Yellow And White Cake Actually Aren't The Same Thing

You may have heard the terms yellow and white cake used interchangeably for a plain vanilla cake base, but there are actually some important differences between the two, including color and texture. Yellow cake takes its yellowish hue from the use of egg yolks or an entire egg. It also calls for butter in the recipe more often than white cakes do. White cakes, on the other hand, get their whitish coloring from the fact that they feature only egg whites and not the yolks. Often the whites are whipped, making them even paler, and adding to the more delicate texture of white cake. Shortening or white margarine may sometimes be part of the recipe as well, contributing to its whitish tint.

Additionally, the two varieties of cake differ in the type of flour that goes into making each base. White cake typically requires cake flour, which is finer and sometimes contains cornstarch, which makes it even lighter. Yellow cake will commonly utilize all-purpose flour. This contrast in ingredients leads to contrasting textures. White cake is often airier and much more delicate and fluffy, whereas yellow cake is denser and more substantial. And since the cakes vary in texture, they work better with different decorations and frostings, and they're frequently baked for different occasions.

When should you bake them and how do you decorate them?

The fluffier white cake generally pairs better with a lighter, whipped white frosting or cream cheese frosting. Because of its finer crumb, white cake is often thought of as more formal and might be used for highly decorated baked goods like cupcakes and wedding cakes. The heavier-textured and richer yellow cake is considered more comforting and homey. It makes great birthday cakes and serves as a stronger foundation for toppings such as chocolate or buttercream icing or tart lemon filling. Yellow cake's use of egg yolks lends it a bit of a custardy flavor that makes it a fine match for these sweet accompaniments.

Despite the differences, white and yellow cakes are both variations on a vanilla cake and each offers hints of vanilla flavor. When it comes to choosing which to make, it all boils down to your taste, the ingredients in your cupboard, and the occasion you're baking for. Once you determine the cake variety, you can choose the best decorating scheme and ensure that your dessert "rises" to the occasion.