How to Make the BEST White Cake You’ll Ever Make


Use a cake mix + these tips for the best white cake you’ll ever make (and the best buttercream frosting to go with it).

naked cake
Frosted as a “naked cake”

People love this white cake.

Whenever I make this cake, everyone would rave about it. Since most of the time we are at a party or holiday gathering, there are plenty of people to “taste test.” Almost every time I make this, people get curious about the recipe and what bakery the cake is from. No one has a clue it starts with a cake mix unless I tell them.

What flavor does it have?

Most white cakes are flavored with vanilla extract. This recipe calls for almond extract, which is KEY to its deliciousness and its bakery taste.  Some recipes call for both vanilla and almond extracts, but I prefer the almond by itself. Almond flavor imparts a richness and depth that can’t be achieved with any other flavor.

Are white cake and vanilla cake the same thing?

Not quite! While white cake and vanilla cake are similar, there are some differences that make this white cake so unique. This recipe in particular calls for almond extract, sour cream, and jello instant pudding mix. Typically, a vanilla cake is going to stick with the basics and some vanilla extract. 

Does a cake with buttercream frosting have to be refrigerated?

Because of the large amount of sugar, cakes with buttercream frosting made with small amounts of milk are safe to leave out at room temperature for two to three days. However, buttercream made with cream cheese should be refrigerated for best results and food safety measures. 

What size cake pans are best for white layer cake?

8″ cake pans are the most common size for layer cakes, but use whatever size you choose. For the cake pictured in this post, I use 6″ cake pans to achieve a tall, slender-sized cake. Cupcakes can be made from this mix as well. When changing the size of the pans, adjust the baking time accordingly. 

What box mix works best for this white cake?

Personally, my favorite mix to add to this recipe is Duncan Hines. This cake mix is delicious and is very affordable. It isn’t required that you use Duncan Hines, as almost any boxed white cake mix will work. But trust me, this one is SO delicious and reliable. 

Why the sour cream?

Sour cream does such a wonderful job of adding some extra moisture to the cake. Oftentimes, the common worry is that using a box mix will dry out your cake. But for this recipe, you rest assured that this cake will be delicious and moist, not dry and crumbly!

This recipe makes a great wedding cake.

Since the original posting of this recipe, I have heard from several readers who have used this recipe for a wedding cake. I received great feedback about the outcome of the recipe and the savings on buying a bakery cake. Since layers can be made ahead and frozen, you have time to hone your decorating skills or enlist the help of a friend who can decorate.

Can this white cake be made ahead of time?

Absolutely! The cake layers can be made a few weeks ahead and frozen. After baking the layers, flash freeze them for at least an hour. Then place each layer in a separate freezer bag.  The buttercream frosting can be made a few days ahead and kept in the fridge. It can also be made a month ahead and frozen. When ready to assemble and frost the cakes, thaw the buttercream first, as it is easiest to frost the layers while they are partially frozen.


THE BEST White Cake With Buttercream Frosting

THE BEST White Cake With Buttercream Frosting

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Additional Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

You won't believe how outstanding this cake is~or how easy. Once you make this, you'll never make another white cake again!


  • 1 box white cake mix (I use Duncan Hines)
  • 1 (3 oz) jello instant pudding mix (cheesecake or vanilla)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 4 eggs (at room temp)
  • 8-oz sour cream (may use reduced-fat but not fat-free)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix cake mix, pudding, and sugar in a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Add oil and water, mixing with a hand mixer until combined.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, blending for about 2 minutes.
  5. Add sour cream and almond extract; blend well until all ingredients are fully incorporated.
  6. Pour into 3 (8-inch) cake pans sprayed with Baker's Joy.
  7. Bake 30-35 minutes or until cake is set in the center and no longer jiggles (do not over-bake).
  8. Cool layers before turning out of the pan.
  9. Freeze layers for half an hour or up to one week, well wrapped.
  10. Thaw slightly before frosting cake with buttercream frosting (recipe in the blog post).
Nutrition Information
Yield 12 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 305Total Fat 23gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 16gCholesterol 79mgSodium 242mgCarbohydrates 23gFiber 0gSugar 19gProtein 4g

Perfect Buttercream Frosting


  • 1/2 cup butter (one stick), softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/3 cup water (if using milk, the cake must be refrigerated)
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar


  1. Beat butter and shortening until creamy.
  2. Add water and extract, mixing until incorporated.
  3. Add sugar slowly, mixing until well blended.
  4. Beat with a stand mixer until consistency is smooth, light & fluffy (roughly 8 minutes).

If you make this white cake, please leave your thoughts or review in the comments of the post. As always, thanks so much for stopping by. Be blessed, and stay savvy!!!

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  1. Hi Ivy! I think an 11 x 13 or around that size would work beautifully! As for cooking time, I would watch it and do the “toothpick test” once it looks done. If the toothpick comes out clean, it is done!

  2. What size sheet cake should I use for a one layer? I am thinking an 11 X 18? Or could you make two layered sheet cake?
    Cooking time?

  3. Hi Page! The recipe has been updated; just add the extract at the end with sour cream. The buttercream frosting is at the bottom of the blog post (not in a recipe card format). I’ve only used shortening. It makes this cake perfect, so I don’t know how to substitute!! Hope this helps!

  4. In the cake recipe, you do not say when to add the almond extract and there are no instructions in ‘ printed below’ for the Butttercream Frosting.
    Also what can be used to substitute for shortening.
    Thanks Page.

  5. I am so happy I found you! I actually made a recipe folder of my own of all your recipes. I love everything you make. Thank you for sharing your secrets!

  6. Hi Kay, I am delighted to have you as a new e-friend! Yes to cakes~I’ve never met one I didn’t like!!!! I’d love to hear how yours turn out and what your favorites turn out to be!!!

  7. I’ve just discovered your instagram and blog. I love taking delicious shortcuts and am so happy to have these ideas and recipes! My family loves cakes with icing and I love the bundt cakes with glazes – so we will be having many of your cakes! Thank you so much!

  8. This is indeed cake mix magic! Everybody loved it! I will be making this again and again. Can’t wait to try your other combinations! Thank you, Jamie!

  9. Hi Lilla!!! I wish I could answer that! Ive never used food color in my icing~I always do white. If you google, I’ll bet someone out there has an answer!!! XoXo

  10. Love this cake recipe!! So good!! I have found that when I add food coloring to the icing I begins to separate, why does that happen?

  11. Hi Paula! You can, but you will need to adjust cooking time and watch to see when the cake is done and ready to remove from the oven. Hope you love the cake!!!

  12. HI D……it is super important to spray the pans liberally with flour based baking spray (Baker’s Joy or Pam with flour). Allow cakes to cook completely before turning the cake out. I hope they finally release! Keep me posted!!

  13. It is SO delish!!! I make the layers and freeze them, then ice them the day before or day of serving. Please LMK how it turns out. Miss you, too!!! XoXo

  14. Hey, Jamie! This cake looks amazing! I am going to make it for a family gathering next weekend! Miss you!

  15. Hi Kim! Thanks for commenting! This cake is so easy, you might give it a try before next Easter. I can always find an excuse to make this cake:-) Blessings to you!!!

  16. I already have my menu for Easter 2016, but I have printed and will keep this recipe in my calendar. It will be on the menu for Easter, 2017. Looks yummy!

  17. So glad you liked it, Melinda! Thanks for sharing your opinion!!! I made this for a dinner party Friday and never even got a small piece; oh well, I didn’t need it anyway:-)

  18. This cake is just as described! I made it into a sheet cake and only had a very small piece before I gave it away. I should have asked for more! It is so yummy and I loved the frosting!!!! Thank you!!!

  19. Hi Tracy! If you will flash freeze the cake layers for about an hour (lay out on a cookie sheet and just stick in freezer), they will be hard before you lay the paper on them. I don’t use plastic~parchment is much better and doesn’t stick. Hope this helps!!!

  20. What’s the best way to wrap the layers for the freezer? I’m afraid that plastic wrap would tear when coming off.

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