The Classic White Layer Cake recipe

The Classic White Layer Cake recipe sounds intimidating, but it is easier than you think. It only requires everyday, basic ingredients like sugar, butter, flour, eggs, vanilla, baking powder and milk. Once baked, this popular cake needs some buttercream frosting, and this might be a tricky process as each cake needs to remain sturdy and then added to its other half. This creamy and classic icing is made from butter and can be used for decorative touches, fillings, and the outer icing coat.

The Classic White Layer Cake is popular with both adults and children alike. Kids go crazy with the icing while adults enjoy a medium thin slice of cake to celebrate an anniversary, a family reunion, a friend’s birthday, or an elegant wedding. No matter what the reason is, a slice of this favorite dessert is a good reason for a small indulgence with no guilt!

Do you want to learn how to make the Classic White Layer Cake recipe? Let’s get started!

FAQs -All you need to know about Layer Cake

What is a Layer Cake?

The home cook’s dessert show piece: the Layer Cake consists of two or more sponge, pound or butter cake rounds with icing, jelly, or cream between the layers. Cake is described as a sweet food, most often baked, that usually contains flour, sugar, eggs, and butter or another fat. In American English, a cake is large or small, filled, or unfilled, made from a sweet batter, whether light or dense. Cakes come in various shapes, sizes and flavors and are often leavened with baking powder or baking soda. In United Kingdom, a cake is similar to a pound cake or to a fruitcake. For the record, cakes existed in the Ancient World; they were made from bread dough and sweetened with honey.

Where did the Layer Cake originate from?

The Layer Cake is believed to have originated in the mid-nineteenth century when the baking powder and baking soda ushered in an era of American cake making creativity. The predecessors of the Layer Cake are thought to have first been described in cookbooks in seventeenth-century France and eighteenth-century England with recipes of the mille-feuille, puff pastry with jelly or cream between the layers. Jelly Cakes were first appeared in the 1830 book of Eliza Leslie’s Seventy-five Receipts for Pastries, Cakes, and Sweetmeats. Eventually, an icing of egg whites and sugar replaced jelly between the layers of white butter cake.

When did the term Layer Cake first appear in a cookbook?

According to the Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets, one of the earliest uses of the term “layer cake” was in a section header in an 1873 Ohio community cookbook, the Presbyterian Cook Book. Previously, recipes for layer cakes had appeared under names such as Jelly Cake or Ribbon Cake. Later on, in 1907, May Elizabeth Southworth published One Hundred & One Layer Cakes.

What’s the English version of the Layer Cake?

In the United Kingdom, the Layer Cake is called Sponge Sandwich (Cake). The batter contains the same ingredients as the Layer Cake including sugar, flour, eggs, butter, milk, and baking powder. The Sponge Sandwich does not have any outer frosting, only a filling in the middle, commonly made with sugar and double or heavy cream and often contains fruit jam like raspberry or strawberry.

What is the Victoria Sponge, or Victoria Sandwich?

The Victoria Sponge, or Victoria Sandwich, is named for Queen Victoria, who ruled Great Britain from 1837-1901. Her Majesty was reportedly a fan of this Victoria Sandwich recipe, which first appeared in Mrs. Beeton’s 1861 Book of Household Management. It is made with the same ingredients as the current Classic Sponge Sandwich but for a Victoria Sandwich, the flour should be equal in weight to the eggs, sugar, and butter used. It is described as a two-layer cake, made of two sponge cakes, with jelly in the middle.
The Classic Sponge Sandwich is a modernized version of the Victoria Sandwich.

🕐How to make the Classic White Layer Cake recipe

  1. Prepare two 8-inch round cake pans by spraying with non-stick cooking spray and lining the bottom with a parchment paper round
  2. Mix cream butter, shortening and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add in the egg whites and vanilla and mix until smooth
  3. In a separate large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix to combine. Add in the milk and continue mixing until smooth
  4. Divide the cake batter evenly between the prepared baking pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
A bowl with a mix of butters, eggs, sugar and vanilla
Keep adding ingredients and mixing!
A cup of milk added to the dough in a mixing bowl
Adding the milk
A bowl filled with batter and a hand held mixer
Mixing the batter

🧈How to make the Buttercream Frosting

  1. Cream the butter in a large mixing bowl with a hand-mixer until perfectly smooth
  2. Sift in the powdered sugar and continue mixing until smooth
  3. Add the vanilla and mix to combine
  4. Slowly add in the milk, one tablespoon at a time, while mixing until reaching the desired consistency.
It is a bowl with butter and sugar mixed and a teaspoon of vanilla next to the handheld mixer
Buttercream Frosting 2
This is a bowl with a mix and milk added.
Buttercream Frosting 3

🍰How to frost the Classic White Layer Cake

  1. To frost the cake, first level the top of each cake layer by carefully slicing the rounded portion of the cake off.  Put the leveled side down on a cake plate. Add a thin layer of the Buttercream Frosting to the exposed top side
  2. Add the second cake layer, again with the leveled top side down. Add the remaining frosting to the top of the cake, slowly working it around from the middle of the cake top to the edges. Scrape some of the frosting over the edges and apply a thin layer of frosting to the sides of the cake.

  1. Can I store the Layer Cake?

    1. Building a layer cake can be a daunting task, so you break it up over the course of a few days, especially if your Layer Cake has more than three layers

    2. Keep your cakes at room temperature long enough so they can cool down after baking. You can do the frosting immediately after the cakes have cooled down. If you decide to store cake layers at room temperature, make sure they are covered in plastic wrap and used within 1-2 days

    3. You can also store your cakes in the fridge. Cover cakes with plastic wrap and place them in the fridge. They will stay fresh in the fridge for 3-5 days. Once in the fridge, cake layers are cold and sturdier so easier to frost.

Enjoy the recipe below. Tell us what you think in the comments and rate it too! Follow us on Pinterest here

The Classic White Layer Cake recipe
Get a fork!

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This is an image of a piece of the Classic White Layer Cake with a small bite on the fork. It is also shown a bottle of milk and the cake at the back

The Classic White Layer Cake recipe

wedesserts
This is a recipe for the popular and classic white layer cake
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 slices
Calories 413 kcal

Equipment

  • hand mixer
  • 8-inch round cake pans 2 pans
  • cake leveler optional

Ingredients
 
 

White Cake

  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 8 large egg whites room temperature
  • ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Buttercream Frosting

  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup whole milk

Instructions
 

  • To make the White Layer Cake
  • Place top oven rack in center position and pre-heat oven to 350°F. Prepare two 8-inch round cake pans by spraying with non-stick cooking spray and lining the bottom with a parchment paper round. Set aside.
  • Cream butter, shortening and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
    There is a bowl with butter, shortening and sugar
  • Add in the egg whites and vanilla, and mix until smooth.
    A bowl with a mix of butters, eggs, sugar and vanilla
  • In a separate large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix to combine.
    Mixing the batter in a bowl with a handheld mixer
  • Add in the milk and continue mixing until smooth.
    A cup of milk added to the dough in a mixing bowl
  • Divide the cake batter evenly between the prepared baking pans and place in the pre-heated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
    Batter pouring in a prepared baking pan with a parchment paper
  • To frost the cake, first level the top of each cake layer by carefully slicing the rounded portion of the cake off. (A cake leveler works great for this). Put the leveled side down on a cake plate. Add a thin layer of the Buttercream Frosting to the exposed top side.
  • Add the second cake layer, again with the leveled top side down. Add the remaining frosting to the top of the cake, slowly working it around from the middle of the cake top to the edges. Scrape some of the frosting over the edges and apply a thin layer of frosting to the sides of the cake.
  • Slice and serve immediately. Enjoy!
    The Classic White Layer Cake recipe
  • To make the Buttercream Frosting
  • Cream the butter in a large mixing bowl with a hand-mixer until perfectly smooth.
  • Sift in the powdered sugar and continue mixing until smooth.
    A bowl with butter, and sugar in sifter with a handheld mixer
  • Add the vanilla and mix to combine.
    It is a bowl with butter and sugar mixed and a teaspoon of vanilla next to the handheld mixer to make the Buttermilk Frosting
  • Slowly add in the milk, one tablespoon at a time, while mixing until reaching the desired consistency.
    This is a bowl with a mix and milk added. What is Buttermilk Frosting

Notes

  • A thin layer of frosting on the sides of the cake offers a trendy modern look to the decorated cake. If you’d like a thicker frosting on the sides, increase the frosting recipe by one half.
  • You can also top the cake with berries for a gorgeous presentation.

Nutrition

Serving: 12slicesCalories: 413kcalCarbohydrates: 59gProtein: 6gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 199mgPotassium: 98mgFiber: 1gSugar: 35gVitamin A: 269IUCalcium: 91mgIron: 2mg
Keyword classic white cake, classic white layer cake, white cake
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5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)