Cook’s Illustrated White Cake Recipe: Best 10 Serving Ideas

Cook’s Illustrated White Cake Recipe is a classic cake that has been a go-to in American baking for decades. However, with how much seemingly goes into this cake, it’s normal that there are plenty of tips and tricks to share.

Cook’s Illustrated White Cake Recipe first starts with a homemade white cake- a batter with little to no leavening agents- because it relies on eggs and cream to create the light, fluffy texture.

In this recipe, the cream is used in two phases. First, it’s warmed and then beaten into the batter after it has been cooled for about an hour.

The second phase is where the magic happens–the cake batter is folded into the batter that has been beaten with cream inside a bundt pan.

This ensures that when the cake bakes, it rises evenly and perfectly–the meringue should be set enough to hold its shape on its own but not so much that it falls out of the pan.

How To Make Cook’s Illustrated White Cake Recipe?

Cook's Illustrated White Cake Recipe
Cook’s Illustrated White Cake Recipe

Preparation Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Baking Time: 45-55 minutes

Servings: 12

Difficulty: Medium (It’s not hard to make, but you need a bit of patience, careful reading, and following the recipe. You’ll also need the ingredients listed below.)

Ingredients for Cook’s Illustrated White Cake Recipe:

For the Cake:

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
  • 1¾ cups cake flour (I used 2 kinds if you can find them.  If not, use ½ cup of each)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoons table salt, plus more for the meringue
  • 1¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature

For the Meringue:

  • 1¾ cup cold heavy cream, divided into 2 equal parts (I used ¾ cup per phase). If you don’t have this ready-made from a can, chill it in the fridge for at least one hour and be sure that your kitchen is not too hot.  Cold eggs can’t be added to warm-hot cream.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Preparation Steps for Cook’s Illustrated White Cake Recipe:

Step 1:

Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 12-cup fluted round cake pan (two 8-cup pans can also be used). Spray the pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Step 2:

Mix flour, baking powder, soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add granulated sugar, and whisk to combine. In another bowl or large measuring cup, beat 4 large eggs until just combined; lightly fold in 1 cup of cream and vanilla (if desired).

Step 3:

Pour egg mixture over flour mixture and gently whisk until combined (do not over-mix).  The flour will be very visible in the batter.  

Step 4:

Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir for about 20 more seconds. If you have time, cover the batter tightly with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for an hour.

Step 5:

Fit the metal bowl of a stand mixer with the whip attachment. Add 1¾ cups cream to a metal bowl and chill in the refrigerator until cold. Beat mixture on medium-high speed until soft peaks form when dripped off of whisk (for about 3 minutes).  

Step 6:

Remove the bowl from the stand mixer.  Using a spatula, fold whipped cream into the beaten egg mixture until the batter is light and fluffy.  Taste, and add more salt if desired.

Step 7:

Pour 1/2 of the batter (1¾ cups) into the prepared pan and tap the pan on the counter to spread evenly. Spoon and spread the remaining batter over the top.  Using a skewer or toothpick, swirl the mixture until it is just combined but not entirely smooth.

Step 8:

Bake for 45-55 minutes until golden brown. Immediately turn the cake onto a wire rack, and turn it upside down.  Allow cooling for about an hour (or more in the fridge) before adding the meringue.

Step 9:

While the cake is cooling, rinse and dry the metal bowl from step 5, then place it back on the stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment. Measure out 4 cups of heavy cream and chill in the refrigerator until cold, about 30 minutes- one hour.  

Add chilled cream to a bowl and beat over medium-high speed using the whisk attachment until soft peaks form.  Don’t overbeat, or the meringue will fall.  Again, don’t walk away, or the mixture could get gooey.

Step 10:

Carefully fold the meringue into the cake batter evenly (I used a few sheets of plastic wrap to cover the bowl, which makes it harder to get the meringue all in). Return cake to wire rack and let cool for another hour before serving.

Step 11:

Slice into wedges and serve.

Nutritional Facts of Cook’s Illustrated White Cake Recipe:

Fat24 g (Saturated Fat: 12 g)
Carbohydrates73 g
Cholesterol154 mg

This is a perfect cake for serving to your family and friends on Easter for breakfast.  It’s a cake that will fool any non-baker.  The meringue keeps the cake light and fluffy, which is crucial in getting an even rise and setting.  

Best 10 Serving Ideas of Cook’s Illustrated White Cake Recipe:

1) Eat 2 pieces daily to lose weight while remaining comfy and full.

2) To make it a little tastier, dust the top of the cake with powdered sugar. 

3) Add this recipe to your favorite soups, stews, and dips.

4) Use it as cupcakes or layer them with frosting for birthday cakes.

5) Spread this on toast for breakfast, snacks, and ketchup.

6) Try it with sliced strawberries and almond slices on top.  

7) Layer it with ice cream and chocolate sauce.

8) Add this to your breakfast fruit parfait.

9) Dip strawberries in it for a delightful dessert.

10) Or eat it plain!  It’s delicious.

Is this recipe good for a party?

Yes, this is perfect for a family party or guests.  It’s very easy to prepare, and it doesn’t take a long time.  This is a great recipe if you have to cut down on time and still have no stress.

What can be the substitute for cake flour?

You can’t just replace cake flour with all-purpose flour. The main reason for using cake flour is to create a less dense, more tender crumb.  I suggest using 1 part cornstarch (cornflour) mixed with 4 parts all-purpose flour.

Where can I get the cream from?

Most grocery stores carry heavy cream in the dairy section, usually near the milk.

What is the difference between cake flour and all-purpose flour?

Cake flour is made from soft wheat berries, leaving the starches and proteins less developed than traditional flours. Cake flour has lower protein and higher starch content than all-purpose flour, which makes it a good fit for tender, delicate cakes.  

Hope you enjoy this recipe!

For more recipes, feel free to look at my other post HERE.