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  • The Perfect {Bakery Style} White Cake

    filed under: White Cakes on February 22, 2013

    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!

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    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

        Ingredients

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

        Instructions

        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|http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/COOKS-ILLUSTRATED-WHITE-LAYER-CAKE-50017374], taken from Cooks Illustrated.

        I used my famous Whipped Vanilla Buttercream recipe to frost this cake. (You can see a video of me decorating a cake with this design here) This is the BEST buttercream (American version) that I have ever tried.

        FOR AN EXTRA VELVETY TEXTURE: try subbing sour cream for the butter. You would use 3/4 cup for this recipe.

        The Best Homemade White Cake

        I have made this cake more times than I can count!  It works every time and tastes bright and fresh.

        So many folks ask me this, “How do you get a truly white cake?”

        1. Egg whites in the recipe. There should not be egg yolks in a white cake recipe.

        2. Butter color. I try to use a pale butter. There are many brands of butter that have the most glorious, rich, and vibrant yellow tones. I don’t use those when trying to make my cake white.

        3. Imitation clear extract. Vanilla can add a dark tinge to your batter, taking away from a vibrant white. Imitation clear vanilla extract helps to keep the batter colorless.

        Partial Frosting of White Cake

        There is just something beautiful about a naked cake, you know?

        The Perfect White Cake

        I think my heart skips a beat when I see a white on white cake.  This is the “after” of my naked cake above.

        whitecake

        One of the MOST common questions I get about this cake is:

        Can I make it into cupcakes?

        Yes… kinda. You will need to adjust cooking times dramatically. Start checking at 15 minutes; you want to cupcakes to no longer appear “wet” in the center and to spring back when touched. If the edges are brown(dark) the cupcakes may be overdone.

        Do not fill the cupcake liners more than 2/3 full.

        The cupcakes do not create a big dome, they will be a bit flatter.

        If you want the PERFECT WHITE CUPCAKE, I recommend my Elegant Cupcake Recipe.

        *****

        If you like this Perfect White Cake you will surely love these:

        Perfect Yellow Cake!

        Homemade Yellow Cake Mix

        Perfect Crusting Buttercream

        The Perfect Crusting Buttercream

        Chocolate Rose Cake!

        The Perfect Chocolate Cake

        Simple, fast, and so easy to personalize!

        Here is a slightly different take on the same frosting design above.

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        Comments

        Mine came out a little dry and a little dense. Any suggestions??? Also, several people posted their 8 inch pans over flowed when cooking any suggestion on that? I made 6 inch by 3 inch deep for the rabbit cake and didn’t have any problems but I am scared to do 8 inch now because they are only 2 inches deep.

          Mine wasn’t dry but very heavy and dense and almost muffin-like in texture. Trouble-shooting?

            I had the same issue. Very dense… loved the flavors. I made a 11×15 cake which was somewhere between 2 batches and 3 batches of the original recipe.

          Yep, mine overflowed, followed the recipe to a T and needs way more time. Very annoyed. Hope the recipe gets an update to warn people!

            There is nothing to update and nothing to “warn” people of. It’s a wonderful recipe as is.

              You know, people could have an issue with altitude or something else. Some people may need a different method or altered ingredients.

          I too found this cake heavy and very dense. I think it’s the ratios (by weight) and mixing order.

          For a butter cake, sugar should equal or be just slightly more than the flour BY WEIGHT. If you convert the ingredients to weight, the sugar is nearly 38% more by weight than the flour. If I were to make this cake again, I would reduce the sugar to 15% – 20% more than flour.

          Eggs should equal or be just slightly more than fat BY WEIGHT. This ratio is fine as the egg whites weigh around 180g and the butter is about 170g.

          All liquid (including eggs) equal or be just slightly more than the sugar BY WEIGHT. The weight of the milk and eggs combined is at least 20% more than the weight of the sugar, possibly more since each egg white will vary in weight. I would reduce the milk. The milk is 94% the weight of the flour. I would reduce it to 55% the weight of the flour.

          I would also beat butter into dry ingredients for 30 second. Then add the milk and extracts, beat 60 seconds. Then add the egg whites in 2 additions, beating 30 seconds after each addition. While the beating time is the same, it’s a matter of order to ensure proper emulsification.

            BTW I made this cake twice as written. Both times it was too dense and heavy.

        Hi Amanda! Just came across this recipe and am so excited to try it for my Mom’s birthday tomorrow. Question for you, can I make the cake a day ahead of time, refrigerate it and then frost it tomorrow? Will it dry out?

        Can i use all purpose flour if i don’t have cake flour??

        Why do some ppl absolutely love this recipe and others hate it? I see a lot of ‘too dry’ comments but others will make it again.

          I tried it and it was perfect. But definitely dense. A slice will fill you

          For several reasons I would guess. One major one is the ingredients aren’t weighed out. This is huge in baking, especially cakes. Find a recipe that weighs ingredients. Next, people might not be adjusting for altitude. I had issues with my cakes until I finally started baking for just above my elevation. I alter all recipes for 5,000 feet and no longer have issues. Another, cakes HATE being over baked, they do not tolerate it well. If cakes are coming out too dry, you can add a thin layer of simple syrup to help with moisture. Over or under mixing can be a culprit as well, follow directions religiously. Those are my tips after 3 years of baking at least once a month and experiencing many, many failures.

        I plan of trying this recipe on a wedding cake. I have used cake flour in the past, and have really never cared for the dryness. I always go with A PF ( 1 cup, minus 2 tbs, replaced by 2 tbs cornstarch. ) Which is cake flour but for some reason it doesn’t dry out as bad. I think as far as refrigerator overnight, I would wrap in saran first, to sustain moister.

          Use simple syrup, should help with the dryness. Most Americans do not care for the dryer, more dense texture of home baked cakes.

        hi ive made it a few times and taste great! but now i need to make a three tier cake wit this recipe. can i jus double the ingredients to get more batter?

        thanks

        We both like yellow cake or lemon cake. We are also fans pineapple upside down cake. Today my wife is going to make a cheese cake. we take no prisoners when it comes to cake. ty for asking and am enjoying reading other comments too. is site is going to be fun and [ a we bit fattening] and if your a cake lover it is suppose to be

        Just made this cake last night and it is amazing. Since it was just a trial for a wedding cake, I split the recipe in half and made 1 – 8″ X 2″ layer. It came out perfect. I am confused as to why many people are saying that the batter overflowed after using 8″ layers as I had no problem at all. The cake had a perfectly flat top which was good because usually I have to cut off the dome. I left out the almond as the bride and groom don’t like almond flavoring. This cake is far from dense. It is very moist and looks perfect when cut. Just have to figure out how many batches I’ll have to make for a 3 tiered wedding cake! Thanks for this amazing cake recipe!

          I have had the same experience as you with this cake! 🙂 I am sure the bride and groom are going to love the 3-tiered cake! <3

        I have made this recipe a few times… in telling you people just FLIP for it! So many compliments!!

        I found this recipe in my America’s Test Kitchen Baking cookbook and I am a bit perplexed as the cake fell in the oven whilst baking. I live in the UK and it’s been raining a lot today so I am not sure if humidity is a factor but I have never had a cake sink while in the oven. I also added funfetti to the batter but I really hope that is not the reason for the disasterous outcome. Any advice is greatly appreciated

          Adjust for elevation. You will either increase or decrease sugar, flour, baking powder etc… based on how high you are. I would find out where the recipe contributor is and compare your elevation and make the changes necessary. Additionally, over and under mixing can wreak havoc. I use Craftsy’s elevation tips because I weigh in grams, multiply by the percentages to reduce and subtract those grams from the original recipe…it’s been working perfectly for me.

        Each time I’ve made the cake it is too moist. I always test with a toothpick which comes out dry, but then the cake sticks and is very moist. Not sure what I am doing wrong. I love the flavor. It reminds me of angel food.

        Do you have any cake recipes that take under 4 eggs?

        Thanks and I love your blog!!!

        Too much almond flavoring for me. Next time I would put 2 teaspoons vanilla 1 teaspoon of almond flavoring. Other than that it turned out great.

        Made this recipe for a client cake and it was delicious people loved it, but I used half of the measurement for almond extract. Also filled the cake with my secret raspberry curd buttercream filling topped with all round buttercream it was delicious, and the cake was gorg

        Enjoy your website very much. Being retired now I find I am baking twice a week at least and always find it
        interesting to try new recipes. I also follow Cook’s magazine and America’s Test Kitchen. Thanks for the
        great FB additions. NOW – since it is 2017 might you change your opening paragraph to include MEN –
        there are truly quite a number of male bakers – both at home and professionally.
        JS

          Glad to hear you are baking! My readers are 97% female. My readers are not an indication of the overall numbers of men baking, just of the bakers who visit my page. 🙂

        Could you use Almond or Rice milk? Dairy allergies keep me from using “real” milk.

          I make this recipe frequently with almond milk and it always turns out great.

        I have to make a sphere cake for a friend in a few weeks. Couple questions does this cake freeze well? Do you think it is dense enough to hold itself up when I put the 2 hemisphere pieces together?

        I adjusted this cake to be gluten and corn free. It was a HIT! I made a half batch and baked in 6 inch pans.

        Can I use buttermilk instead of regular milk?

        I want to thank you for this recipe, I made the most beautiful delicious cake today that my family enjoyed so much, once again thank you!

        I made this recipe for my fiancés B-day. We found the flavor wonderful, but it was a little dry and dense. I wish I would of read the comments befor II chose this recipe. Nice flavor but needs a little work.

        This was entirely too much almond flavoring for my taste. It’s overpowering. Otherwise, it’s a great recipe. I love the texture and moistness of the cake. I followed the directions to a T.

          did your cake rise as the picture above??? mine not ….

        ITS ON THE OVEN NOW…I WILL LET U KNOW !!!!

        HI THERE….my cake did not rise as it show in your pic???!!!!!i follow the steps exactly ..its came out good but its not rise??? any ideas why?? thx

        This is a delicious cake recipe! I made this today for my husbands birthday cake. I didn’t have any cake flour so I used all purpose flour ( I omitted 1/4 cup flourfrom the original recipes and added 1/4 cornstarch, as substitute. I also used Becel margarine in replacement of butter) The cake was light, fluffy and delicious. I love the very light essence of almond extract in this recipe, it gives it a real bakery flavor. I topped the cake with Cream cheese icing from scratch and everyone raved about how delicious it was. This will be my standby white cake recipe from now on! maybe those who found the cake to be dense had not used cake flour?

        Don't Pass on Dessert!