Cooking, Recipes

Recipe – Tish Boyle’s Basic White Butter Cake

white butter cake recipes

As the last pineapple tart gets depleted from the ubiquitous red lidded plastic tub, it becomes official, Chinese New Year is over. There will be some who are still working off the CNY left overs but for me, I am eager to stash away my pineapple tart molds and return to something more fundamental. When you are sick and tired of eating the sweet fare day after day for almost a month, you yearn for something more basic, something from good old Tish Boyle’s cake bible.

knife cut cake

It doesn’t surprise me at all when I instinctively reached out for Tish Boyle – after all, I have had happy results with her various pound cake recipes. As I perused over this recipe, I couldn’t understand why I had not tried this before. It is extremely basic and can definitely become the base of many interesting variations to follow. I am always delighted when I discover a good basic recipe which I can potentially work into a cup cake or a frosted layer cake just like Isabella’s Lemon Meringue Cupcake base and Alex Goh’s Jam Topping Sponge Cake base. This one is unique for me as it falls somewhere in between the spectrum of a pound and a sponge cake. With the use of unbeaten egg white, the cake turns out lighter than your typical butter cake but considerably more fulfilling in texture than the airy sponge.

Yielding the fine crumbed cake that I have come to associate so easily with Tish Boyle’s recipe , this one turned out to be even more velvety than the Plainly Perfect Sponge Cake.

White Butter Cake Cut

The clean white finish makes this a perfect base for layering and frosting. Imagine how pretty this would look in a white on white frosted wedding layer cake when you cut it using your knife!

I am certain you will see me use more of this in my future cake postings. For now, I encourage you to give this a try and am sure you will be as delighted as I have been with it.


31/2 cups (325g) sifted cake flour
1 tbsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
2 sticks (227g) unsalted butter
1 cup (300g) granulated sugar
6 large egg whites (about 150g)
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest (optional)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1½ cup (320ml) whole milk


1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 350F or 175C.
2. Grease the bottom and sides of 2 9-inch round cake pans and dust with flour. (You can use any cake mold but beware -this cake bakes best as a thin layer. Baking it to full height in a 9-inch or 6-inch pan will require longer baking time and you will get a browned cake)
3. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
4. In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter at medium high speed until creamy (30seconds). Add sugar and continue to beat at high speed until light . (about 2 mins)
5. Reduce speed to low and add in egg whites one at a time and mix until homogenous.
6. Add in lemon zest and vanilla extract and mix well.
7. Add the flour mixture in alternating with milk. (add flour in 3 additions and milk in 2 additions)
8. Divide the cake batter evenly into the 2 9 inch cake tins and smooth the tops.
9. Bake the cake for 25 to 30mins until an inserted cake tester comes out clean.
10. ( You can also bake them in cup cake liners or muffin pans- they will work with the baking timing suggested above to yield a snowy white cake.)

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