Add these old fashioned white cake recipes to your collection. White cakes are delicious yet simple to bake, and almost any flavor of icing or filling can be used, making them versatile and extra special. They're the perfect cakes for serving on any occasion as people always love them.
Mom's Recipe Scrapbooks (c. 1920s)
2 cups sifted cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup butter, or shortening
1 cup sifted sugar
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 egg whites, stiffly beaten
Prepare pan. Sift flour once, measure, add baking powder, and sift together three times. Cream shortening thoroughly, add sugar gradually, and cream together until light and fluffy. Add flour, alternately, with milk, a small amount at a time.
Beat after each addition until smooth. Add vanilla; fold in egg whites.
Bake in two greased 9-inch layer pans in a moderate oven (375°F) for 25 to 30 minutes; or in single greased 8x8x2-inch pan, in moderate oven (350°F) for 1 hour.
Double recipe to make three 10-inch layers for a triple layer cake. Frost with your favorite frosting.
1 scant cup sugar, 1/4 cup butter, 1/2 cup milk, 1-1/2 cups flour, whites of 2 eggs, 2 teaspoons baking powder, a little vanilla; cream butter and add gradually the sugar, then milk, flour, and baking powder; last the beaten whites of the eggs and vanilla.
Mary at the Farm and Book of Recipes (1915)
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter and lard, mixed
1 cup milk
Add a few drops of almond flavoring
3 cups flour
2 teaspoonfuls baking powder
Whites of five eggs
Cream together the butter and sugar, add flour sifted with baking powder alternately with the stiffly beaten whites of eggs. The five yolks of eggs left from baking white cake may be used when making other recipes.
Sift together, three times, the following:
1 cup of flour
1 cup of sugar (granulated)
3 even teaspoonfuls of baking powder
Scald one cup of milk and pour hot over the above mixture. Beat well.
Fold into the mixture, carefully, the stiffly beaten whites of 2 eggs. Flavor with a few drops of almond extract. Bake in a moderate oven, exactly as you would bake an angel cake.
This is a delicious, light, flaky cake, if directions are closely followed, but sometimes a little difficult to get just right.
Double ingredients for layer cake.
Dr. Chase's Third, Last and Complete Receipt Book (1891)
How to make a white cake: Two cups of sugar, 1/2 cup of butter; beat the butter and sugar till like cream; stir in 1 cup of sweet milk; add 3 cups of flour and 2 teaspoonfuls of baking powder; beat the whites of 5 eggs and stir in with the flour. Do NOT bake too fast. —Laughing Ora, Morris, Ill.
The Settlement Cook Book (1903)
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring
Whites of 4 eggs
Mix and sift baking powder and flour. Cream the butter, add the sugar gradually. Add the flour and milk alternately, then the flavoring, and lastly cut in the whites of the eggs, beaten until stiff. Bake in a moderate oven.
The Eta Cook Book (1914)
Two cups sugar, one cup butter, whites six eggs, one cup milk, three cups flour, one teaspoon Royal baking powder. Flavor with almond. —Eloise H. Crocker
Cream one and one-half cups sugar and one-half cup butter, one-half cup milk, two cups flour, one heaping teaspoon Royal baking powder, whites of six eggs beaten dry. Flavor with lemon. Bake in a moderate oven. —Grace D. Runyon
Compared to other dessert cakes that enjoy a long history, white cakes only came into being during Queen Victoria's reign.
The secret to achieving the best results from the old fashioned white cake recipes has always been to use the finest white flour and other ingredients.
Improvements in refining methods meant that white flour and white sugar had become commonly available by the 1850s, making it possible to have cakes with the lightest color and texture.
However, the extra cost of the refined ingredients meant that white cakes were mostly made for special occasions by those that could afford them.
The whiteness of these dessert cakes came to symbolize purity, which accounted for their popularity at weddings, and their costlier ingredients reflected the prosperity of those serving them.
These fine cakes were considered truly special and were even immortalized in a popular children's nursery rhyme...
Over the Water
Over the water, and over the sea,
And over the water to Charley,
I'll have none of your nasty beef,
Nor I'll have none of your barley;
But I'll have some of your very best flour
To make a white cake for my Charley.