A delicious homemade bakery style white cake that has a great texture and is sturdy enough for stacking tiers. It’s perfect for DIY wedding cakes, fun birthday cakes, or any special occasion! This recipe can make a 6 and 8 inch cake, or a 10 inch cake.
A perfect white cake is hard to beat. Whether you are looking for a wedding cake, birthday cake or just because cake, cake has enough structure to stack tall.
It is moist, has a great texture and can stand up to multiple layers.
If you are used to baking cakes from mixes, don’t run. If you think just because this cake is from scratch that it’s not worth the effort, you are wrong!
What makes this different than a standard cake recipe?
Homemade cakes do not have to be fussy or hard. This cake is really simple, uses straight forward ingredients and there’s no steps that involve gently folding or whipping to stiff peaks.
If you are used to traditional cake recipes, this one is going to look a little strange to you. A lot of recipes start with creaming the butter and sugar.
Then you mix in the liquid. Lastly you add the flour and dry ingredients and mix as little as possible to avoid developing the gluten.
This recipe does it backwards. You mix together the dry ingredients first. Then you beat in the butter.
Coating the flour with the fat keeps the cake from getting tough. Then you can add the wet ingredients and really beat it up good.
This allows you to whip in some air without worry. Plus it results in a soft cake with plenty of moisture and a nice crumb.
The best part is the mixer does most of the work. All you have to do is add ingredients.
Why we like this cake
After accepting the challenge (and honor) of making my brother’s wedding cake, I went on a mission to find the perfect cake recipe to make it.
I tried one that was loaded with sour cream and butter. I thought I was going to love it. Honestly, it was good but the texture wasn’t quite what I had in mind.
Then I stumbled upon this white cake. The instructions were backwards from most recipes I had tried, so I was hoping that would unlock the secret to the cake I had in my head.
It was darn close. I did add a bit of sour cream because I love the texture and flavor a bit of that, yogurt or buttermilk adds to baked goods. I also used a mix of flavoring to give it a subtle complexity.
The results were what I was looking for! Despite making tester cakes and the actual wedding cake, I never got pictures of the inside of the cake to show with you.
Luckily my new sister-in-law managed to snap a few of the tester cakes and she was nice enough to share them with me.
So when my sister asked if I’d make my nephew’s birthday cake and requested white cake, I knew exactly which recipe I’d make!
This recipe works great for both occasions because it’s the perfect amount of batter for two six inch cake layers and two eight inch cake layers. Great sizes for a two tier wedding cake or a smash cake and birthday cake.
If you don’t need tiers, you could definitely bake this as a nine inch cake instead. Just make two layers with a slightly longer bake time or three thinner layers and start checking them a few minutes early.
Filling the cake
I torted, or cut the layers in half horizontally, the cake. That way there were two layers of lemon curd and one layer of raspberry in each cake.
It also allowed for more of the perfect summer buttercream and a slightly taller cake with a big flavor punch.
For the birthday cake, I kept it simple. The smash cake was just frosting and cake. For the big cake, I made a cheater bavarian cream recipe.
The birthday boy’s mom is the most picky eater of my siblings and I didn’t want to accidentally pick a filling she doesn’t like.
She tends to like things like spice cake, carrot cake and cinnamon rolls and I couldn’t think of a good way to incorporate that into a filling. She doesn’t like berries and that is where my brain kept going.
I thought about trying a different kind of curd, but didn’t want to risk picking something that wouldn’t be popular.
So instead I made a thick vanilla pudding filling. The creamy vanilla goodness was the perfect compliment to the cake without being a distraction from the simplicity.
For decoration, I kept it simple on the smash cake. Just white American buttercream and sprinkles.
I didn’t want to add too much food coloring to the frosting and end up dying my nephew all the colors of the rainbow if he did dive in face first!
For the big cake, I went with blue, green and yellow frosting. I did a quick watercolor treatment around the sides of the cake and did a number 1 on the top.
I used a 1 cookie cutter to give myself a guide, then piped some white frosting as a base. It gave the finished product more lift. Then just randomly piped on dollops of the colored frosting.
For the outside of the cake, I started with a white base then piped on random stripes of the colored frosting. Spin the cake using a offset spatula or bench scrape to smooth the frosting and remove the excess.
I quickly piped on a bottom border because sometimes I just don’t know when to stop.
Tips and tricks
The key to nice layers is starting with an even cake. Use wet strips of towel or bake even strips to keep the cakes from doming while baking.
If your cakes do dome, carefully trim them so you can stack them into a nice level cake. Scraps can be the baker’s bonus treat or could be made into cake balls.
If you have a six quart mixer, that would be best. I have made it in my four and a half quart mixer and it is doable, but you’ll want to be careful to add the wet ingredients just a bit at a time to avoid to much sloshing over.
Start watching your cake a few minutes early as all ovens are a bit different.
If you do overbake your cake or it looks dry, brush it with simple syrup to give it a little moisture back. Syrup should not be necessary though.
You can make the cakes ahead of time if you know time will be tight getting ready for the party. Just wrap them tightly in several layers of plastic wrap and freeze.
I usually put mine in the fridge to start defrosting then frost and decorate them the next day.
Just have fun with it! No cake is perfect and nobody will notice any imperfections but you.
Making it a 10 inch cake
If you would like to make a ten inch cake instead of six and eight inch layers, this recipe works for that as well. You can use the ingredients exactly as they are written in the recipe card to get a two layer 10-inch cake.
You can also multiply the ingredients by one and a half and make a three layer cake. Either way, it is sturdy yet delicious.
Great frosting recipes for white layer cakes:
- Italian meringue buttercream
- Sweetened condensed milk buttercream
- Crusting buttercream
- White chocolate buttercream
- Chocolate Buttercream
Bakery Style White Cake
- 3½ cups all purpose flour
- 2½ teaspoons baking powder
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ¾ teaspoons salt
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1½ teaspoons additional flavoring extract such as princess creme boquet, lemon or almond
- 1 cup egg whites
- 1½ cups milk
- 1 Tablespoon sour cream
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup butter softened
- In a large mixer bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
- In a mixing bowl, stir together vegetable oil, milk, egg whites, sour cream and flavorings. Set aside.
- With the mixer running, drop a Tablespoon or two of butter into the flour mixture at a time. Keep mixing until the mixture is crumbly.
- Add the wet ingredients a little bit at a time, mixing until combined after each addition. Be sure to scrape the sides occasionally as you go.
- Once all of the liquid ingredients are added, beat on medium for 7 minutes.
- Meanwhile preheat oven to 350°F and prepare 2 6-inch cake pans and 2 9-inch cake pans with grease and cake strips.
- Spread batter in prepared pans and bake until finished, about 45-50 minutes for the 6 inch pans and 50-55 minutes for the 8 inch pans.
- Cool in the pans for about 10 minutes and then invert them onto baking racks to cool completely.
- Frost when cooled or wrap in plastic wrap and freeze until ready to use.