White-on-White Buttermilk Cake

  • Serves: Makes three, 9 x 2-inch cake layers
  • Baking Temp (degrees F): 350
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  • Comments: 24

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One of my favorite almost-white cakes, this tangy and very moist cakes bakes into flat layers, making it a perfect layer cake to frost. It bakes into thin layers, about an inch high each, because of the use of three pans, but is necessary because it is a delicate cake and wouldn't bake right if baked in two.

3 cups bleached cake flour; spoon into measuring cup and level to rim
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter; can use cold from the refrigerator
2 1/3 cups sugar
3 large egg whites; can use cold from the refrigerator
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups buttermilk, well shaken; can use cold from the refrigerator

1. Place one baking rack one-third from bottom of oven and second two-thirds from bottom of oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line three 9 x 2-inch greased pans with greased parchment paper.

2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl, and combine. Set aside.


3. Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, on low until softened. Add the sugar in a steady stream at the side of the bowl. Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes until light yellow and fluffy. Stop the mixer and scrape the side and bottom of the bowl with a large rubber spatula.


4. With the mixer on low, add egg whites and vanilla. Increase the mixer speed to medium, and beat for one minute until light and fluffy.



5. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in 3 equal portions, alternating with the buttermilk in 2 equal portions, beginning and ending with the flour. Add the flour and liquid ingredients in increments quickly; do not wait in between additions too long as you don't want to overmix the batter.bdaycake9_kelly


6. After completing the last addition of flour, stop the mixer, and scrape the side and bottom of the bowl with a large rubber spatula. Then, let the mixer run for 30 seconds on LOW. STOP the mixer. Do NOT overmix. Remove the bowl. With a large rubber spatula, give the batter ONE or TWO quick folds to incorporate any stray flour or milk left at the sides and bottom of the bowl. Then, STOP!



7. Divide the batter in the prepared baking pans (should fill each 1/2 full) and lightly smooth the tops. 


7. Stagger layers in the oven so that no layer is directly on top of the other.

Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, checking each layer. When done, the top should feel firm and give slightly when touched and will shrink slightly from the side of the pan. The cake will be slightly browned. If you insert a toothpick in the middle and remove, there should be a few moist crumbs attached, but not batter.

8. When each layer is done, remove to cool on a wire rack in its pan for 10 to 15 minutes and then unmold onto wire cake racks to cool thoroughly. Be careful, the cakes are delicate when warm.

The cake layers store nicely. They can be stored at room temperature for about 3 or more days. The cake layers freeze well for about a month or more. Keep well wrapped.

Recipe is heavily adapted this from The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather.

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