Delicious white cake with white buttercream icing. Tastes like an old-fashioned white wedding cake. Simple enough for beginners.
My friends and family think this one tastes just like a traditional white wedding cake with a simple white buttercream. This is by far the most requested dessert at my house.
Yes, this one starts with a box mix. Generally, when I am baking I am totally cooking from scratch.
But this way is the only way I have been able to get even remotely close to the old-fashioned traditional kind that came from a bakery eons ago.
Starting with a cake mix has a larger margin for error.
I strongly suggest testing this recipe several times in the pans you plan to use for any formal purposes. Practice will prevent any last-minute surprises when stress levels are already high.
I also suggest starting a week or so in advance and freezing the cakes prior to the event.
It may take longer to bake multiple layers than you anticipate.
Not Just for Weddings
This recipe can also be used as a birthday cake, anniversary cake, or anytime you just want an easy dessert.
Color it red and blue for Fourth of July, pink for a princess, blue for a gender reveal cake, you can do just about anything with coloring you choose.
The cake portion of this recipe is used as a base for our Cream of Coconut Cake because it holds up well and absorbs the creams.
The recipe base has been around on the internet for quite some time now, WASC Cake, white almond sour cream cake.
There is some debate out there about who had the first one and which one is best. One poster swears it was hers first, and then someone else swears the other poster was first. Either way, the debate, and differences can be seen here. I use the white almond sour cream cake version with a few changes.
The texture of this cake will not be the same as if you had baked a cake using the manufacturer’s directions. It will have a tighter crumb and perhaps seems denser.
It can be sliced into thin slices without it crumbling and falling apart before it can be moved to a plate. This one is not overly fluffy.
Cake Pan Sizes
After doing some serious research I have found that the most common pan sizes for layered cakes are 6″, 8″, and 10″.
You’ll want 3 inch deep pans for a filling layer in the middle of each layer. 2″ deep pans will work if you do not want to slice and fill each layer.
Wilton makes an entire set of pans for a very small tiered cake.
These are 2″ deep pans in 4″. 6″, and 8″ round pans and would be perfect for practicing your skills at layering and decorating cakes.
If this is the route you want to try, then you should only need to make one recipe for this cake, as the package says it only needs one cake mix.
They make a different set that is 3″ deep and comes with 6″ round, 8″ round, and 10″ round pans.
These are the size you would want for filled layers, as they need to be tall enough to split.
Batter Amount for Common Pan Sizes
This recipe makes 6 1/2 to 7 cups of batter. The amount will differ based on which brand used and how much air thas been whipped into the batter.
The amount of batter needed for these 3″ deep pans are:
6″ = 3 cups batter
8″ = 5 cups of batter
10″ = 8 cups of batter
You will need to triple the cake batter recipe to use all 3 of layers for a tiered cake. You will need at least 1 1/2 times the amount of icing listed in the recipe. Remember, you will want to crumb coat it first.
I use a lower temperature.
This cake is truly baked at 325ºF, it is not a mistake in the recipe. It cooks slowly and prevents the cake from getting a huge dome in the middle.
I usually use a 9 X 13 pan because I’m just making it for my family or friends or carrying it to a potluck.
9 X 13 Pan
I start checking this white cake after around 35 minutes if I can’t smell it yet. It will start to lightly brown on the top about 10 minutes before it is done.
If it takes a little longer that’s OK. Keep reading for some recommended baking times different pan sizes.
Different days require different baking times for me, even using the same pan I always use and a calibrated oven.
I start checking the cakes for doneness as soon as I can smell them or 35 minutes into baking a 9 X 13, whichever comes first.
Once a toothpick inserted into the very center of a cake comes back clean or with a few crumbs, I know it is time to take it out of the oven.
The baking times for these pans will all be approximate, as weather, actual oven temperatures and the exact amount of batter in each pan. I would leave the baking temperature at 325 Degrees F.
Stacked and Layered Pans
6″ = 35 to 40 minutes, test for doneness and add time in 5 minutes increments until a toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into the middle comes back clean.
8″ = 55 to 60 minutes, testing for doneness as above.
10″ = 65 to 75 minutes, testing for doneness as above.
Allow all cakes to cool completely before attempting to split or ice. By completely, I mean leave them alone on a wire cooling rack for at least 2 hours!
This will make about 36 cupcakes. Also baked at 325 Degrees F. But only 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
There are also buttercream recipes all over the internet and I have tried to make several.
In the end, I wind up going back to my own way, which was inspired by so many I would need a whole post devoted just to the icing recipes I have tried in my 35 years of baking.
This makes a lot of frosting, more than you would need for a 9 X 13 pan. But if you choose to layer this cake, you will appreciate having extra.
Freeze the leftovers for another use or do like I do, use the icing to coat the cut edges of the cake. One, it will keep the cut cake sides from drying out, and two it makes more corner like pieces, you know, the ones you wanted as a kid because it had more icing.
Butter flavoring is added to the icing for extra butter flavoring. This can be omitted, but it will not be the same flavor as an icing that uses all butter.
I do not recommend all butter icing because it will melt in warm environments.
If making the buttercream icing for an outdoor event, I would recommend using all shortening and another teaspoon of butter extract.
I find that using my stand mixer makes a smoother icing than a handheld mixer. It also reduces the amount of time I need to beat the icing to get it as fluffy as I want.
If you are making a lot of cake layers, you may need to make several batches of icing. You can double this recipe using a 6 or 7-quart stand mixer, but any more than doubled and the icing will overflow the bowl.
The Cake Mix
My favorite cake mix used to be Pillsbury Traditional Vanilla Cake has become hard to locate. I can’t even source it on Amazon anymore.
Honestly, the cheaper the cake mix the better the cake will turn out.
Lately, I have been buying Duncan Hines Classic White Cake Mix. It has been readily available at the store and it has been the cheapest of the white or vanilla cake mixes that do not say moist or contain pudding.
If I cannot find either of these cake mixes, I have used generic cake mixes that say “moist” on the box. Those seem to take a bit more time in the oven. but the taste will be the same.
Tips for Decorating
You can split the layers with a long serrated knife, like a bread knife, but I find that it is easier to split with a cake leveler.
A cake leveler can cut a cake up to 10″ wide. It is also good for taking off any crowns that formed during baking.
After you crumb coat the cake layers, place them into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes to firm up the icing. Then ice the cakes.
The easiest way to get smooth sides and tops is to use a tool designed for icing cakes.
I use an offset spatula, icing smoother, and even have a wide drywall taping tool I use.
The taping tool is high enough that it allows me to get the entire side of the cake all at once.
A cake turntable makes it easier to get smooth sides. This tool is not necessary but sure makes the job easier.
Make a stiffer icing, by adding a few tablespoons of powdered sugar to some icing, mixing it on high, for piped borders and decorations.
Leftovers can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days. For best results, store in an airtight container.
Leftovers can be frozen.
I have better luck when freezing individual pieces. I freeze slices on a plate covered with parchment paper or plastic wrap. Once the slices are completely frozen I wrap them individually in plastic wrap and place them all into a plastic freezer bag.
To freeze an entire cake layer, place the entire layer in the freezer and allow it to freeze, then remove from the freezer and cover tightly with plastic wrap. If you plan to freeze this layer for a first wedding anniversary, wrap it in a double layer of plastic wrap before wrapping in foil.
When the cake is wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, wrap in a layer of aluminum foil and store in the coldest part of your freezer, usually a top shelf near the back.
To thaw cake slices or the entire layer, remove the cake from the freezer and remove all of the coverings. All to thaw completely in the refrigerator or at room temperature before slicing.
Chocolate Wedding Cake or Groom’s Cake
After many requests, we have spent some time experimenting with a chocolate version of our cake.
Just like with the white wedding cake recipe, we have found that we get a sturdier cake suitable for stacking when starting with a boxed mix.
There are enough differences in the ingredients it has its own recipe. That recipe is now available in our Chocolate Wedding Cake post.
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White Wedding Cake
- Cake Pans
- Preheat an oven to 325°F.
- Spray a 9 X 13 baking pan with baking spray. Set aside.
- Place cake mix, flour, and sugar into the bowl of stand mixer. Mix just until combined.
- Add water, yogurt, egg whites, oil, and extracts.
- Mix on low speed until combined.
- Turn mixer to medium speed and mix for 2 minutes.
- Pour into the prepared pan(s) and place in preheated 325°F oven.
- Set timer for 35 minutes. If you begin to smell the cake before the timer goes off, check the cake by sticking a toothpick in the center. If it comes out clean or with just a few crumbs but no wet batter, the cake is done and it needs to be removed from the oven.
- Once the timer goes off, and you have not removed the cake already because it was done, check the cake for doneness by using the toothpick method.
- If the cake is not done after 35 minutes, continue cooking the cake and checking for doneness every 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how wet the toothpick was when testing the cake.
- When the cake is done, remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.
- Place butter and shortening in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Using the blade attachment, mix on medium-high for 5 minutes.
- Add powdered sugar 2 cups at a time and mix on slow until all sugar is incorporated.
- Mix milk, extracts, and salt in a small bowl.
- With mixer turned off, add milk mixture to icing.
- Turn mixer to slow and mix until incorporated.
- Turn mixer to high and allow to run for 5 minutes.
- Test icing for consistency. If you want a thinner icing, add milk 1 tablespoon at a time and mix for 1 minute.
- DO NOT add ingredients listed on the box mix.
- If using this pan for an important event, please do a test run with this recipe and cake pan sizes you intend to use before the big event.
- Cake recipe can be doubled for larger pans, adjust the baking time.
- 36 cupcakes can be made with this recipe. Reduce baking time to 18 to 20 minutes.
- This cake needs to be supported if stacking greater than 2 layers high.
- Icing recipe will easily cover a 2 layer 8-inch cake, amounts can be halved if the cake is being served in a 9 X 13 pan.
- Cook time listed does not include the cooling time between baking and icing.
- You will get 6 1/2 cups to 7 cups of batter when using this recipe as stated.
- Can be made in smaller round pans for layering, adjust the baking time. 6″ – 35 to 40 minutes, 8″ – 55 to 60 minutes, 10″ – 65 to 75 minutes.
- 6″ pans hold about 3 cups of batter, 8′ pans hold about 5 cups of batter, 10″ pans hold around 8 cups of batter. You may need to double this recipe and make multiple batches for large cakes.
- Use a baking nail placed in the center of the cake for pans 10″ and larger.