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White Buttermilk Cake

Published May 10th 2013 Updated December 16th 2023

This White Buttermilk Cake recipe is a classic that every baker should have in their recipe file. It can be adapted and frosted with your favorite frosting to celebrate birthdays, served for casual gatherings or any special occasion cake.

homemade-white-cake-recipe

Easy White Buttermilk Cake Recipe

When you set out to bake from scratch, it really shows the love doesn’t it? At times, I’ll develop recipes using a boxed mix so that bakers of all skill levels will feel confident baking. I think if someone has the right tools and fail proof recipe they can become confident baking from scratch, too. It does require more ingredients than a boxed mix but the love that goes into it, can’t be matched.

White Buttermilk Cake

What Makes a White Buttermilk Cake White?

Some white cake recipes call for solid vegetable shortening, in place of the butter. It will certainly work and make a creamy snow white batter, if you’re inclined to go that route. However, I have found that the butter doesn’t affect the color of the batter that dramatically and the flavor is so good that I don’t leave it out. It also gives that golden crust that makes it so mouthwatering. How to make a White Buttermilk Cake from scratch: (Scroll down for full printable recipe.)

  • Dry Ingredients – Use a whisk to sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Creamed Ingredients – Use a mixer to cream together softened butter, sugar, vanilla and almond flavorings. Beat for 3-5 minutes until creamy and pale yellow in color.
  • Egg Whites – To the creamed mixture add the egg whites. Beat on medium-high speed for 2 minutes until fluffy. 
  • Combine – Lower the speed of the mixer adding the sifted dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk. Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl periodically.
  • After all ingredients have been added, increase the mixer speed and beat for 30 seconds to 1 minute longer to fully incorporate.
  • Bake – Spread the batter evenly in a butter and floured 13 x 9 inch pan. Bake per the recipe until a toothpick inserted into the center comes back clean.
  • Cool completely then top with your favorite flavor of frosting.

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How to Make the BEST White Buttermilk Cake Recipe

  • Kitchen tools you’ll need to make homemade White Cake: Hand mixer or stand mixer, measuring cups and spoons, large bowl, medium bowl, whisk and 13 x 9 inch baking pan.
  • When making a White Cake to keep the batter white use egg whites and clear vanilla extract. A more profound effect on the color of the batter would be using egg yolks and regular vanilla. That would transform this into a different color and you’d lose the white cake.
  • You can frost this cake with any flavor of icing that you like and decorated to suit the occasion. It can be cut into shapes and made into petit fours, cut in half to make a square , or baked in round cake pans for a classic shape layer cake.
  • Frosting Suggestions – Whipped Chocolate Icing, Brown Sugar Buttercream, 7 Minute Frosting, Strawberry Icing, Vanilla Buttercream, Cream Cheese Frosting and beyond. You’re only limited by your imagination.
  • You can make cool and freeze this cake for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Depending on the icing White Buttermilk Cake can be stored chilled for up to 4 days.

More Cake Recipes to Make

best-ever-white-cake-recipe

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Helpful Kitchen Items:

White Buttermilk Cake

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time55 minutes
Course: Cakes, Dessert
Cuisine: American, Southern
Keyword: white-buttermilk-cake, white-cake-recipe
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 406kcal
Author: Melissa Sperka

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp clear vanilla extract
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups whole buttermilk

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 13 x 9 inch cake pan or spray with baking spray.
  • In a medium bowl use a whisk to sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together softened butter, sugar, vanilla and almond flavorings. Beat for 3-5 minutes until creamy and pale yellow in color.
  • Add the egg whites. Beat on medium-high speed for 2 minutes or just until fluffy. 
  • Lower the speed of the mixer and gradually add the sifted dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk. Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl periodically so all of the ingredients fully combine.
  • After all ingredients have been added, increase the mixer speed and beat for 30 seconds to 1 minute longer.
  • Use a large non stick spatula and scrape the batter from the bowl into the pan.
  • Bake for 35-38 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes back clean.
  • Cool in the pan for 30 minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Frost as desired.

Notes

Yield: 1 [13 x 9] inch sheet cake or 2 [8 or 9] inch rounds. Bake time 25-30 minutes for round pans.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 406kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 44mg | Sodium: 293mg | Potassium: 205mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 523IU | Calcium: 89mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @melissassk or tag #melissassk!

 

38 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’m not a seasoned baker at all. In fact, I was desperate for a cake recipe when I found this one. It’s absolutely foolproof, I’ve made it in every shape possible. I don’t change a thing about it, followed to a “T.” It’s my go to now, thanks Melissa!

    1. You can make this in two 8 inch rounds depending on depth. Otherwise, it’s not always an easy thing to cut back the ingredients when making a cake batter like this. Fill the pans 2/3 full and if you still have batter, bake it in a muffin pan or small loaf pan. The right pans, and that won’t be necessary.

  2. How many cupcakes do you think this recipe would yield? Looking for a go to vanilla cake and this one looks soooo good!!

  3. 5 stars
    Love this cake!! I was searching for a white cake that uses buttermilk because I can’t ever find a use for leftover buttermilk. Delicious! Will definitely be using for my husband’s birthday cake 🙂

  4. I love this cake have made it several times am planning on making it as a wedding cake this weekend. Can I double it for my larger pans?

    1. Yes you can. It sounds as if you’re an experienced baker so just make sure you adjust the baking time. I love this cake, I’m delighted you do, too.

  5. This is just an outstanding cake recipe. I add huckleberries and a streusel topping. It is one of my family’s favorites.

  6. GIRL, why is it I’m just stumbling upon this recipe in the last 3 years? I’m a baker…longing to find the perfect vanilla cake recipe (who knew it could be so hard), to use for cupcakes and sheet cakes. I found your recipe last night, made the sheet cake today, and voila! It’s perfect! The smell of butter permeated my kitchen as it baked, and I set aside a small bit of batter to put in a 6-inch round just to test it, and OMG, it was AMAZING! Used 5 other people in my house as test subjects and they all agreed it was the best cake I’d ever made! Thank you SO much for sharing this recipe. I now have a go-to recipe for vanilla cupcakes and cakes, from scratch, that I’m sure my clients will LOVE!
    P.S. Instead of using 6 egg whites, I used 3 whole large eggs and it’s still very light in color…like off-white 🙂
    I’m gonna try the batter in cupcake tins next time, and if they work, I’m a “shoe in”

    1. Hi Sharon, I’m so happy you loved this one, it’s my favorite buttermilk cake and I was happy to share it with you. Whole eggs are perfectly fine, if the color suits you go for it! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, and visit.

      1. Can’t click on here button. Need a recipe and how much to use pink food color for white buttermilk cake?

        Thanks,
        Kellie

      2. Please scroll to the bottom of the page for the full recipe. There’s no food coloring in the White Buttermilk Cake recipe.

      3. I just realized that I didn’t ask for frosting recipe. That’s why I asked about food coloring for frosting. I just wanted a frosting recipe. Sorry for misunderstanding.

        Thanks,
        Kellie

  7. I love to bake and look forward to making the Coconut Cream Cake for a gathering next weekend.
    However, WHOLE buttermilk is NO where to be found in my area. Only low-fat.
    What to do?
    Thank you

    1. The whole fat buttermilk gives it a richness in texture and flavor however, the recipe will work with low fat buttermilk, too.

    1. It would surely fill it, Tia. I haven’t made it in a jelly roll pan. A single recipe would work but, it would be thin.

  8. Hi Joy! It is a perfect cake for Mothers Day. Thank you and thanks so much for stopping by for a visit. Happy Mothers Day to you as well. ~ Melissa

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