What’s the Real Difference Between Yellow and White Cake?

All cakes start with the same base ingredients: flour, sugar, a leavening agent, a fat, and eggs. However, that doesn’t mean all cakes are created equal. How you alter or add to those basics determines what kind of cake you end up with. Take white, and yellow cakes, for example. They’re seemingly very, very similar, right? Well, not exactly. What are the major differences between yellow and white cake?


What separates these cakes are the type of eggs, fat, and the amount of vanilla they call for. Some require egg whites, while others use whole eggs. Some need butter, while others demand oil. Now, without further ado, let’s break these baked goods down!

Related: How Long Is A Cake Good For In The Refrigerator? Do You Know How Long The Cake Will Last?

So, what’s in a white cake?



white cake slice out of a cake with fruit on top of frosting Shutterstock
White cake starts with the typical base cake ingredients, but only the egg whites are used in this recipe. For the fat, Shea says oil is commonly used, rather than butter, to keep the cake as white as possible.

“White cake is going to be the lightest and most airy,” Shea notes. “The airiness of the cake can be contributed to the egg whites, but also the mixing method. By whipping your egg whites and then folding them into the batter, you will achieve lightness in your cake.”

See More: How Many Calories In A Slice Of Cheese? How Much Cheese Should You Eat Each Day?

How does yellow cake differ?


chocolate yellow cake slice with a fork on plate Shutterstock
Yellow cake uses butter as the fat and calls for whole eggs. The combination of the two creates the batter’s signature yellow color while maintaining a neutral flavor. Also, because of the butter and the egg yolks, the yellow cake tastes richer than white cake.

When should I use these different cakes?


If you prefer a fruit filling and a buttercream frosting (like you might see on a wedding cake), Shea suggests a neutral white cake or a vanilla cake.

Chocolate lovers, however, should go with yellow cake, according to Shea. She rarely deviates from the traditional combination of yellow cake with a chocolate frosting or a chocolate ganache.


And if you’re a java junkie, Shea suggests brushing your white cake with a coffee liqueur. The sponginess of the airy cake will soak that right up. After that, she says you can top it with a chocolate mousse. Trust us, your sweet tooth is about to be very happy!

See More: True Food Kitchen Nutritional Information And Top 10 Healthiest Foods On The Planet

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