This super moist white cake recipe from scratch is the best white cake I’ve ever had. It’s made with sour cream and has a deliciously soft texture. No more looking around for a homemade white cake that’s actually moist. It’s the perfect recipe for a wedding cake or a birthday cake.
Hey there! Before you scroll, there’s lot’s of important stuff in the post!…including the FAQ section, which may answer any questions you might have about this recipe. Enjoy!
It’s an age old problem. How to get a moist white cake. You try recipe after recipe and either they taste like cornbread, the texture isn’t good, or it just isn’t moist enough. So, you end up just going for a box when you really wanted to make something with that ‘scratch wedding cake taste’.
You may have seen my Favorite Vanilla Bean Cake recipe on the blog. If not, go and check it out…it’s so moist and really tasty. It’s my favorite vanilla cake, hence the name, but I wanted to see if I could get a truly ‘white’ cake that I loved just as much and I wanted to get that wedding cake flavor.
Well I think I’ve done it. This cake is actually a white cake (I’d also consider it a vanilla cake) that is actually moist, AND it’s got that wedding cake taste.
LET’S TALK ABOUT SOME OF THE CAKE INGREDIENTS:
Egg whites: So, when trying to get a cake as white as possible, I wanted to use only egg whites. Generally, using only egg whites can tend to dry out a cake a bit, so you have to add a bit more moisture, which I’ve done as well.
Butter & Shortening: Now, I like a buttery taste to my cake, but in the effort to try and get a ‘whiter’ cake, I lessened the amount of butter and substituted the rest with shortening. If you want an all butter cake recipe (using no shortening), you’ll want to check out my vanilla cake recipe.
All purpose flour or cake flour: Another thing to note is that you can use either all purpose flour or cake flour for this recipe. The amounts will differ and that’s noted on the printable recipe below.
Here’s the deal though: Using cake flour will give you a whiter cake. I’m not a scientist or anything, but I think it’s because the cake flour seems to be more bleached than the all purpose. I could be wrong, but regardless, you’ll get a whiter cake using cake flour.
This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Vanilla Extract: First it’s the vanilla. You can always use clear extract to make sure it’s not adding any additional color to the batter, but I tend to use regular vanilla because honestly, it’s just better. If you can get it, try to use vanilla paste/emulsion (or grab it here if my shop is sold out).
Almond emulsion: Second, I added in my favorite flavor booster…almond emulsion (or get it here if my shop is sold out). You’re using just a touch of it, so you won’t really get an ‘almond taste’. It just adds to the flavor. Seriously most people won’t even know you’ve added it in there…they’ll just know it tastes amazing.
Ok, if you just can’t stand the thought of adding it, or you don’t have any handy, then don’t worry, it’ll still taste good. Oh and the emulsion is much better than the extract. The extract just does not taste good to me.
Butter Extract: Lastly I added in a bit of butter flavoring. Since I’d replaced some of the butter with shortening, I wanted to add back in some flavor. Now, that part is optional, but it really seems to give it that wedding cake flavor.
The butter flavoring you can get at the grocery store is gross to me…now that’s just my opinion. I feel like Lorann’s Butter Emulsion tastes much better.
You’ll also want to check out my vanilla bean buttercream recipe…it goes perfectly with this cake, but if you’re looking for a bright white buttercream, you’ll want to check out that recipe here: Bright White Heat Stable Buttercream.
MIXING METHOD FOR THE WHITE CAKE:
You’ll be using the reverse creaming method when mixing this cake. I like using that because it helps preven over-mixing the cake batter (which can cause problems with the texture).
The reverse creaming method is just mixing the dry ingredients in one bowl and the liquid in another. Then you’ll slowly mix in the butter and shortening to the dry mixture and let it coat the flour.
You’ll then add the liquid in two parts, mixing in between. It’s really an easier way to mix a cake in my opinion.
TIPS AND FAQS FOR THE WHITE CAKE RECIPE:
No, you don’t want to do that. These do two different things.
It’s basically just fat. I use vegetable shortening like Crisco, not lard which is animal fat. This helps get the cake moist and I use this in place of most of the butter to keep the color as white as possible.
Because I like the taste of butter. You just can’t beat butter in a cake.
I don’t recommend doing that. It could get too warm and will heat up unevenly. That could mess with the texture of your cake. Just set the butter out on your counter and let it warm up to almost room temp. It’s ok if it’s a little cooler than room temp…you just don’t want it warm.
You can, but the cake won’t be as moist and the texture and taste may be a little different than the original recipe. If you can’t find sour cream, try using full fat yogurt (not the low fat kind).
No not really. Actually regular vanilla extract or vanilla bean emulsion (or paste) tastes better, but clear will help keep the cake white if that’s really an important factor for you.
No. Some people just don’t like almond taste, but I will tell you that if you haven’t tried it, you might actually like the small hint of it. A lot of people assume they won’t like it, but honestly I think it tastes different than what most people think it would taste like. And you’ll just be adding a touch of it, just enough to add a little flavor.
No, but I think it adds a little more butter flavor and that in combination with the vanilla and almond emulsion are what gives it that classic wedding cake taste.
I’ve got links just below the recipe card for the ones that I like to use.
Anymore questions? Just let me know. I’m happy to help.
This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Items & Tools Used for this cake:
- Vanilla Bean Paste – in my shop OR here if I’m sold out
- Almond Emulsion – in my shop OR here if I’m sold out
- Butter Emulsion
- KitchenAid Hand Mixer
- 8″ Round Baking Pans
Ok, I won’t talk your head off anymore…let’s get straight to the recipe!
***I write recipes using volume (cups) measurements because here in the U.S., this is what people are used to seeing and using. For weight in metric measurements, click the ‘metric’ button under the ingredients in the recipe card. The weights are converted by a program, not me, and it’s a best guess. Please note that because I develop recipes using ‘cups’ I can’t guarantee that weighing the ingredients will produce the exact same results.
Moist White Cake
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour (or 2 ¾ cups cake flour – for an even whiter cake)
- 2 cups sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup shortening
- ¼ cup butter (unsalted, room temp.)
- 1 cup sour cream (full fat)
- ½ cup milk (whole milk if you can get it)
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract (can use clear extract)
- ½ teaspoon almond emulsion (optional)
- 1 teaspoon butter extract (or emulsion) (optional)
- 6 egg whites (large eggs)
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Grease and flour two 8 inch round (2 inch deep) cake pans. You could also use three 6 inch round pans.
- In a bowl, mix together the sour cream, milk, vanilla extract, almond emulsion, butter extract and egg whites.Whisk until smooth and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.Whisk together.
- Add the shortening and butter in chunks to the flour mixture.
- Mix until the flour is coated with the shortening and butter. The mixture will be crumbly.
- Add in half the liquid mixture and mix just until combined.
- Add in the last half of the liquid mixture and mix just until combined.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then mix again, only for 10-15 seconds.You want to be careful not to over-beat the batter.
- Pour into the greased and floured cake pans and bake at 325 degrees for 45-50 minutes.
- Cool on a wire rack then cover with buttercream.
This cake can be frozen for up to a month if wrapped well in plastic wrap and foil. Nutritional values are an estimate. Make sure to check out the TIPS & FAQs for this recipe in the blog post, which may answer questions about substitutions. *This recipe card may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Buttercream Recipe Links: Vanilla Bean Buttercream Recipe Bright White Heat Stable Buttercream Recipe
How to Share
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Glad you liked it!
I have a question can you substitute the 3/4 cup of shortening to a canola oil or vegetable oil and if so how much oil. Thank you. Your immediate response will be greatly appreciated thank you
Hi Maria, I’m not sure how well that would work out for this cake. Shortening makes it fluffy, but I’m not sure that oil would do the same thing. It’s worth a try. You could probably substitute with the same amount.
So as you know eggs are so expensive right now and I have a carton of egg whites that I would like to use instead of cracking 6 eggs and not using the yoke. Would you by any chance know how much egg whites it would end up being?
Hi Erica, yes egg prices are crazy right now so I completely understand. So I had to do an internet search for this answer, but it seems like the consensus is that 6 egg whites are about 1 cup. I’d try that and I’m crossing my fingers that it works. 😉
I really like the consistency of this cake recipe, if I wanted to turn this into a chocolate cake, how much cocoa would you recommend be added and would you take away some of another ingredient like flour? I did see in your chocolate cake recipes that you add hot coffee to them, love that idea and I can totally use one of those recipes if you know they are a similar consistency. Thank you for any and all advice/help you can give!
Hi Susan, I think it would be easier to use a chocolate cake recipe instead of trying to turn this one into a chocolate cake as you’d need to make a lot of changes and adjustments to do that and it would take some experimenting. I think my favorite chocolate cake on the site is the Butter Chocolate Cake recipe here: https://iscreamforbuttercream.com/chocolate-butter-cake/
And this one is a little bit fluffier…it’s cupcakes, but you can use two round cake pans instead…just bake for a bit longer: https://iscreamforbuttercream.com/best-chocolate-cupcakes/
I hope one of these will work!
CN you make this in a 9×13 pan?
Yes, you can. I don’t think you need to make any changes but watch it a little before the baking time ends.
Measurements for 3 8” rounds please? Can’t wait to try this one out for a baby shower
Hi Brittany, if you want to make three 8-inch layers instead of two, just mix up a recipe batch plus a half. 🙂
Apologies if I missed this answer in the blog, but how many cups of batter does this make? I absolutely love this recipe, and have an order for a 12×12 square cake. I read online I’ll need 14 cups of batter for the pans, but didn’t know how many were in this recipe. Also any tips on making square cakes would be greatly appreciated ☺️ Thank you!!
Hi Cassie, no you didn’t miss it. I almost never measure how many cups of batter a recipe has. I actually use a different method to figure out how much batter to use. Most regular cake recipes (including this one) make enough for two, 8-inch round pans or one 13×9-inch pan, so I just gauge from there, how many recipe batches I’ll need to mix up. For a 12×12 pan, I’d probably mix up about a recipe batch and a half. That’ll be one 12×12 layer with probably a little batter left over. I hope this helps. Oh and if you have time later when you’re not in the middle of a project and want to read about how I estimate the amount of cake batter I’ll need, here’s the post if you want to check it out: https://iscreamforbuttercream.com/how-much-cake-batter-do-i-need/
I hope this helps!
Thank you for that link!! It helped a lot as I’m still learning as I go. Thanks for all your tips on your site and the amazing recipes you share!
Hi, me again 😅 I’ve been asked to make a dairy free cake for a smash cake session. I’ve read earth balance sticks work great in place of butter in baking, but for milk, do you think coconut milk would work for in place of the milk in the recipe?? Canned or carton? this is always my go to cake recipe for smash cakes, so I would LOVE to be able to use it. Wasn’t sure if you’d ever tried it dairy free, but wanted to check with the pro before flying blind 😄
Cassie, I’ve never used the earth balance, but I’ve used coconut milk before and it’s worked just fine. So for the milk, you could just replace it with the carton coconut…or canned really. I think either would work. What are you using in place of the sour cream though? They do have vegan sour cream. I have never baked with it before and have never tasted any that I liked. (Just being honest.) What you could do is use coconut yogurt in place of the sour cream and see if that works. Whatever you use, make sure it’s got a good amount of fat in it. That’s what keeps the cake moist. Let me know how it works out! I get asked about dairy-free cakes a lot. I really need to test all these things out at some point…it’s a good excuse to eat more cake. lol
Can Butter vanilla emulsion be used in place of the butter emulsion?
Oh yes, I think that would work just as well.
Holy moly, this was amazing!! I’ve used box mixes for years but have recently been trying to get away from processed/packaged foods. I’ve tried several scratch cake recipes over the last year and while they’ve all been good, this one knocked them out of the park! I use Pinterest as my recipe book but this recipe will be going in my physical recipe book so I never lose it!
Yay!!! Thanks, Kelley for that amazing review. On a random note…I made this cake the other day and added sprinkles for my own birthday and just ate it plain. lol It’s one of my favorites too and I’m glad you loved it. Thanks again for the great review!
Hi. I wonder if you could make a recommendation on how to determine batter for 2 9″rounds and also 2 10″ rounds? That’s what I’m planning on making for my son’s upcoming wedding. Also at least 3 layers each…
Ok, this is what I would try…it may not be perfectly measured, but this is my best guess anyway: Mix up two recipe batches and use it to fill two, 9-inch round cake pans plus one, 10-inch round cake pan. Next, mix up another two batches and fill two, 10-inch cake pans, then one, 9-inch pan. That would get you three layers of each size. If I may make a suggestion though…if this will be a stacked cake (like a 10-inch tier on the bottom and 9-inch tier on the top), I would reconsider the top tier size and go with 8-inch cakes for that top tier. Generally tiered cakes look better if there’s a 2-inch difference in size…one inch usually isn’t quite enough difference. If you’re not making this a stacked cake, then just ignore that last part. 🙂 I hope this helps.
is it possible to cut the recipe in half because I want to make a small cake
Yes, you can cut this recipe in half. A half recipe will make one, 8-inch cake layer, two, 4-inch cake layers, or one, 6-inch round cake layer plus a couple of cupcakes.
Hi there. This recipe is fantastic. Any idea on coverting it for both 2-9″ and 2-10″ rounds? I tried using you serving size slider but it creates conversions that are too “crazy”. Do you think in would adjust and convert better in metric?
Hi Linda, yeah the slider thing is kind of weird. It’s super precise, but you can’t really measure ingredients in those weird amounts. The easier way to do it would be to just go with making a batch and a half. So, for two, 9-inch round cakes, you could just make a batch and a half, but you’ll have a little extra batter leftover for some cupcakes…maybe 5 or 6. For the two, 10-inch round cakes, you could go with a batch and a half and that should be about perfect. It’s always easier to divide cake recipes in half than it would be into 1/3rds or something like that. It’s just hard to measure out those weird amounts and easier to just make a batch and a half….that’s what I do anyway. 🙂 I hope this helps.
Hi, can you help me convert to grams, because I don’t have cup measurements
Greetings from Denmark
Hi Nathalie, there is a button labeled ‘metric’ under the ingredients list on the recipe card. Just click that button and it will automatically convert the measurements to grams for you.
I want to make a small batch of cupcakes! Honestly 6-8 cupcakes would be best but I’d also be happy with 12 lol
Can you tell me how I would cut the recipe down?
Thank you so much I can’t wait to try this!
Hi Marissa, Good question. I’ve actually been meaning to make a post on small-batch cupcakes, but haven’t gotten around to it. I think the easiest way to cut this one down would be to make a half batch. The measurements would be easier to calculate that way, but you’d get about 12 cupcakes. By the way, you can always freeze any extra cupcakes if you don’t want to eat them all in a few days. I do this all the time by adding them to freezer bags. So to cut the recipe down, just go down the list of ingredients and only use half of each. Most of the measurements should be pretty easy to cut in half. Just make sure to bake the cupcakes at 350 degrees F instead of 325 degrees. Watch them closely as they’ll bake a lot faster than cake layers. Hope this helps!
Your Moist white cake recipe is amazing, I was wondering if I can substitute the flour for gluten free flour? or do you have a gluten free cake recipe?
Hi Jackie, I don’t have a gluten-free version of it. I do really need to work on that. I have gotten emails from people saying that they’ve used the gluten free one-to-one flour and that it’s worked though. I’d give it a try.
First time making this recipe. Made it for a friends Birthday. they told me it was the BEST cake they have ever eaten!
Thank you so much for posting it!
Hi Pam, that’s so great! Thanks for the wonderful review…I’m so happy everyone loved it!
This recipe is amazing! Thank you for posting. For the 2 cups of sugar, is there anyway to scale back on the sweetness and being able to have some additional moisture to it? I plan on baking ahead of time. Thank you
Hi Stephanie, good question and I like that you already know that sugar also affects moistness. That makes my heart happy. 🙂 You can lower the sugar by 1/4 to maybe a 1/2 cup. I probably wouldn’t go lower than 1 1/2 cups, though, or it may negatively affect the texture and moistness. Let me know how it works for you. Glad you like the recipe. 🙂
I have a quick question well 2 I’m sorry, so i do not have to beat the egg whites, just wanted to make sure? and if I am cooking this in a 10in pan is the time more or less that’s all. Thank you
No worries about questions…as many as you like. So yes, that’s correct, you don’t need to whip the egg whites at all. So as far as baking this cake in a 10-inch pan, are you using two, 10-inch round pans? If so, there won’t be enough batter as this recipe is for two 8-inch round pans. If you want to use two, 10-inch pansthough, you should probably make a batch and a half to make enough for those pans. You would bake around the same time for that. If you’re making one recipe batch and using two, 10-inch round cake pans, then the batter won’t be enough to fill the pans properly so the layers will be thinner. You’ll probably need to bake for less time. I’d start checking at 25 minutes just to be sure.
If you mean a 10-inch bundt pan, then one recipe batch should be enough, but it may take a little longer to bake since the batter will be deeper. Just start checking it at around the 45 minute mark if using that pan.
If I’ve misunderstood your question, let me know.
Ok, I try to avoid shortening as much as possible. And, the shortening substitute I use, has a yellow look to it. I do have leaf lard and tallow though, could I use that instead of shortening?
Hi Amy, I don’t know if those would work. I’ve just never used them. If you’d rather try out a butter cake (one that uses all butter instead of any vegetable shortening), I have a recipe for a good vanilla cake. It isn’t white like this one, but it doesn’t use vegetable shortening. Here’s the link if you’re interested. https://iscreamforbuttercream.com/favorite-vanilla-bean-cake/
I need to make a cross cake for my grandson’s baptism. I am using a Wilton cross pan. Just curious how the timing of the recipe will work out. I tried with another white cake recipe and it came out dry so am anxious to try this one!
Hi Angie, I looked up that pan to see the dimensions. The cross pan loos to be only about 2 inches deep so I think it should be around the same amount of baking time as listed on the recipe or actually maybe a little less. In fact, I’d start checking it at about 30 minutes or so. I’ve never baked with this pan before so I can’t say exactly, but just to be safe, start checking early. I do have a post on how to tell when a cake is done that has more tips than I can type here. I’ll leave the link below to check that out and maybe that will help you be able to tell when you can take the cake out before it’s overbaked. There’s also a video on that post as well. https://iscreamforbuttercream.com/how-to-tell-when-a-cake-is-done-baking/
Hope this helps.
I just made this cake yesterday and the flavor and moisture are awesome! I never like white cake because it’s so dry but my husband and I loved this one! I used my vintage insulated 9” pans and this amount of batter was perfect for two layers! Thanks so much!
Hi Cindy, this is great to hear! I’m so glad you and your husband loved it…yay! And thanks so much for the wonderful review. 🙂