Preheat oven to 350ºF and set rack in middle position. Spray two 9 inch cake pans with cooking spray. Line the bottoms with parchment paper and then grease parchment. Set aside.
Melt the butter first so it has time to cool before blending in. Once it comes to room temperature whisk together cooled butter, milk, egg whites, and vanilla in a bowl.
In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with paddle, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well combined. Add all but 1/2 cup of the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients. Beat slow at first to moisten ingredients. Increase speed to medium for 2 minutes and mix until the batter becomes pale and fluffy. Pour in the remaining 1/2 cup liquid and beat for 1 minute longer.
Divide the batter between prepared cake pans. Bake for 23-25 minutes, rotating halfway through baking. Cake is done when tops are golden and toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Allow the cake layers to cool in pans for 10 minutes. Turn onto a wire rack, remove parchment, and cool completely before frosting with fluffy vanilla or chocolate buttercream.
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Tips for Making the Best Gluten Cake
For a pure white cake use clear vanilla extract.
Melt the butter before beginning the cake recipe so it has time to cool.
Egg whites separate easier when they are cold. After the eggs have been separated, set them out with the measured milk to come to room temperature.
The recipe calls for whole milk for best results. 2% may be substituted, but skim is not recommended. For the dairy free version, almond milk performed best.
To make a dairy free gluten free cake, substitute Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks and use unsweetened almond milk for the milk. Reduce the amount of salt to 1/2 teaspoon.
Best Flours for Easy Gluten Free Cake
Cup 4 Cup Gluten Free Flour - This is the brand I primarily use because any gluten free taste or difference in texture is undetectable. However, it is also the most expensive and contains milk powder, so it is not dairy free.
To make gluten free cupcakes instead of a layer cake, divide batter between 24 cupcake tins, lined with paper liners. The batter should be poured in 2/3rds full.Bake on the middle rack in 350ºF for 16-18 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely. Spread or pipe on a favorite frosting after the cake has cooled completely.
Gluten Free Sheet Cake
Gluten free white cake recipe may also be baked in a 9X13 inch pan to make a sheet cake.If you plan on removing the cake from the pan to decorate, line the bottom with parchment paper cut to size. Grease the top of the parchment with cooking spray. Bake at the same temperature as the layer cake directions. The baking time should be about the same as well. It may need a couple minutes longer, but start checking around 24 minutes. Cool the cake completely before frosting with any sort of buttercream, whipped, or cream cheese frosting. If you are using a glaze, like in Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake recipe, the frosting may be poured on while the cake is still warm. Recipe adapted from America's Test Kitchen