Learn how to make perfect white cupcakes with the silkiest smooth buttercream. Leave pure white or top with pretty sprinkles! 

Classic White Cupcake with white buttercream and rainbow sprinkles on top

OVERVIEW

White cupcakes are a classic dessert for birthday parties, baby showers, or even a wedding.

These white cupcakes keep their pale color by only utilizing the egg whites instead of whole eggs. Additionally, using the creaming method for cakes, we get the perfect texture of moist and fluffy for this cake.

This recipe can be made into cupcakes, sheet cake, or layered cake!

What’s the difference between white cake, yellow cake, and vanilla cake?

You will notice that there are different recipes for white cake, yellow cake, and vanilla cake. But what is the difference? Aren’t they all vanilla flavored? The distinction between the 3 can be confusing but there are slight differences. 

White cake

A recipe for white cake will only call for egg whites and no egg yolks. Egg whites keep the pale color of the cake and keeps the texture very moist. Vanilla flavor is almost always used in a white cake recipe. Since there’s only a small amount of vanilla added, it doesn’t affect the color. In addition to the vanilla, I add almond extract to my white cake recipe.

Yellow cake

Yellow cake recipes use the whole egg, whites, and yolks. The egg whites create fluffiness while the yolks add richness and give the cake a yellow hue. This cake also contains vanilla flavor.

Yellow cake with chocolate frosting is a classic flavor combination! 

My Fluffy Classic Yellow Cake Recipe

Vanilla cake

If you see a recipe called Vanilla Cake, it is simply talking about the flavor. Check the ingredients to see if it calls for exclusively egg whites or if yolks are used. So essentially, a white cake and a yellow cake are both vanilla cakes. 

White Cupcakes topped with white buttercream on a cake stand

What is white wedding cake?

White cakes are incredibly common for weddings. The pure white color of the cake has been a tradition for hundreds of years. A white wedding cake almost always calls for almond extract.

Almond extract is clear so it won’t alter the coloring of the cake. It’s also a little more distinct of a flavor than vanilla. The frosting on a white wedding cake is traditionally pure white with almond extract.

Want to Make Ahead?

Cupcakes can be made ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 48 hours before serving. If you would like to make them more in advance, you can let them cool completely and wrap each unfrosted cupcake well in plastic wrap. Store in the freezer for up to 2 months. When you are ready to serve, unwrap each cupcake and let sit at room temperature until thawed and then you can frost them.

Note: The refrigerator tends to dry the cake out. Avoid storing your cupcakes in the refrigerator.

Classic white cupcake with white buttercream frosting and rainbow sprinkles
Yield: 24 Cupcakes

Classic White Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Make these classic white cupcakes with the most silky smooth buttercream. Leave pure white or top with pretty sprinkles! 

Ingredients

For the Cupcakes

  • 345 grams (3 cups) cake flour
  • 7 grams (2 teaspoons) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 grams (½ teaspoon) fine sea salt
  • 226 grams (8 ounces, 2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 400 grams (2 cups) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 160 grams (about 5 large, ⅔ cup) egg whites
  • 180 grams (¾ cup) sour cream
  • 170 grams (¾ cup, 180 milliliters) whole milk

For the Buttercream

  • 454 grams (2 cups, 4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 600 grams (5 cups) powdered, icing, or confectioners sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 grams (½ teaspoon) kosher salt
  • 56-84 grams (4-6) tablespoons milk or heavy cream

Instructions

Prep: 

  1. Measure out ingredients for the cupcakes: At least 30 minutes before mixing, take the butter (226 grams, 2 sticks), eggs (about 5 large), milk (170 grams, ¾ cup), and sour cream (180 grams, ¾ cup) out of the refrigerator to come to room temperature. Separate the eggs (you need 160 grams, ⅔ cup, of egg whites). Measure out the rest of the ingredients. 
  2. Measure out ingredients for the buttercream: Take the butter (454 grams, 2 cups) out of the refrigerator to come to room temperature. Measure out the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Position the oven rack to the center position. Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C. Prepare 2- 12 cup muffin tins with paper liners.

To make the Cupcakes:

  1. Sift together the cake flour (345 grams, 3 cups), baking powder (7 grams, 2 teaspoons), and baking soda (½ teaspoon). Add the salt (2 grams, ½ teaspoon), whisk together, and set aside. 
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, combine the butter and sugar (400 grams, 2 cups). Cream together on medium speed until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl halfway through mixing. The mixture should be very pale yellow after mixing.
  3. With the mixer running on medium/low speed add the vanilla extract (2 teaspoons) and almond extract (1 teaspoon). Next, slowly add in the egg whites while the mixer continues running. Scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically as you slowly incorporate the egg whites. 
  4. Mix the milk and sour cream together. Alternate adding the dry ingredients into the bowl in three additions with the milk/sour cream mixture in two additions, starting and stopping with the dry ingredients. Mix on medium speed in between each addition until fully incorporated. 
  5. Transfer the batter into the prepared muffin tins. Bake for about 18-25 minutes. Pull out of the oven when the cake is firm but springs back when gently pressed in on the center, or when a cake tester comes out clean. 
  6. Cool the cupcakes in their pan for a few minutes before moving them to a cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.

To make the Buttercream:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed for about 1 minute, until fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  2. Add the powdered sugar (600 grams, 5 cups) into the mixing bowl and start mixing on low until the sugar starts to combine with the butter. Turn the mixing speed up to medium-high and beat for about 3 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla extract (2 teaspoons) and salt (½ teaspoon).
  3. Add a bit of milk or heavy cream (56-84 grams, 4-6 tablespoons) if needed to thin out the texture. If the texture becomes too thin, you can add a bit more powdered sugar until you get a spreadable consistency. 
  4. Frost the cupcakes and top with sprinkles if using.

Notes

This recipe can be made as is into one 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33 cm) sheet cake or a 2 layer 9-inch (23 cm) round layered cake or a 3 layer 8-inch (20 cm) round layered cake.

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