White Velvet Buttermilk Cake

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White velvet cake is a soft, delicate cake with a hint of buttermilk and vanilla

White velvet cake is red velvet‘s pretty little sister. Red velvet cake has been around for ages and probably one of the most popular cake flavors of all time. But not everyone want’s to eat red food coloring or maybe they have special dietary requirements that don’t allow them to eat red food dye. Whatever the reason, options are always good.

A lot of people wonder if you can just leave out the red food color and get white velvet and the answer is yes, kinda. You also need to leave out the cocoa powder. All the things that make red velvet cake delicious can be left in.

white velvet cake

sidenote… the more I spell the word “velvet” the weirder it looks… velvet. velvet VELVET. Starts to look wrong.

But anyway…

What is white velvet cake?

White velvet cake is basically red velvet without the red. It’s a buttermilk cake base that results in a VERY soft, fluffy and moist cake. If you leave out all the color and the cocoa powder you have yourself a nice white velvet cake. Neat huh. The vinegar and buttermilk gives this southern inspired cake it’s rich and velvety texture

Traditional red velvet cake has a little bit of cocoa powder in it. Some will tell you that red velvet is actually chocolate cake (wrong) or that it’s just white cake with red food color added (so wrong). The cocoa powder does add a little bit of flavor to the cake but not enough to call it chocolate so when you leave it out, it doesn’t affect the flavor that much.

red velvet cake

What’s so great about white velvet?

So one of the BEST things about this recipe in my opinion is it’s basically the easiest cake ever to make. It’s like a scratch made box mix. Dump it all in the mixer and blend. Why it works for this cake and not other? MAGIC.

No not really.

white-velvet-cake

I actually don’t know why it works. I do know however that the crumb is extremely tender. I imagine that has something to do with all that vinegar and buttermilk keeping the gluten from getting too tough and making the cake turn into a brick. I mean, there’s a reason recipes like “buttermilk pancakes” and “buttermilk” biscuits always seem better than just… pancakes. Ya know?

The one thing I would warn against as a professional cake decorator is this cake is VERY soft. Not sure I would suggest using this for sculpted cakes because it doesn’t really hold it’s shape that well. If you are going to use it, make sure it’s well chilled first.

How does white velvet cake taste like?

White velvet cake tastes so amazing BECAUSE of the buttermilk! It just adds a little tang and zip that for some reason your tastebuds just love.

The crumb is not as fine as a my white cake recipe or my vanilla cake but is definitely a great cake for flavor and to just bake up really quickly for a birthday cake.

Pair white velvet cake with cream cheese frosting, easy buttercream, fruit fillings or even ganache! I don’t think I’ve ever paired it with a flavor that wasn’t delish.

Pro-tip. Add a little lemon or orange zest to your cream cheese frosting and frost your white velvet cake with that and WOWZERS that is one yummy flavor combination!

How do you make blue velvet cake?

To make blue velvet cake, use 4 egg whites instead of whole eggs. If you leave the egg yolks in the mixture, you could end up with green. Then simply add in 1 oz of electric blue food color (for a light blue cake) or royal blue food color (for darker blue) to the base white velvet recipe.

For a more natural blue, add 1-2 tsp of natural cocoa powder ( not dutched. I like Hershey’s special dark) The cocoa powder will tone down the bright blue just a little so it’s not so VIVID and make a nice natural blue. Or if you want a really bright blue you can leave the cocoa powder out.

Blue velvet is a great cake for gender reveals, birthday cakes or just because blue velvet is awesome.

blue-velvet-cake

Can you can make velvet cake with different colors?

Yes! If you want a different color of velvet cake then simply replace the food color with any other color you like. You can do a velvet rainbow, ombre or go with neon. The color possibilities are endless!

velvet cake

I made this lovely green velvet cake for st patricks day! I added in the cocoa powder for a more natural shade of green and used 1 oz of leaf green americolor food color gel.

green velvet cake

What about black velvet cake?

Ok so TECHNICALLY I have another recipe called black velvet cake that does not use this velvet cake base. Why? Because it’s really a chocolate cake. It doesn’t have any buttermilk in it, vinegar or food coloring! So why even bother calling it black velvet?

Well it’s got a nice velvet-y texture. In the future I may experiment further with a true black velvet recipe working from the base velvet recipe but upping the cocoa powder. Too many cake ideas, so little time.

white velvet cake
5 from 2 votes
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White velvet cake recipe

White velvet cake gets it's flavor from buttermilk and a touch of vinegar. A moist, tender cake that is great for any special occasion. This recipe makes two 8" round cakes about 2" tall

Servings 6 cups

Ingredients

  • 12 oz AP flour
  • 14 oz granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbs white vinegar
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 4 oz vegetable oil
  • 8 oz buttermilk
  • 4 oz melted butter unsalted
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and prepare two 8" cake pans with cake good or preferred pan spray

  2. Whisk up egg whites with oil, buttermilk, vinegar and melted butter and food coloring (optional) until combined and set aside. 

  3. Place dry ingredients into the bowl of your stand mixer and mix for a few seconds to combine

  4. Add wet ingredients into your dry and mix on medium high for about a minute until combined

  5. Pour into cake pans and bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out cleanly. Pairs perfectly with our cream cheese buttercream. 

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15 reviews on “White Velvet Buttermilk Cake

  1. I have a recipe that I’m wanting to try for a Pina colada rum cake. It calls for a white or yellow cake mix. I don’t have a cake mix, because I never make anything but these cakes on your site. I’m wondering if I can use this recipe as my base instead of the mix. What are your thoughts on that?

  2. I tried making this and failed miserably. I think I was wrong on the flour and sugar. How many cups of AP flour is 12 oz and how many cups of granulated sugar is 14oz. Thank you!

    1. Hi there, if you try to convert to cups this recipe will not turn out. I always use a scale for accuracy since baking from scratch is a science 🙂 You can get a food scale at most grocery stores for less than $20

  3. THANK YOU for scaling your ingredients!! Using a scale is not only best for accuracy, but it saves a lot of time and utensils in the kitchen. I can’t live without my scale!

  4. I made this cake and everyone loved it. I appreciated the subtle mix of sweet and tang. I will, however, have to turn down the temp on my oven because the edges got a bit crispy. Great for home snacking (I looove the crispy bits), but not so great if I’m cooking it for someone else.

  5. How many cups of batter does the recipe version for 2-8″ rounds make? I’m looking for at least 6 cups batter. Should I go with 2 rounds or 3? Thanks!

  6. Mine came out as yellow as any other standard cake made with whole eggs and very brown on top too. The only thing I can think of is that baking soda intensifies the maillard reaction that causes food to brown so it made my cakes dark. But I measured it very precisely according to the recipe and yours comes out lovely and white using baking soda. 🙁

    1. Maybe your oven is a little hot or the cake was too close to the top of the oven? I do always have browning on my cakes but I trim the brown parts off (top, bottom and sides) before torting and frosting.

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