Sarah's White Cake (or Cupcakes)

  • Active Time 10m
  • Total Time 50m
  • Rating ****

Makes 12 servings or cupcakes

An old-fashioned white layer cake is a favorite special-occasion dessert. My Healthy Oven customers kept asking me to come up with a reduced-fat version--and frankly, I wanted one for my own family, too. I used my mother's family recipe as a template, baking and adjusting it more than one hundred times (I counted) before I was satisfied with the results. It is even moister than the original! The timings are very exact. Just follow them and don't overmix the batter, and you'll have sweet success. Make these into cupcakes for a kids' birthday party and they'll love them.


  • Nonstick canola oil spray
  • 2 cups cake flour, not self-rising (spoon into measuring cup and level top)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup 1 percent milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons instant nonfat dry milk powder (do not reconstitute)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • Fudgy Chocolate Frosting

Companion recipe: Fudgy Chocolate Frosting


Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray an 8-inch round nonstick cake pan with oil.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt until well combined. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, using a handheld electric mixer set at high speed, beat the butter and sugar until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, about 1 1/2 minutes.

In a small bowl, beat the milk, egg, instant dry milk powder, vanilla, and almond extract, if using it, to combine. Pour into the butter/sugar mixture. Starting on low speed and increasing to high, beat until the mixture is frothy, about 1 minute.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the milk mixture. Using a wooden spoon, stir just until the flour disappears. Using the electric mixer on high speed, beat just for 3 seconds. Do not overmix. Using a gentle touch, spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.

Bake until the top of the cake springs back when pressed gently in the center and the sides are pulling away from the pan, about 30 minutes (do not open the oven until the cake has baked for at least 25 minutes). Do not overbake. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Unmold onto the rack, turn right side up, and cool completely.

Place the cooled cake on a serving platter. Spread with the frosting and serve.

Place paper cupcake liners in twelve 2 3/4 X 1 1/2-inch muffin cups. Spray the liners with nonstick canola oil spray. Divide the batter equally among the liners. Bake until the tops of the muffins are lightly browned and spring back when pressed in the center, about 20 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from the cups. Cool completely on the rack. Serve. Make 12 cupcakes.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Doubleday. All rights reserved.

RecID 1578

nutrition information per serving

251 calories; 7g total fat; 32mg cholesterol; 99mg sodium; 47g carbohydrates; 3g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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