Another month, another cake. Hop on in, folks– it’s about to get all sweet and heavenly up in here!
I’m back for March’s edition of Cake of The Month with a little elaboration on January’s yellow layer cake. I mentioned in that post how yellow, white, and vanilla cake are often confused with each other and how they’re all different. I’ve also brought you vanilla cake in the past, so now we’re going to complete the trifecta with what I like to deem “wedding cake.” I used this recipe to make many many cakes for customers back in my cake baking/decorating days, and it was often referred to as “that wedding cake flavor” when I would ask customers to be specific when asking for a “white” cake (spoiler alert: often times, they really wanted yellow).
Do you know the cake I’m talking about? Dense but not heavy, the perfect amount of moisture, a tight crumb that flows seamlessly into the filling and/or frosting surrounding it? Hopefully you’ve tried the cake I’m describing, and you’re nodding your head in wedding cake delight. Are we on the same cake page now?
So white cake. It’s, well, white. It’s not quite angel food cake white, since it does use plenty of butter, but you won’t be adding any egg yolks to this cake batter, so the batter stays fairly white, especially in comparison to its cousin cake, the yellow cake. Egg whites are the bulk of the glue that holds this whole cake business together, and you’ll need 6 of them for this two layer cake. I know, that’s a lot of wasted egg yolks, but save them! Or toss them in an egg casserole.
You’ll also do something a bit different for this white cake than you normally would for a cake batter. Instead of creaming together butter and sugar, you’re actually going to mix together your flour, sugar, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt and then add room temperature butter right there into the mix. You’ll wind up with a sand-like mixture. Here’s a visual for you:
To that sandy mixture, you’ll slowlyyyyy add your solution of heavy cream, egg whites, and a hefty dose of vanilla. Much like we did with our orange creamsicle cake, you’ll add half of this wet mixture to the dry, allow it to fully incorporate, then add the remaining half of the liquid. Why do we do this? Your batter can only absorb so much liquid at one time. In order not to overload it with too much at once, adding it in two parts ensures there’s enough room for everyone to be happy and work together properly. It may seem like an unnecessary step, but trust me, it is crucial in producing the perfect texture for this cake.
The cake will bake up nice and brown on the outside, but the inside will be a perfectly white color with a soft vanilla flavor perfect for pairing with just about any kind of frosting. Grab my classic white buttercream, go for some chocolate buttercream, or even try out some orange cream cheese frosting. OOOOOOOOH, or fill it with homemade lemon curd and lather it up with lemon buttercream! YES. DO THAT.
Or. ORRRR, my friend… Cover this perfectly white cake with some out-of-this-world whipped cream buttercream. Ohhhh, yes. Yes, this is the stuff you’re going to want to douse every last crumb of cake with, because it. Is. Magical.
You’ll find that the recipe for this whipped cream buttercream is pretty similar to my classic white buttercream. However, instead of just plain adding liquid to the butter/powdered sugar/vanilla extract business, you’re going to whip this buttercream with heavy whipping cream. You’ll watch for the frosting to just start getting fluffy. Then, it’s perfectly whipped and ready to use.
Side note about the buttercream, you’ll add just a touch of almond extract to give the buttercream a bit of flavor flair. If you’re not into almond extract or you don’t have any on hand, that’s totally fine. Just know that the tiniest bit of it can add a whole new dimension to your buttercream game. Just think about it.
If you prefer your frosting a little thinner to make spreadability a bit easier, thin it out with some more heavy cream, but decrease the mixer speed to low at this point. You definitely don’t want to over-whip your cream, otherwise you’re well on your way to butter all over again. Not what you want.
As always, allow your cake layers to cool completely before assembling, and remember that no cake is complete without sprinkles. Lots and lots. And lots.
If you’re looking for a very easy, basic white cake, this is totally it. It is easily paired with many flavors and makes a great plain canvas for serving with your favorite ice cream or even fresh fruit. There is no wrong way to eat white cake, wedding or no wedding, so definitely tuck this recipe away for safe-keeping.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, measured properly
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 and ¾ cups granulated sugar
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 12 Tablespoons unsalted butter (1 and ½ sticks), softened to room temperature^
- 1 cup heavy cream, room temperature*^
- 6 large egg whites, room temperature^
- 2 and ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 pound (4 cups) powdered sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- pinch of salt
- ⅓ cup heavy whipping cream
- Place oven rack on the middle setting and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour (or use Wilton's Cake Release) two 8" or 9" round cake pans.
- In a large bowl with a handheld mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend ingredients together on low until completely combined, about 1 minute. Add the room temperature butter and beat mixture on low speed until it resembles sand (see photo in post text). Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula and mix again on low for a few seconds until thoroughly combined.
- Combine the heavy cream, egg whites, and vanilla extract in a large container with a spout (like a 2-cup glass measuring cup) and mix gently with a fork until blended. With the mixer speed on medium-low, add half of the milk mixture (about 1 cup) to the crumb mixture and mix until blended. Add the remaining milk mixture to the batter and beat again on medium-low until everything is incorporated. Turn the mixer off, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula, and increase mixer speed to medium. Beat the batter for about 30 seconds until batter is smooth.
- Divide batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake cakes for about 26-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the tops are lightly browned. Remove from oven and allow cakes to cool completely on a wire rack before assembling.
- In a large bowl with a handheld mixer, or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes.
- With the mixer on low, add in the powdered sugar, vanilla and almond extracts, and salt. Add the cream and continue to mix until everything starts to come together.
- Increase mixer speed to high and beat for 3-4 minutes until frosting is fluffy, pausing once or twice to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Be careful not to over-beat the frosting, as whipping cream may start to clump. Decrease mixer speed to low if you need to add more cream to thin to desired texture.
- Place one layer, bottom side up, on a plate or cake stand. Using a spatula or knife, spread an even layer of frosting over the entire surface. Place the second layer on top, bottom side down, and press down on the top lightly. Spread the rest of the frosting on the cake, beginning with the top and working your way down the sides. Decorate as desired.
- Cake stays fresh covered at room temperature for up to 4 days. Cake may be covered and refrigerated for up to 7 days.
^It is imperative to use room temperature ingredients in this recipe. Allow ingredients to sit out at room temperature at least 45 minutes before beginning.
*I strongly encourage using cream in this recipe. It keeps the crumb moist and dense and adds a creaminess to the overall texture of the cake.