2 t.

  4. Michele says

    I love the flavor but it was a little dry. The butter had been sitting out a while and wasn’t cold – could that have been the problem? Can I add anything to it to make it more moist?

  5. Valerie says

    I made this recipe today and have finally found what I’m looking for in a homemade white cake. It has a delicate, tender crumb and isn’t dry. I did modify the recipe only slightly. I used all vanilla extract instead of vanilla and almond. I used buttermilk instead of regular milk.

  6. Charlene says

    I tried your recipe today & tasted my 6 in round cakes & they were perfect! The cake held its shape, it was nice & sweet, the color was light & it tasted buttery & felt fluffy in my mouth. This will be my new white cake recipe! No need for boxed mixes anymore! Thanks!

    • christine says

      Hi there! Can you tell me how you adjusted the baking time/temp for the 6 ” cakes. I am making 3 of them tonight. Thanks!

  7. Iva says

    I made this cake and didn’t like it. It wasn’t even white it was brown. I followed the directions. I made 2 of these cakes and both turned brown and had an awful taste. Sorry, but I won’t be making another one of these cakes. I will stick with my original homemade white cake. Good Luck to the rest of you.

    • says

      Hi Iva! So sorry that something went wrong. I would say that there was definitely a mis-step if the cake turned out brown, as there are no ingredients in the recipe that would cause that. If you want to email me I would be happy to trouble-shoot with you! :)

      • Iva says

        Amanda, I followed the directions as posted and I’m not sure why both turned out brown either. I was upset cause I made them for Father’s Day for my day and they didn’t turn out. First time ever for a recipe not to turn out for me.

        • Cheryl L. says

          It could have been the vanilla. For a white cake, you would want to use a clear vanilla extract/flavoring. If you use the standard brown colored one, it will cause your cake to not be nice and white. Also, if you melted the butter on the stove, instead of allowing it get to room temperature, it’s possible the butter had started to turn a little brown, thus changing the color of the recipe. Those are two most likely reasons your cake did not turn out white for you. Also, if they did not rise properly, then I would check the baking powder. Even if it has not expired, it’s very possible it needs to be replaced. Hope this helps.

        • Krystal K says

          It could be that baking soda was used instead of baking powder, which would cause the brown color and really off flavor.

  8. Laura says

    Hello I would like to try to make this cake, I have only one doubt: I do not have almond extract (in Italian supermarkets is hard to find) some advice to replace it? You can avoid putting it in the recipe?


    Un bacio a tutte

  9. Julie says

    Hi Amanda, I did not want to use round pans, just flat but not sure if 9×13 or 11×7. Any ideas?


  10. Ann says

    My late aunt made a “Prize Winner” White Cake years ago..the recipe was from a magazine and it had won a blue ribbon at a fair. Where is that recipe now?! It may have been called “Buttermilk White Cake” but I’m not certain. It contained butter and Crisco both..the liquid was buttermilk. It had vanilla extract and almond extract too, and I don’t remember the almond being too strong. It was topped with cream cheese pecan icing, ..and baked in 3 9in pans. She (my late aunt) wanted to try it with chopped cherries in the icing as well. I don’t know if she ever did. If you (or I!) ever find the recipe, give it a try. It was the most tender, delicious white cake (outside of a bakery-haha-I agree!) that I have ever tasted…hope to find the recipe someday..this may be a close second..tee hee!

  11. Carly says

    Hi Amanda! I am super excited to try your recipe, however I live in Denver (5280 ft). Any suggestions for high altitude? I was going to decrease baking powder from 4 teaspoons to 3 teaspoons and add some extra flour, but I also don’t want the cake to end up being too dense or anything.

  12. Pam says

    If I use one 8″ cake tin instead of two, should I make any adjustment? I need to trim to an exact size after it’s baked.

  13. afshan says

    .Hi Amanda,

    Am from India. I have a query for you.Is cake flour same as all purpose flour?
    If not , then pl let me know how to make it. Thanks.

  14. Julie says

    Hi Amanda, Everyone liked the cake, I did use a 9 X 13 pan, had to adjust the time, used a toothpick to check the cake to see if it came out clean. The cake got a light brown crumb like top to it. When I went to frosting the cake, the crumbs of course peeled off with the frosting. Help? Thank you Amanda.

  15. Allison says

    Tried this recipe today. I’ve been looking for the perfect white cake recipe for some time. This wasn’t it. I love my cakes light and airy; this was dense and the almond flavor was definitely not to my taste. Blech.

    • says

      Hum, it definitely should not be dense! Was your baking powder fresh? Eggs fresh? Was the butter melted? (if it is melted the cake will not be as light) If you do not like the almond extract you can substitute vanilla or simply omit. So sorry there were issues!

  16. Windflower says

    I’m looking for a white cake to make for my mother-in-law’s birthday on Saturday; Google led me here and to Epicurious, and I am usually a fan of Cook’s Illustrated recipes, so I really want to try this! But I am wondering about the comment that said it was too sweet (there were several others to that effect on Epicurious as well). Did you find it on the sweeter side? Do you know if it’s possible to reduce the sugar at all without throwing everything else out of balance?

    Normally I wouldn’t care and would just go for it, but my MIL specifically asked for a dessert that wasn’t too sweet or rich, since her requested dinner is on the heavier side ;) I was going to pair the cake with fresh fruit, whipped cream, and maybe an optional lemon sauce, so those might cut the overall sweetness.

    Also, do you think this cake would fare well wrapped and refrigerated for a day or two?


    • says

      Hi! I do think this is sweet, but definitely not “too sweet”. I think pairing it with a tart berry would be an excellent idea. I think it’s worth trying! :)


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