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Easy White Cake from Scratch

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This recipe makes whipping up a tender white cake from scratch super easy.  It is perfect for birthdays and celebrations! 

slice of layered white cake with white frosting and sunflower on top.

Making a perfect white cake at home doesn’t have to be hard.  This simple cake makes a great birthday or special occasion dessert. It makes two 9″ round cakes that are perfect for layering and decorating. 

A little frosting is all you need to make it great. It tastes like wedding cake, but is perfect for a smaller gathering. You are going to love this tender and tasty cake!

Ask almost anyone in my family what their favorite cake is and they are going to say wedding cake.  There is just something about the vanilla and almond flavor combo that works so well. 

So when I asked my dad what he wanted for his birthday dessert this year, it was not even a little bit of a surprise that he requested a white cake with white frosting. We all love it.

two round white cake layers wrapped in plastic wrap.

I was tempted to make the bakery style white cake.  It is super tasty, but that recipe makes too much cake for the small gathering we were having. 

Making a white Texas sheet cake posed a similar problem. While it is easy to make, we didn’t need a full half sheet of cake.

I was in the mood to do a little cake decorating anyways. So buttercream was in order, not the pour over icing that sheet cakes usually come with.

So I thought back to the delicious cakes layers that make up the haleakala cake.  It is a perfectly tender white cake that is easy to make.

You do have to separate a few eggs, but you don’t have to whip and fold the whites.  You just add them to the batter and whip it right up. 

haleakala cake with layers of white cake, pineapple filling, Italian meringue frosting and coconut.

Of course it is delicious with all of the pineapple filling and fluffy white frosting.  The coconut wraps up that tropical flavor in a nice little fluffy bow.

But that is not the wedding combo that he was asking for.  So I took the cake and whipped up some American buttercream for the perfect one-two punch.

The combination was a hit.  It tasted like wedding cake, but was decorated with the flowers Pops and Little Dude love to plant, sunflowers. 

I was really tempted to add some lemon curd or raspberry jam between the layers, but that wasn’t what was requested. So we kept it simple and the birthday boy was quite happy.

fork going in for bite of white cake.

Can I make this cake in advance?

Of course you can! After your cakes are mostly cooled, wrap them in plastic wrap.  

Ideally you can bake them a day or two in advance and freeze them until you are ready to decorate them. You can freeze them for up to a couple of months.

bite missing from slice of white layer cake.

Cakes are actually easier to decorate chilled anyway.  Go ahead and frost them while they are frozen if you would like too.

The crumb coat will set quickly and you will be decorating in no time.  It is a perfect way to spread out the work over several days. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between white cake and vanilla cake?

While white cake is a form of vanilla cake, not all vanilla cakes are white cakes. White cakes use only the whites of the eggs to keep the color of the cake closer to pure white. Butter or yellow cakes are also vanilla flavored, but use whole eggs giving it a richer color.

Can I use egg whites from the carton?

Yes. If you don’t want to separate 4 eggs to make this homemade white cake, you can use liquid egg whites. 4 ounces, or 1/2 cup will replace the 4 egg whites in this recipe nicely.

slice of layered white cake with white frosting and sunflower on top.

Simple White Cake Recipe

Servings: 12 Servings
Author: Carlee
Making a perfect white cake at home doesn't have to be hard. This simple cake makes a great birthday or special occasion dessert. It makes two 9" round cakes that are perfect for layering and decorating. A little frosting is all you need to make it great. It tastes like wedding cake, but is perfect for a smaller gathering. You are going to love this cake!
4.87 from 15 ratings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 egg whites
Makes: 9inch round


  • Preheat oven to 350°F and grease two round 9 inch cake pans.
  • In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
    2 cups all purpose flour, 3½ teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt
  • In your mixer, cream butter until it is smooth.  Add sugar, vanilla and almond extracts. Beat until light and fluffy.
    ½ cup butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1½ cups granulated sugar, ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • Stir in half of the flour mixture, then half of the milk. Repeat with the remaining flour and milk, mixing just until combined after each addition.
    1 cup milk
  • Add egg whites, then beat on high for 2 minutes. It's ok if the batter isn't perfectly smooth at this point.
    4 egg whites
  • Pour into prepared cake pans. Lift each pan a couple of inches off the counter and drop to level.
  • Bake 30-35 minutes or until lightly golden with the tops barely springing back when pressed.
  • Run knife around the edge of the pan and let cool for 5 minutes. Then invert the cakes onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Be sure your cakes are completely cooled before frosting them.



Serving: 1ServingCalories: 259kcalCarbohydrates: 42gProtein: 4gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 409mgFiber: 1gSugar: 25g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Cooking With Carlee” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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Recipe Rating


Wednesday 25th of November 2020

This cake is so pretty! I'm sure your dad loved it!!!


Friday 4th of December 2020

He did, thank you!