White Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

I’ve been searching for a go-to white cupcake recipe for a while now. I feel like any baker should have go-to recipes for a few classics. White cake, chocolate cake, brownies, pie crust, chocolate chip cookies, and sugar cookies are the ones I would like to have a go-to recipe for.

To have a go-to recipe is a huge deal. It means that no matter what other recipes you see of that type, you’re not even interested in trying them because you know that your recipe is awesome. It’s the recipe that you learn by heart and don’t even need to read because you’ve made it so many times. It’s the recipe that everyone loves and asks for when they taste it. It’s a recipe that people request over and over again even though they know you love to try new recipes and your to-bake list is a mile long.

The go-to recipe can make your life easy. But getting to a go-to recipe is not easy. Trying multiple recipes, making tweaks, having restless nights contemplating ingredients are all part of the process. At least that is what the process has been like for me. I’ve tried multiple white cake recipes and I’m still not completely sold. This one is great. I love the texture of this cake, but I really want a cupcake that will rise up a bit. I like domes on my cupcakes. Maybe I’m asking too much to have a delicate tender cake that also produces a dome on top. This will be my go-to-for-now white cupcake recipe until I can find one that has everything I’m looking for. But don’t let me give the wrong impression. These cupcakes are AMAZING! Everyone really enjoyed them.

I got this recipe from Bridget over at The Way the Cookie Crumbles. Have you seen her blog? It’s awesome. I love her photographs and her comparison posts! She inspired me to do a sugar cookie comparison post a couple years ago and I took her advice on the outcome of the red velvet cupcake comparison post with great results. So I’ve been wanting to try her white cake recipe. She combined the favorite parts of a couple recipes to make her own. How cool is that?

Note – this recipe calls for 6 egg whites. Bridget recommended actually separating out the eggs as opposed to using liquid egg whites. I made these the same day I made the lemon bars since those called for 7 egg yolks so it worked out perfectly for me. Another great idea is to make some creme brulee with the yolks!

One Year Ago: Sugar Cookie Bars (a go-to bar recipe for sure!)

Don’t forget about my giveaway. Be sure to enter by Midnight this Friday for your chance to win a Make-Ahead Meals Cookbook.

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White Cupcakes

These white cupcakes are perfectly tender and moist.

Yield: 24 cupcakes


1 cup + 2 Tbsp whole milk, at room temperature
6 large egg whites (3/4 cup), at room temperature
2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups + 2 Tbsp sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp table salt
12 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened but still cool

1 batch buttercream


Set oven rack in middle position. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Pour milk, egg whites, and extracts into 2-cup glass measure, and mix with fork until blended.

Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of electric mixer at slow speed. Add butter; continue beating at slow speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no powdery streaks remaining.

Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed (or high speed if using handheld mixer) for 1 1/2 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more. Stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium (or high) speed and beat 20 seconds longer.

Divide batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake until thin skewer or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 15-17 minutes. (If baking layer cakes, this recipe will make two 9-inch layers. Bake for 23-25 minutes).

Cool completely prior to frosting.

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20 Responses to “White Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream”

  1. #
    Bridget — April 8, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    Hm…domes…good for cupcakes, sorta annoying for layer cakes. 🙂

    I wonder if you bumped up the baking temperature a bit, if the cupcakes would have a more dramatic rise? Obviously you’d need to reduce the baking time…but you knew that. 😉

    It doesn’t look like any of the white cakes I’ve made in cupcake form have had a nicely domed top, but Dorie’s Perfect Party Cake was the most rounded. It’s a great tasting cake too.

  2. #
    Joanne — April 8, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    Go-tos are ALWAYS good to find. I’m going to have to try these because I am still on the lookout for a go-to white cake. They look awesome!

  3. #
    whisk-kid — April 8, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    These look awesome! I understand your desire for that perfect dome, though.

    I’m happy to have one for chocolate cake, but I wish I had more go-tos! I think part of my problem is that I rarely repeat things. I just keep trekking down that endless “to bake” list of mine… Haha

  4. #
    Heidi — April 8, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    Oh my word! You sound like me talking about “go to” recipes. That is my quest in life…well, in baking anyway. AND white cake is one that I have NOT found a “go to” recipe for and believe me, I have been searching for years. Literally. I also came across Bridgette’s blog where she did the white cake comparisons and I forget which one I chose to make, but I did not care for the results at all. Sigh. I was disappointed because I was certain that I would no longer have to search. I’m still at it. I also agree with you on the dome part. I definitely want my cupcakes to have a dome on them and if they don’t, I consider them a failure – no matter how good they taste. I’m kind of obsessed with the whole doming aspect.

    Well, it looks like you have possibly found your “go to” white cake recipe. I guess I will keep searching. Your look amazing. Seriously – I feel like reaching through my computer screen and eating that cupcake that you have cut in half. Yummy!

    Good post! Thanks for sharing.

  5. #
    Valen — April 9, 2010 at 1:09 am

    These are beautiful! I also like domed cupcakes, but it never works out that way.

  6. #
    Memória — April 9, 2010 at 3:17 am

    This recipe is my go-to for white cake, too!! I’m so happy to see someone else post about it.

  7. #
    Alaskan Dermish in the Kitch — April 9, 2010 at 7:36 am

    I love the crumb on those!

    You might try starting your cupcakes at about 25 degrees more than usual, then when they just start to doom, reduce the temp back down. This has worked for me when I have had a flat top type batter.

  8. #
    Nessa — August 17, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    I have always had a similar problem so I thought i would do some searching and came upon this comment…


    Give it a try and let us know if it works!


  9. #
    steph — August 23, 2010 at 2:28 am

    i found it, this is my go to white cupcake recipe. even tho they dont rise like i would like i have been searching and searching for months for a white base cupcake. i took this recipe and made from it a chai cupcake with cardamom whipped cream frosting. it was amazing!!!! now am trying a peaches and cream cupcake, am a little concerned, it was very wet. we will see may need to cut some of the milk. thanks!!!!!!

  10. #
    steph — August 23, 2010 at 2:28 am

    i found it, this is my go to white cupcake recipe. even tho they dont rise like i would like i have been searching and searching for months for a white base cupcake. i took this recipe and made from it a chai cupcake with cardamom whipped cream frosting. it was amazing!!!! now am trying a peaches and cream cupcake, am a little concerned, it was very wet. we will see may need to cut some of the milk. thanks!!!!!!

  11. #
    pink_sparkles84 — August 11, 2012 at 2:06 am

    Is this beaten or unbeaten egg whites? Thanks!

  12. #
    whats a cupcake without icing? — March 13, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    where is the recipe for the buttercream?

  13. #
    amber s — October 8, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    Hello. I found your site off pinterest in a continuing search for the perfect white cake. I have possibly a very strange question, and i’m hoping you can help guide me here. I’m doing a birthday cake for my husband and my daughter, and I’m making it a flag inside (red and white layers w/ a blue center circle). my husband loves red velvet, so i’m hoping to do that for the red layers, but i’m having a hard time figuring out the perfect mix of flavors to do the white layers? would this recipe mix well w/ red velvet?

    • beantownbaker — October 8th, 2013 @ 7:07 pm

      I think this recipe would go great with red velvet. I love the idea of a flag cake, although I’ve never made one myself.

  14. #
    Maria — November 10, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    My first cake made from scratch and this recipe made it a success. Super happy with the results. Thank you!

    • beantownbaker — November 11th, 2013 @ 9:09 pm

      So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Great job in taking on the challenge of making a cake from scratch.

  15. #
    Naomi Turner — July 3, 2014 at 4:05 am

    Hi! I found this recipe whilst searching for one to make a purple ombre layer cake for my best friend’s birthday. However, I am from the UK and whilst having US measuring cups, I don’t really know what cake flour is? I’m sorry if this sounds ridiculous but we don’t have it over here! Can I use Plain Flour instead as the recipe includes a raising agent? And is it the cake flour that gives the cake its white colour? Please help! Kindest regards, Naomi x

  16. #
    Cindy — March 11, 2015 at 6:58 am

    Hi, I’m baking a bday cake for my sis and I’m attempting to make the purple ombré cake too. Will be using the white cake recipe. Just wondering
    1. Can I still use the same 24 cupcakes quantity to make 3 layers of 6″ round cakes?
    2. Would the cake be still moist if I bake the cake 1 day ahead?

    Thank u so much!

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