This sweet, tight crumb Perfect White Birthday Cake will rival any bakery cake! It’s the most delicious layer cake I’ve made in years!

With a fine crumb, sweet and tender texture and a lovely vanilla bean buttercream, this white layer cake is perfect for birthdays, dinner parties or any celebration!

White Birthday Cake slice on a white plate with a red handle fork

The Perfect White Birthday Cake Recipe

Bill’s birthday was two days after Easter, so despite the half-eaten Tunnel of Mousse Cake in the fridge, he expected a birthday cake. A new birthday cake, not the Easter leftovers with candles. His first suggestion was white cake with white icing, knowing that the picky daughter (wonder where she picked up that trait??) would enjoy it, too.

I headed to the blog of my friend, Amanda, knowing the cake baker extraordinaire of I am Baker fame, would have an exquisite white cake recipe. And that it was. This Confetti Cake is another wonderful celebratory cake!

White Birthday Cake topped with white chocolate curls on a cake stand

Tips for Making an Exquisite White Layer Cake

This basic recipe is from Cook’s Illustrated, and I followed Amanda’s explicit instructions and a truly heavenly cake was the result. Frosted with a vanilla bean buttercream, I must say this rivals any chocolate number I’ve made of late.

  • As with all recipes, read through the details once or twice before starting. Double check that you have all the ingredients, and any ingredients that need to be brought out of the refrigerator can be set on the counter.
  • In this recipe, the egg whites, milk and butter need to be at room temperature. Note that eggs separate best when they are cold, and less fragile, but beat best when at room temperature. The whites are not whipped separately in this recipe, but will incorporate best when not chilled.
  • Alternating wet and dry ingredients allows the fats to envelop the flour, which contains gluten. Gluten is what you want to encourage in bread recipes to give structure, but discourage when you want a tender crumb, like in this cake.
  • Note that you don’t need to beat the cake batter for a long period of time. Too much beating will make a lighter, air-filled batter that won’t have the perfect crumb.
  • I like to weigh out equal amounts of batter for each cake pan. That way, the layers will be the same size and bake up in the same amount of time.
  • Use a toothpick to check if your cakes are done. All ovens bake a little differently, so baking times are just a guideline. The toothpick should come out clean when the cake is fully baked.

The crumb was perfect and that leftover chocolate mousse cake was ignored (and it was darned tasty, too). The birthday boy got his wish. And Miss Katie was on cloud nine, too. This White Birthday Cake was a huge hit. From now on, this will be my go-to white cake recipe.

White birthday cake slice on a white plate over a floral napkin

More Recipes You’ll Love:

The Best Yellow Birthday Cake with Chocolate Icing from Noble Pig is another classic birthday cake, but you might want to veer from the expected and try this Momofuku Birthday Cake from Brown Eyed Baker. Or for a fun alternative and bake up some Birthday Cake Mix Cookies from Crunchy Creamy Sweet.

My family loves this Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake and for MY birthday, I’d be thrilled with this Italian Cream Cake

For more fabulous cake recipes, check out my Delicious Cakes and Cupcakes Pinterest Board and the Cake Tab of my Recipe Index.White Birthday Cake | An exquisite white cake with vanilla bean buttercream


White Birthday Cake

White Birthday Cake

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Yield 12 servings

This sweet, tight crumb Perfect White Birthday Cake will rival any bakery cake!


For cake:

  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 6 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, at room temperature but still cool

For Buttercream:

  • 1 1/4 cups butter (2 1/2 sticks), at room temperature
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar (10 ounces)
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 8-inch cake pans.
  2. Make sure milk and eggs are room temperature.
  3. Pour milk, egg whites, and extracts into medium bowl and whisk to combine.
  4. Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of electric mixer at slow speed. Add butter, cut into small pieces and beat for a couple more minutes.
  5. Add half of the milk mixture to flour mixture and beat at medium speed for a couple minutes. Add remaining milk mixture and beat for about 1 minute.
  6. Pour batter evenly between two prepared cake pans.
  7. Bake until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 27 to 30 minutes.
  8. Allow cake to cool to room temperature.
  9. To make buttercream, beat the butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds using a standing mixer with the whisk attachment. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into butter and beat mixture at medium-high speed to combine, about 15 seconds.
  10. Add powdered sugar and salt; beat at medium speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about a minute. Scrape down the bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully incorporated, less than a minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add vanilla and heavy cream, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl at least once at the halfway mark.
  11. Frost cooled cakes.


Recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 598Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 86mgSodium: 589mgCarbohydrates: 74gFiber: 0gSugar: 52gProtein: 5g


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