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. Serves 24
Bake at 335F for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out cleanly. 
↓ Recipe ↓ Video Never Miss A Cake
Total Time: 40 mins
Serves: 8 cups
white velvet cake recipe

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

slice of white velvet cake with ermine frosting on a plate with a silver fork

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.

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 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 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!

What Is Buttermilk?

Buttermilk is basically fermented milk that has gone sour. I know it sounds weird but it actually tastes amazing in baked goods. The tanginess in buttermilk adds a great flavor and the acidity in buttermilk actually breaks down gluten so baked goods are more tender than if you used regular milk. 

I mean, there’s a reason recipes like “buttermilk pancakes” and “buttermilk” biscuits always seem better than just… pancakes. Ya know?

Don’t have any buttermilk? You can make it! Add 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar to 1 cup of regular milk, stir and let it sit for about 10 minutes. You’ll see the milk begin to thicken and curdle. Voila. Homemade buttermilk. 

white velvet cake with ermine frosting

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 super fine like my white cake recipe or my vanilla cake recipe and is definitely a great cake for flavor to just bake up for a special occasion.

What frosting goes with white velvet cake?

The traditional frosting that goes with velvet cake is ermine frosting. Ermine frosting is made by cooking sugar with a bit of flour and then whipping it into softened butter. 

Ermine frosting is super creamy, not too sweet and tastes amazing with white velvet cake. In my opinion it tastes very similar to a swiss-meringue buttercream but without the eggs so it’s a nice alternative if you have an egg allergy. 

white velvet cake with ermine frosting

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 white 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.

Related Recipes

Rainbow Cake
Green Velvet Cake
Pink Velvet Cake
Black Velvet Cake
Red Velvet Cake

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Note: measurements are estimated based off the vanilla cake recipe using standard US cake pans and sizes. Measurements used are for 2" tall cake pans only. Your results may vary. Do not overfill cake pans above manufacturer's recommended guidelines.

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white velvet cake recipe

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. Serves 24
Bake at 335F for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out cleanly. 
4.91 from 545 votes
Print Rate Never Miss A Cake
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Serves: 8 cups
Calories: 208kcal


White Velvet Cake Ingredients

  • 14 oz (396 g) cake flour
  • 13 oz (368 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 5 oz (142 g) egg whites room temperature
  • 4 oz (113 g) vegetable oil
  • 10 oz (284 g) buttermilk room temperature or slightly warm
  • 6 oz (170 g) butter unsalted and softened
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Ermine Frosting Ingredients

  • 14 oz (396 g) granulated sugar
  • 3 oz (85 g) flour
  • 16 oz (454 g) whole milk
  • 16 oz (454 g) unsalted butter room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  • Stand Mixer
  • Whisk Attachment
  • Paddle Attachment


  • NOTE: It is SUPER IMPORTANT that all the room temperature ingredients listed above are room temperature and measured by weight 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"x2" (or three 6") cake pans (with a little leftover batter) with cake goop or preferred pan spray. Fill your pans about 3/4 of the way full of batter. 
  • 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 1/2 cup of the milk and the oil together and set aside. 
  • Combine the remaining milk, egg whites and vanilla together, whisk to break up the eggs 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 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 has incorporated then pour into prepared pans. Bake 35-40 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. 
    IMMEDIATELY TAP PAN FIRMLY on countertop once to release the steam from the cake. This stops the cake from shrinking. 
  • 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. 

Ermine Frosting Instructions

  • Whisk together your flour and sugar in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Cook for about 2 minutes to toast the flour. 
  • Slowly add in your milk, whisk to combine and bring your heat to medium-high. Whisk continuously until mixture is thickened and pudding like. Cover with plastic wrap and let cool. 
  • Add your butter to the bowl of your stand mixer and whisk on high until light and fluffy. Slowly add in your cooled flour mixture one spoon at a time as you whip. Incorporating slowly insures a smooth buttercream. 
  • Add in your vanilla and salt until everything is creamy and then you can frost your cooled cake. 


IMPORTANT: Make sure all your ingredients are at room temp and you're using a scale to measure. Substituting ingredients may cause this recipe to fail. (see notes at the bottom of the recipe)
Important Things To Note Before You Start
1. Bring all your ingredients to room temperature or even a little warm (eggs, buttermilk, butter, etc) to ensure your batter does not break or curdle. 
2. Use a scale to weigh your ingredients (including liquids) unless otherwise instructed (Tablespoons, teaspoons, pinch etc). Metric measurements are available in the recipe card. Scaled ingredients are much more accurate than using cups and help ensure the success of your recipe. 
3. Practice Mise en Place (everything in it's place). Measure out your ingredients ahead of time and have them ready before you start mixing to reduce the chances of accidentally leaving something out.
4. Chill your cakes before frosting and filling. You can cover a frosted and chilled cake in fondant if you wish. This cake is also great for stacking. I always keep my cakes chilled in the refrigerator before delivery for easy transporting. 
5. If the recipe calls for specific ingredients like cake flour, replacing it with all purpose flour and cornstarch is not recommended unless specified in the recipe that it’s ok. Substituting ingredients may cause this recipe to fail. 


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 208kcal (10%) | Carbohydrates: 21g (7%) | Protein: 1g (2%) | Fat: 13g (20%) | Saturated Fat: 8g (40%) | Cholesterol: 28mg (9%) | Sodium: 111mg (5%) | Potassium: 60mg (2%) | Sugar: 15g (17%) | Vitamin A: 335IU (7%) | Calcium: 31mg (3%) | Iron: 0.2mg (1%)
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697 comments on “White Velvet Buttermilk Cake

  1. Hi, I would like to try this cake for a friend’s birthday. Can I use a swiss buttercream and white chocolate ganache drop. Would it pair well?

  2. 5 stars
    I halved the recipe and it came out soon delicious. I surprised myself. It wasnt very pretty tbh, but it tasted amazing. Very rich.

  3. 5 stars
    I have used this recipe many times over the past year and a half and LOVE it! Delicious! My kids request it for birthdays 🙂 Thank you!

  4. Hi! Do you think Italian meringue buttercream will go well with the white velvet cake?

  5. 5 stars
    Made this twice and it was epic.just won dering if i can use this for berry cake (naked) with whipped cream or your moist vanilla cake.

  6. 5 stars
    This is my go-to recipe! Everyone raves about it, especially the Lemon Velvet version!

  7. 5 stars
    Hi tried this recipe today. But in the netherlands we don’t have cake flour. Made it with regular flower and tasted great. But when i stacked the layers on the cake, the cake felt apart, the layers broke. Is this normaal for this cake? Is it so tender that it breaks easily when moving? Do you have any tips?

    1. Yes, all purpose flour won’t work well with this cake. If you can’t find cake flour, try searching for Shipton mills soft cake and pastry flour or flour that has a protein level of 9% or less. 

  8. 5 stars
    Came out great despite the fact that I had to substitute all purpose flour and cornstarch for cake flour. Was a little disappointed by the icing/frosting at first but it was lovely after it chilled a few hours.

  9. 5 stars
    Hello Liz, I was just wondering if it was completely necessary to use strictly egg whites in this recipe? In other words, what would happen to the batter if I incorporated the egg yolks? Also I am making a poke cake with a 13 x 9 inch pan, would using this recipe fit in that size pan? Thank you, the cake looks wonderful.

    1. Hi, if you use egg yolks it just won’t be a white cake. You can use the yolks if you don’t mind it being more vanilla cake than a white cake.

  10. Thank you Liz. I also just noticed that you can select pan types and sizes, which is wonderful, so thank you. Can’t wait to make this.

  11. 5 stars
    Fantastic recipe. Just made white velvet cup cakes for my first time ever! and it came out so beautiful. It was soft, moist, delicious and just right. I did use a bit less sugar than in the recipe and still it was lovely. Thanks Sugar geek👍🏽

  12. Can I use a whipped cream & fruit filling in between layers or maybe a stabilized whipped cream filling with fruit? Thanks so much!!

  13. 5 stars
    The BEST white cake recipe I’ve tried by far. It turned out amazing and it even tastes good without icing. Thank you for sharing. You rock!!!

  14. 5 stars
    I made this with sugar reduced to 300g. Cake was delicious. Soft and fluffy cake. Had structure even though sugar was reduced. Awesome…!

  15. 5 stars
    I did this recipe and made the rainbow cake! It was a massive hit! Am just wondering, could I put vanilla essence into this to give it a bit more flavour, or do you not think that would be very nice?

  16. 5 stars
    What a beauty. But seriously how do you get it so white?! If I use regular butter and brown vanilla extract it’s going to come out beige.

    1. It’s the egg whites and the reverse creaming method that make it super white. You can use bleached cake flour and clear vanilla extract if you’re worried.

  17. Can the frosting be made the night before and left in the fridge in a frosting bag or will it harden and be unusable?

  18. 5 stars
    I made this cake and followed everything to a “T”! WONDERFUL! My husband loved it. The cake turned out so moist and loved the icing. Whenever I’m asked for a white cake with white icing this is the only cake I will make Thanks again for a great tasting recipe.

  19. 5 stars
    i made this cake for my sons birthday. We all loved it. Cake turned out delicious and the ermine frosting was too good. Its not too sweet like the other buttercream frostings i have made in the past. It was a big hit.

  20. 5 stars
    Absolutely amazing!
    I added around 60 grams of confetti sprinkles for a birthday cake and it was perfection! Light, fluffy, velvety, moist, flavorful, and all around yummy! It’s a household favorite from now on. Can’t wait to try another recipe of yours! Thank you!!! 🙂

  21. I made the white velvet cake but accidentally added 284 gms of butter instead of 170 gms, I only realised it when the cake was baked. Is there anything I can do with cake base?

  22. I tried different type of your cake recipes and they came out so good. but I made this yesterday but my cake cracked from the middle, I checked the oven temperature but it was fine. can it be because of low quality cake flour? Thank you.

    1. I’m not sure why it would crack in the middle, maybe it was too close to the top of the oven and too close to the heating element so it cracked as it rose

  23. 5 stars
    I made half recipe in two 6″ pans. Perfect for just the two of us! Thank you for the recipe!

  24. 5 stars
    Wow! This cake is amazing, so delicious and moist. I followed the directions and weighed everything and it turned out perfect!!! I paired it with the white chocolate buttercream, OMG! It was for my daughter’s 9th birthday and she wanted a frozen themed cake , so I swirled blue food coloring in the batter and colored the frosting blue white and lavender with white chocolate snowflakes. So cute, thank you Liz for all your inspirations!!!!

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