I have been searching for a delicious basic white cake for years. Every now and again I would get up the gumption to try a couple of recipes, but after disappointing results I would throw in the towel thinking it was out of reach. Recently, I decided I would live in fear of white cake no more and I decided to develop a recipe of my own.
Little did I know that I would bake and bake and bake until I finally found the recipe results I was looking for. One cake would be too dense, the next too fluffy, the next too dense. In fact, this last weekend my niece commented that I looked like a crazy version of Einstein as I sat perplexed by which direction to go, my hair sticking up everywhere.
But alas I achieved the cake I was aiming for. It is beautifully pale, only slightly colored by butter and vanilla which perfume this delicate cake. It is light but at the same time moist and subtly sweet.
Here are some key features of this recipe:
- a combination of all-purpose and cake flour gives a sturdy but soft texture and doesn’t taste excessively like cake flour (which I don’t care for in large amounts)
- use of butter and oil yields a flavorful and moist cake with a lovely fine structure
- whole milk moistens the cake and gives it a neutral flavor which allows the butter and vanilla to shine through
- a heavy dose of vanilla enlivens this classic flavor profile
Enjoy this cake with virtually any filling or frosting, but delicate flavors like raspberry and lemon pair particularly well.
I hope this is the white cake that satisfies your craving.
I am so grateful for all of the amazing support and encouragement you all have offered me as I attempt to share my love of baking and party fare. To offer a little thank you to you I am going to post five cake recipes for vanilla cakes in five days! Each is uniquely wonderful in its own way. Today marks day one with the lovely white cake. I hope you join me each day on this little cake venture. And thank you again for making blogging such a joy!
- ¾ cup (12 tablespoons, or 6 ounces, or 170 grams) unsalted butter softened
- 4 tablespoons (60 mL) vegetable oil
- 12 ¼ ounces (347 grams) granulated sugar- 1 ¾ cups
- 6 large egg whites
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract, or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
- 6 ounces (170 grams) all-purpose (plain) flour-about 1 ¼ cups
- 5 ounces (142 grams) cake flour-1 ¼ cups (*see end of recipe for substitution)
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup (237 mL) whole milk
- Preheat oven to 350 F (177 C) and grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans.
- Combine butter, oil and sugar in a mixer bowl and blend on low for about 30 seconds until combined but not fluffy or light. Add egg whites and mix on medium-low until just absorbed by the butter-sugar mixture. Add vanilla extract and mix on medium-low until blended.
- Sprinkle in the dry ingredients and mix on low until moistened. With mixer on low gradually add the milk and then beat for 1 minute on medium until well blended and lightened scraping down the sides of the bowl half way through.
- Divide batter between the two cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then turn out to a cooling rack. Cool completely if using immediately or wrap in two layers of plastic wrap to store.
- *cake flour substitute: 120 grams plain flour plus 22 grams cornstarch or potato starch