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.
sidenote… the more I spell the word “velvet” the weirder it looks… velvet. velvet VELVET. Starts to look wrong.
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 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.
What’s so great about white velvet?
So one of the BEST things about this recipe in my opinion is the texture. The crumb is soooo soft and well… velvety! I love how it looks when you cut it. Soft and pillowy. It’s like magic!
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 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. It will stand up to stacking though. 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.
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, 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.
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!
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.
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 buttermilk cake recipe
White velvet cake gets it's flavor and velvety texture from buttermilk. A moist, tender cake that is great for any special occasion. This recipe makes two 8" round cakes about 2" tall. Bake at 335F for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out cleanly.
- 12 oz cake flour
- 12 oz granulated sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 5 large egg whites room temperature
- 4 oz vegetable oil
- 10 oz buttermilk room temperature or slightly warm
- 6 oz butter unsalted and softened
- 2 tsp vanilla
NOTE: It is SUPER IMPORTANT that all the room temperature ingredients listed above are room temperature and not cold so that the ingredients mix and incorporate correctly.
Heat oven to 335º F/168º C — 350º F/177º C. I tend to use lower setting to prevent my cakes from getting too dark on the outside before the inside is done baking.
Prepare two 8" cake pans with cake goop or preferred pan spray
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in the bowl of .a stand mixer with paddle attachment. Mix 10 seconds to combine.
Combine egg whites, vanilla and 1/2 cup of milk in a measuring cup and whisk to combine. Set aside
Combine remaining milk and oil in a separate measuring cup and set aside.
Add your softened butter to the dry ingredients and mix on low until mixture resembles a coarse sand (about 30 seconds). Add in your milk/oil mixture and let mix until dry ingredients are moistened and then bump up to med (setting 4 on my kitchenaid) and let mix for 1 1/2 minutes to develop the cakes structure. If you don't let your cake mix on this step your cake could collapse.
Scrape your bowl and then reduce speed to low. Add in your egg white mixture in three batches, letting the batter mix for 15 seconds between additions.
Scrape down the sides again to make sure everything is incorporated the pour into prepared pans. Bake 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out cleanly but the cake has not begun to shrink yet from the sides of the pan.
Let cakes cool for 10 minutes inside the pan before flipping them out. The cake will shrink a bit and that is normal. Flip onto a cooling rack and let cool fully. I chill my cakes before handling or you can wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze them to trap moisture in the cake. Thaw on the countertop while still wrapped before frosting.