How many times have I mentioned that I will be making my first wedding cake this year? Fifty? Yes, I am obviously excited. Cautiously excited. I’ve never made a cake of such great importance, so I’m carefully planning every step.
At the bride’s request, half the cake layers will be white with lemon curd filling, and the other half will be chocolate cake with raspberry filling. I can easily locate a good chocolate cake recipe, but I’ve been test-driving white cake recipes for almost two months now. Last week I finally found a moist, scratch-made white cake recipe that I’m really excited about. From pristine white interior to delicate flavor and crumb, I am pleased with every aspect.
(The bride has not taste-tested this cake yet, but I’ll be sure to amend this post with her thumbs-up or thumbs-down!)
The official wedding cake will be covered in rolled fondant, but I plan to use Swiss meringue buttercream as a crumb coat – and that’s what I used to decorate this test cake. Since I’ve been getting a few emails from frustrated Swiss buttercream first-timers, I decided to put together a video tutorial. Hopefully this can be used with the recipe for successful results!
In this post you’ll find three recipes for this white cake in different volumes. A 6-inch test cake, a 9-inch cake and another large quantity batter for big 14-inch tiers. I really like this cake’s crumb as-is, but I found the accompanying simple syrup recipe added great flavor and moisture. I do not consider the syrup optional! Be sure to use it – especially if you freeze the cakes for future use, or if you will be decorating it over the course of a few days. This tends to dry out an otherwise moist cake.
The recipe and decor idea for the test cake is adapted from the book “Wedding Cakes You Can Make” by Dede Wilson. You won’t find any crazy-elaborate decorating or rolled fondant-covered cakes in this book, but you will find approachable cake recipes, a timeline to follow, and a cake cutting guide. All of this is very helpful information. I highly recommend this book!
The recipe portion of this post will be lengthy, but don’t let that overwhelm you. The cake, lemon curd and icing recipes can all be printed separately.
The directions to make the cake as pictured is at the link below. I’ve included a few instructional pics below, too.
White Wedding Cake
For a 6 x 2-inch round double layer test cake:
1 3/4 cups cake flour (such as Swan’s down, do not substitute homemade cake flour)
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 large egg whites, room temp
3/4 cup whole milk, room temp
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
For a 9 x 2- inch round double layer cake:
3 1/2 cups cake flour (such as Swan’s down, do not substitute homemade cake flour)
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 large egg whites, room temp
1 1/2 cups whole milk, room temp
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
For a 14 x 2 inch round double layer cake:
Note: A stand mixer is recommended for large quantity batters
8 2/3 cups cake flour (such as Swan’s down, do not substitute homemade cake flour)
2 Tbsp plus 4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
15 large egg whites, room temp
3 1/2 cups whole milk, room temp
2 1/2 cups (5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
4 cups sugar
5 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease pans and line with parchment. I suggest using Wilton’s Cake Release to grease the pans. You don’t have to use parchment with this product, and there are far less crumbs on the outside of the cake when it is turned out.
- Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. Whisk together egg whites and milk in a separate bowl; set aside.
- Beat butter using the paddle attachment until soft and creamy. Add sugar gradually and beat until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla.
- Add flour mixture alternately with the egg white/milk mixture. Begin and end with flour mixture and beat until smooth on medium-low speed after each addition.
- Divide batter between pans. Bake 6-inch cake at 350 for 25 minutes; bake 9-inch cakes at 350 for about 35 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees for 14-inch cakes, bake for about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly in pan, then turn out and cool completely.
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 tsp clear vanilla extract
1. Place sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook until sugar has dissolved.
2. Remove from heat and let cool. Stir in vanilla and set aside.
3. Use a new soft-bristled pastry brush to apply syrup to cakes. Use your discretion for applying syrup to cakes. Below are my quantity suggestions, but feel free to add more or less according to your taste and desire for moistness.
1/2 cup for 6-inch cakes
3/4-1 cup for 9 inch cakes
2-3 cups for 14 inch cakes
Swiss Meringue Buttercream(Small and Large Batch)
Batch for 6-inch double layer cake: [click for printable version]
5 egg whites
1 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 pound unsalted butter, cubed, softened (room temperature works too, but takes longer to come together)
3 teaspoons clear vanilla extract
Large batch (make once for 3-4 large tiers, or make 2-3 times for many-tiered cakes):
12 egg whites
3 cups sugar
1/4 tsp salt
5 cups unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp clear vanilla extract
- Set a saucepan filled one-third full of water over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer.
- Whisk together the egg whites, sugar, and salt in a large heatproof bowl ( I suggest a stainless bowl). Set over the simmering water and whisk until the mixture is hot to the touch and the sugar has dissolved (120-140 degrees on a candy thermometer, to be sure).
- Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
- Beat on low speed for 2 minutes. Increase to medium-high until stiff peaks are formed.
- Continue beating at medium-high speed until the mixture is fluffy and has cooled (the mixing bowl should feel cool to the touch).
- Turn the mixer off and switch from the whisk attachment to the paddle. Turn the mixer on medium-low and add the butter, a few cubes at a time, beating until well incorporated before the next addition.
- Add the vanilla extract. Divide batter and tint with food coloring, if desired.
- Beat until the frosting is thick and completely smooth.
- Store in an airtight container until ready for use.
Yield: About 3 cups, enough to fill one 9-inch double layer cake
with a little left over.
8 tbsp (1 US. stick) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/3 cup plus 4 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl using an electric mixer. Slowly add the eggs and yolks one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Pour in lemon juice and mix again. Expect the mixture to look curdled, this is normal.
- Cook the mixture over medium heat in a medium-size saucepan until it looks smooth (no longer curdled.) Increase the heat slightly and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens. Clip a thermometer to the side of the pan and cook until the mixture reaches 170 degrees.
- Remove the curd from the heat. Transfer the curd to a bowl and press plastic wrap on the surface of the lemon curd to keep a skin from forming. Chill the curd in the refrigerator. The curd will thicken further as it cools. Covered tightly, it will keep in the refrigerator for a week and in the freezer for 2 months.