Best White Cake Ever

A guest post today from Lindsey, who made this cake for a first birthday party (and some delightful little butterflies for the birthday girls).


White Butter Cake:

1 3/4 cups sifted cake flour*

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup granulated white sugar, divided

2 large eggs, separated

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup milk

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 – 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

2 1/2 cups confectioners’ (icing or powdered) sugar, sifted

zest of 1 lemon**

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in center of oven.  Grease and flour two – 8 inch round cake pans.   Line bottom of pan with parchment or waxed paper and grease and flour paper.  Set aside.

White Butter Cake: Separate egg yolks and whites, place in bowls and allow to come to room temperature (about 30 minutes).  In a mixing bowl sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

In bowl of electric mixer, beat the butter until soft.  Add 3/4 cup of the sugar and beat until light and fluffy.  Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.  With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.

In a clean bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until foamy.  Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form.  Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.  With a rubber spatula gently fold a little of the whites into the batter to lighten it, and then fold in the remaining whites until combined.  Do not over mix the batter or it will deflate.

Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and smooth the tops with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon.  Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 20 – 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  Do NOT overbake.  The tops may not be brown and they may look not quite done, but remove as soon as toothpick comes out clean.

Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert, lifting off the pan.  Once the cakes have completely cooled, wrap in plastic and place the cake layers in the freezer for at least an hour. (I put waxed paper on a plate, then wrap plastic wrap around it all, rather than try to handle the cake layer itself, and possibly break it.  (This is done to make filling and frosting the cakes easier.)

Cream Cheese Frosting: Cream the butter and cream cheese together until nice and smooth with no lumps.  Add the confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add the zest and vanilla extract and beat on high speed until the frosting is light and fluffy.

Makes one – 8 inch two layer cake (you can make 1 1/2 times the recipe for a 3-layer cake)

* Cake flour is essential if you want a lighter, fluffier cake.  All-purpose flour will make it much more dense (which is not bad either)
** You can add less than this.  I frosted my cake the night before, and the lemon intensified a bit overnight.  It was still delicious, but I would have preferred there to only be a hint of lemon, as is the initial flavor.  Do not skip the lemon if you can however, since it really takes the frosting from boring to awesome.


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