Basic White Cake

white_cake_layer_2_no_date_4It’s basic, so I didn’t do a photo that was all pretty. Everyone needs a basic white cake because from it you can do just about anything.

You can of course add other flavorings to it, or you can add color at the drop of a drip of food coloring.

But mostly, you can fill it with anything. Puddings, creams, jams, fresh fruit, and just any frosting that you can conceive of.

Think of it this way. Make this basic cake and spend all your time doing something fabulous with the inside or outside to make it simply fantastic.

Better yet, this cake works equally well as a layer as portrayed here or in a 9 x 13 baking dish which really makes it super easy. Slather on some basic powdered sugar frosting and you are good to go in a very short time, making this an easily transportable pot luck dessert.

So ditch the awful boxed crap and take a few extra moments to make a real cake. You won’t be disappointed.


  • 2 1/4 c cake flour (take out 2 tbsp of flour and add 2 tbsp cornstarch for each cup if using regular flour)
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c shortening
  • 1 c milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 egg whites


  1. Grease cake pans or baking dish and then flour. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. Place the flour in a mixer and add everything else except the egg whites. Beat until well mixed, about 2 minutes.
  4. Using a clean bowl, place the egg whites in the bowl and beat until stiff peaks are achieved.
  5. Place about 1/3 of the egg whites into the cake batter and fold in gently. Then add the rest, folding until no obvious white clumps remain.
  6. Pour into the pan or pans, and bake for 35-40 minutes, for the 9 x 13, or 30-35 minutes for the cake pans.
  7. Cool for about 15 minutes and then invert out onto racks to cool completely. If using the a baking dish, sit on a rack and cool completely.

SERVES: 8 generously

NOTES: This recipe is from All Recipes. The conversion to cake flour from regular flour is on the Tips page.


2 thoughts on “Basic White Cake

  1. Thanks. Looks like my grandmother’s recipe. Your recipes are so well written, easy to understand. I have two questions about this cake:

    1. You say ‘shortening.’ Could all butter be used, or would that make a denser cake.

    2. I usually add 1/4 tsp. Cream of Tartar to egg whites in any recipe calling for them. What do you think about this?

    • I think the butter would make it denser, more like a pound cake and butter has water in it so chemically, I don’t know how that would affect it. I use vegetable shortening in my biscuits too. They claim to be more tender. One has to be a chemist to really understand this stuff. I don’t the use of butter would harm things certainly and if you are averse to using shortening, by all means try it. As to the cream of tartar, I use it too, but I’m not sure why. If it’s a stabilizer, then it won’t help and might harm the cake. Again, only a chemist would know. I know I use it for frostings and so forth. But the recipe didn’t call for it. I’m a bit hesitant about giving too much advice since I am not a great baker by any means, and I also moved to 5000 ft, and am still sorting out my issues with baking powder and soda, so I just give the recipe that works at sea level an make my own adjustments. I know this doesn’t help much, but lol… !END

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