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A slice of white velvet cake on a white plate, with a silver fork..

White Velvet Cake

Heather Smoke
Velvety, soft and fluffy white cake, flavored with real vanilla bean, frosted with silky vanilla buttercream.
5 from 13 votes
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 15


  • Stand Mixer



  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (or 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste)
  • 6 egg whites, room temperature
  • 3 ¼ cups cake flour, spooned and leveled, then sifted
  • 3 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp coarse Kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)
  • 2 ½ cups whole buttermilk, room temperature


  • 2 cups unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp meringue powder (optional)
  • tsp coarse Kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 2-4 tbsp milk or cream, if needed



  • Preheat the oven to 350 F, and spray the bottoms of three 8-inch cake pans with non-stick spray.
  • In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla bean on medium speed for 10 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally.
  • Beat in the egg whites, one at a time, beating each for 10 seconds before adding the next. Scrape the bowl down and beat for 10 more seconds.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour. Use a spatula to scrape the bowl well and incorporate any stray bits of flour.
  • Divide the batter between the pans. Bake on the center oven rack for about 25-30 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean.
  • Set the pans on a wire rack, cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel, and cool completely before frosting.


  • In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute until smooth.
  • With the mixer on low, add the powdered sugar, meringue powder and salt and mix until combined.
  • Add the vanilla and milk, increase the speed to medium high and whip for 4-5 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally, until very light and fluffy.
  • Remove the cooled cakes from the pans. Fill, stack and frost the cake with the buttercream.


  • Leftover cake should be stored in an airtight container or cake carrier for up to 3 days.
  • If you don't have three 8-inch pans, you'll either need to bake part of the batter at a time, or use two 9-inch pans instead.  This is too much cake batter to only use two 8-inch pans.
Sea Level Ingredient Adjustments (tested by a baker in Ohio):
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 egg whites, room temperature
  • 2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 1/4 cups cake flour (if using all-purpose, remove 6 T of flour; add 6 T of cornstarch)
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Cake Ingredients by Weight:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter = 8 oz / 227 g
  • 2 cups granulated sugar = 15 oz / 425 g
  • 6 large egg whites = 6.6 oz / 190 g
  • 3 1/4 cups cake flour = 13 oz / 368 g
  • 3 1/2 tsp baking powder = 13 g
  • 2 1/2 cups buttermilk = 20 oz / 567 g
Keyword Cake, High Altitude, White Velvet