White cake is a great recipe to have in your toolbox, and this is the perfect one for high-altitude! This recipe is simple, and gives you a fluffy, soft, flavorful cake that is perfect for layers. You can also mix this one by hand if you prefer!
This recipe, and most white cake recipes, use only egg whites, not yolks, and oil instead of butter. This recipe uses buttermilk as well, resulting in a moist and soft cake. Let’s get to it!
How to Make High-Altitude White Cake
We’re keeping things simple with this recipe. Start by stirring together your dry ingredients- flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt.
From here, we’re going to whisk together the oil, sugar, egg whites, vanilla extract, and almond extract until you have a smooth mixture. Then mix in the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture in alternating additions until everything is well combined and smooth.
Then it’s off to the oven to bake the cakes. You want to bake them until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a couple of crumbs. Cool the cakes completely before frosting them with your icing of choice.
I’m using a simple vanilla ermine buttercream here, but any kind you like would be a great addition. The cake will be fluffy and soft, and the perfect simple white cake.
Tips & Tricks for High-Altitude White Cake
This is the perfect, simple high-altitude cake recipe. Here are all my tips and tricks to help make sure you have the perfect white cake:
- Do I need to use the cornstarch? Yes- this helps create a make-shift cake flour mixture, but one that still has the structure of all-purpose flour. You’ll end up with a cake that doesn’t sink while it bakes, but it will be soft and fluffy in texture.
- Why does this cake only use egg whites? White cake traditionally only uses egg whites. This results in a very white in color cake, and a soft texture.
- Why does this cake use oil instead of butter? Again, this is a common method for white cake. The oil keeps the cake very moist as it bakes, and the results are silky and fluffy.
- What if I get a little egg yolk in the whites on accident? In this instance, it’s ok if you end up with a tiny bit of yolk in your white. Still, it’s meant to use only the whites, so separate your eggs carefully.
- Do not over-bake the cake. You want a toothpick inserted into the center to hold a few crumbs when it comes out, or you can insert an instant read thermometer into the center. It should read around 205 degrees.
- Be sure to cool the flour mixture in the frosting completely before you continue with this frosting recipe, or it won’t work.
- I’m at about 5,000 ft. above sea level, and I find that most people who live between about 3,000-7,000 ft above sea level do not need to make any adjustments to my recipes.
High-Altitude White Cake
For the cake:
- 2 cups + 2 tbs. all purpose flour
- 4 tbs. cornstarch
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 6 egg whites
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. almond extract
For the Ermine Frosting:
- 6 tbs. flour
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. almond extract
- 1 1/2 cups room temp. butter
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/8 tsp. salt
For the cake:
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees, and grease two 8 inch round pans. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt, and set this mixture aside. In a small bowl, stir together the buttermilk and the sour cream until combined- this mixture will be lumpy.
In a large bowl, whisk together the canola oil and sugar until you have a crumbly, combined mixture. Add in the egg whites, vanilla extract, and almond extract, and stir until you have a smooth mixture.
Add in the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture in alternating additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, and mix until smooth. Smooth the batter out into your prepared cake pans, and bake for 30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool the cakes completely before frosting.
For the frosting:
In a small saucepan, stir together the flour, milk, and vanilla extract. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently with a whisk, until it is thickened. It will be a very thick paste. Cool this mixture completely before continuing.
In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, and salt for about 8-10 minutes. The mixture will become pale and fluffy. Beat in the cooled flour mixture, and beat for several minutes until you have a fluffy, smooth frosting.
Frost and layer cake as desired, and slice and serve! You deserve it!
Hello and welcome! My name is Nicole, and Dough-eyed is a food blog for people who want to bake for their family and friends in high-altitude areas. Think of me as a friendly voice there with you in the kitchen, here to give you confidence when you’re baking, and to help you with the struggles of baking at high-altitude. Come back every week for new recipes, tips, and advice on high-altitude baking!
Why not cake flour?
I try to avoid cake flour most of the time just because it's more expensive and more difficult to come by. If you can reach a fluffy, soft, cake texture without cake flour, then I say go for it. This cake is a great example of that. Also, at high-altitude it can be a little tougher to work with cake flour (though not impossible by any means) so using AP flour offers some helpful additional structure!
Sandra Kenefick says
Hi…….can I use a Bundt pan for this white cake recipe?
Sandra Kenefick says
Hi……I live at 7200 feet in. Monument, Colorado.
What, if any adjustments would I have to make for this cake recipe? Also can I use a Bundt pan?
Hi there- it should work well to use a bundt pan for this. The volume of batter will translate well. The bake time will likely be longer, so you'll want to just keep an eye on it!