Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Perfect White Cake

This has become my favorite white cake recipe – it always comes out moist and delicate with an incredibly fine crumb. One of the perks of this is that you don’t have to beat the egg whites separately, which makes this cake (and cleanup) a whole lot easier than a traditional white cake. The best thing about this cake is that it stays moist for days – I’ve made one too many white cakes that dry out after a day or two – which means that you can bake these cakes a few days in advance and they’ll still have the right texture when it comes time to assemble and serve the cake.


Perfect White Cake
(makes three 9-inch cakes)

1 ½ cups whole milk
9 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vodka
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 ¼ cups + 2 tablespoons cake flour, sifted, plus 3 tablespoons for the pans
2 ½ cups + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons salt
18 tablespoons (2 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into teaspoon-sized chunks and at room temperature, + 1 tablespoon extra for greasing the pans


Set two racks in the oven just above and below the middle. Heat the oven to 350 F. Spray the bottoms of three 9-inch cake pans with cooking spray or lightly butter them. Line the pans with parchment paper rounds and butter or spray the parchment paper. Dust each pan with 1 tablespoon of flour. Invert the pans over the sink and bang out any excess flour.

Using a whisk, mix the milk, egg whites, vodka, and vanilla extract together in a bowl and set it aside.

Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a standing mixer or a large bowl. Using the paddle attachment of the stand mixer, mix the dry ingredients together on the lowest speed for 5 seconds. (If using a handheld mixer, stir the dry ingredients with a large spoon.) Add the butter and increase the speed to 2 or mix on low speed of a handheld mixer. Mix until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Add all but ¾ cup of the milk mixture and mix at medium speed (6 on a stand mixer) for 2 minutes. Add the remainder and mix for another 45 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for another 30 seconds.

Divide the batter evenly between the three pans; spread the batter out to the walls and smooth out the tops. Bang the pans against the counter a few times to even out the batter.

Put two pans on the upper rack and one on the lower rack. Bake for 15 minutes and then rotate the pans to ensure even baking. Bake for another 10-12 minutes; a toothpick should come out clean.

Cool the cakes for 5 minutes on a wire rack, then invert them onto a plate and back onto the rack. Let the cakes cool completely before assembling.

[Once the cakes are cool, they can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days before assembling or frozen for 1-2 weeks – wrap each layer well in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil before refrigerating or freezing. Before assembling, let the cakes come to room temperature.]


JMO said...

This sounds great, the only question I have is how much vodka should you be using? I didn't see an amount but you mention it in the wet ingredients. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Now you have to share with us what you have layered between this yummy goodness!

roopa said...

Oops, I totally left the vodka out of the ingredients list. It's in there now. Thanks for pointing that out!

K8teebug said...

You said moist.

Meghan said...


also... i love that you used vodka... I use it now in all my pie crusts!

Lucky said...

greeting from b'more!

i keep coming back to this picture! it *looks* so perfectly moist - i have to make it very soon. waiting for your next creation!

Sara said...

I was wondering if instead of using lemon curd I could add some lemon extract or juice & fine zest to the batter to give it a light lemon flavor, then use a raspberry spread in between the layers? Any suggestions for amounts?

roopa said...

Sara - Definitely! I would suggest using lemon zest and some juice - for a three layer cake, I would say maybe a tablespoon of zest and a tablespoon or two of fresh juice. As for the jam, I would say maybe 2/3 cup or so between each layer? I never really measure out cup amounts for fillings, I just use what looks right - you'll know if it's too little or too much!

Anu141 said...

GREAT recipie!! I am a novice baker so can you clarify- if I wanted to take from Sara's idea can you just verify if I need to simply ADD the lemon juice & zest as part of the wet ingredients or should I be SUBSTITUTING the lemon juice for some other liquid?
Also if I was looking to make only 1 or 2 white cakes as opposed to 3 can I just divide the quantity of the ingredients accordingly? i.e 1/3 of qty for just 1 white cake or 2/3rds for 2?

Anonymous said...

I'm so excited about your blog just made the vanilla cupcakes last night and after trying 25 or so different recipes they were by FAR the best. Can you tell me why you use vodka in this recipe? Good thing I always have it around.

roopa said...

Anon - So happy to hear that you're a fan of the vanilla cupcake recipe!

I wrote up a long explanation of why there's alcohol in my white cake - you can find it here.

Anonymous said...

what exactly is used between the cake layers?

roopa said...

The photo shows lemon curd and fresh raspberries, but you can use any filling or frosting with this cake.

santanic said...

I love your blog.i made this cake for my son birthday and it came out so delicious with a hint of's my go to white cake and it's so easy to make.
Thanks for sharing.

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