Almost Perfect White Cake | The Pickled Ginger

Almost Perfect White Cake

by Colleen Elizabeth    

Recipe time!  I’ve got cake on the brain, can you tell?  In fact, I think it would not be a stretch to say that I am smitten with it – obsessed.  My nearest and dearest know this and hence, I’ve been the go‑to when it comes to making cakes for their events, including a wedding cake for a dear friend next month.

I feel like I’ve conquered the yellow butter cake, the chocolate cake and even the spice cake, but curse that perfect moist and fluffy from-scratch white cake!  It has been the bane of my baking career!  No exaggeration, I’ve pored over hundreds of recipes, tried dozens and tweaked dozens more.  But I’m close; so, so close!

Following is my almost-perfect fluffy, moist white cake, almost perfect for weddings and so almost perfect that it doesn’t even need frosting.  Let’s get baking!


  • 3 cups (340 grams) of cake flour (unlike all purpose flour, the very low gluten content of cake flour allows it to be beaten without activating the protein and becoming tough and dense, so for almost perfect results, please use cake flour)
  • 2 1/3 cups (470 grams) of sugar
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt (I’m not a big fan of table salt due to the silica, so I used very fine granulated pink Himalayan)
  • 5 large egg whites (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup of whole milk (room temperature)
  • 1 tablespoon of any clear flavoring (almond is the classic wedding flavor, but vanilla, coconut, lemon or any flavoring of your choice will do.  I actually used vanilla bean paste, which is definitely not white and full of gorgeous flecks of vanilla bean and it did not compromise the white color of the cake at all.  Like I said – almost perfect!)
  • 1 cup (226 grams) of unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 cup (8 fluid ounces) unsweetened coconut milk (comes in a can, shake up very well prior to opening and measuring.  Coconut milk is very rich and fatty and as it is nearly flavorless, can be easily disguised with your flavor extracts)

To bake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease/butter and flour two 8 or 9-inch cake pans and line bottom with parchment paper.
  3. Place egg whites, whole milk and flavoring extract in bowl and whisk together.
  4. In separate bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  I highly suggest using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.
  5. Add coconut milk and butter and combine slowly to avoid a mess.  Then scrape sides of bowl down with spatula, turn mixer to medium and beat mixture 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
  6. Add egg/milk/flavor mixture in three additions to the batter in mixer bowl and mix on low after each addition just until well incorporated.  (You don’t want to over-mix the eggs, as it will make your final cake tough and dense).
  7. Divide your batter into your prepared pans and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the top comes out clean.
  8. Cool in your baking pans for 10 minutes; then transfer to baking rake and cool completely.

What you do with the cake after that is up to you but try it without frosting.  I think you will be impressed!

But what makes this almost perfect?  While light and fluffy with the right amount of moisture, I’m not sure it can really hold up under copious amounts of butter cream or fondant and stacked as so many celebration cakes are.  I’m going to continue to experiment until I find a sturdier recipe, the PERFECT white cake recipe, and then I will be back to share with you.  Happy baking!

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