Chocolate White Cake

Chocolate White Cake
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chocolate white cake
For Valentine’s weekend!

When we made the French Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, we only made half a batch, which left us with four egg whites to use. With a full batch of ice cream, we have eight egg whites left over, which is perfect for making White Cake, complete with frosting. But, what do we do with half that amount? Never fear, here at Scratchin’ Central, we’ll figure out something for those egg whites.

We liked the idea of a cake to go with our ice cream (who doesn’t?), but we didn’t want just a vanilla-flavored white cake. We wanted chocolate. Checking through our library, we didn’t see a chocolate cake that used only egg whites; most called for both yolks and whites. Hmm, a quandary. We ended up modifying the White Cake recipe, scaling it down a bit and adding chocolate — well, more accurately, cocoa — resulting in a single-layer chocolate cake, but no frosting. You can either eat it plain, dust it with powdered sugar, or make up some frosting. We’d frozen a bit of leftover frosting from our last cake, so we were set.

Makes one 8-inch cake.

Chocolate White Cake

Chocolate White Cake


  • 1 3/4 cups (175 g) cake flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup (30 g) dark dutch-processed cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 egg whites, room temperature
  • Pinch cream of tartar
  • 8 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Abbreviated Instructions

Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter the bottom of an 8-inch cake pan. Line the bottom with a piece of waxed paper or baking parchment. Butter the paper.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Re-sift. Set aside.

Whip egg whites and cream of tartar in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until they hold stiff, but shiny, peaks. Transfer to another bowl.

Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment (no need to clean bowl) and beat butter until creamy and smooth. Gradually add sugar and beat on medium-low until fluffy.

Add the flour mixture in three equal amounts, following each addition with about one-third of the buttermilk, mixing just enough to incorporate the ingredients before the next addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and mix in vanilla.

In three additions, fold the egg whites into the batter, then pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 35 minutes or until the top springs back when touched and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool completely before removing from pan.

Ingredient discussion:

Since you probably made ice cream right before this (what, you didn’t?), your eggs will be from happy hens. For the cocoa, use a high quality Dutch-processed cocoa; the processing removes the bitterness, and this cake doesn’t have enough sugar to counteract bitter cocoa. We use Valrhona cocoa, as it’s dark and rich. Butter, unsalted of course, because no one likes salty cake. Pretzels, yes, cake, no. If you don’t have buttermilk, use milk. The cake won’t be as tender, but it’ll still be good.

Procedure in detail:

mise en place
We almost always measure out everything first when we make cake. To make it even easier, we measured the vanilla right into the buttermilk.

Preheat over to 375°F. Move a rack to the center of the oven. Butter the bottom of an 8-inch cake pan. Line the bottom with a piece of waxed paper or baking parchment, and butter the paper.

sifting dry ingredients
It’s easiest to measure the ingredients into a sifter held over a bowl, then just sift them right through.

Sift. It always seems as if cocoa has lumps, and the best way to break up those lumps is to sift. So, break out your sifter from way back in the cupboard, and sift together cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt. We find the easiest method is to place the sifter into a bowl, measure all the ingredients into the sifter, then start sifting. Once you’ve sifted, sift again. We use a spoon to scoop up flour mixture and place it into the sifter held above the bowl.

Whip egg whites. The original recipe had  the whipping of the egg whites after making the batter, which means you have to wash the mixer bowl in between. We whip the egg whites first; that way, we can cream the butter right afterwards, without having to wash the bowl. So, place the egg whites in the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, along with a pinch of cream of tartar, and start whipping. As the whites get frothy and start to whip, increase the speed of the mixer. When they hold stiff but shiny peaks, transfer to a bowl with a rubber spatula and set aside.

creaming butter and sugar
Slowly pour the sugar into the butter and beat until fluffy.

Cream butter. Attach the paddle to the mixer and place the butter in the bowl — no need to clean the bowl — and turn the mixer to medium-low speed. Beat the butter until it’s smooth and shiny, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Add sugar. With the mixer still running, slowly pour the sugar into the butter and continue beating until the butter and sugar mixture is light and fluffy. This can take anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes, depending on the temperature of the butter.

adding dry ingredients
Add the flour mixture in thirds, mixing just enough to incorporate.

Add flour and buttermilk. We need to do this in three additions. Stop the mixer and add about 1/3 of the flour mixture. Turn the mixer on low and mix until just incorporated, about 15 seconds. Stop the mixer and add 1/3 of the buttermilk. Turn the mixer to low and mix until the buttermilk is just incorporated, about 15 seconds. Repeat these steps two more times, then add the vanilla, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and mix until everything is incorporated.

Add buttermilk after each addition of the flour mixture, and mix until just incorporated.
Add buttermilk after each addition of the flour mixture, and mix until just incorporated.



folding in egg whites
Folding in egg whites can be tricky, but, by folding in one-third of the whites at a time, the batter gets lighter as you go, so the last addition should be real easy.

Fold in egg whites. This is also one of those things you should do in thirds. Add about 1/3 of the egg whites to the batter, and fold it in until no white streaks remain. Repeat the folding in of the egg whites in two more additions.

folding in egg whites
Keep folding until no white streaks remain.



ready to bake cake
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth off the top before sliding it into the oven.

Fill pan. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth out the top.

testing for cake doneness
A small skewer, or a toothpick, will come out clean when the cake is done.

Bake. Slide the cake into the center of the oven and bake for 35 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly pressed, and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

chocolate white cake
Once cooled, remove the cake from the pan, then frost and decorate any way you want.

Cool. Let the cake cool completely before removing it from the pan. To remove the cake, run a knife around the edge of the pan, then invert and the cake should drop right out. Remove the paper and turn right-side up.

Just like the White Cake recipe from which this one is derived, this makes a nice light cake, with the added advantage of being easy to make and easy to scale up or down to fit the number of egg whites that you have on hand. We probably wouldn’t make a smaller amount than this, but that’s mainly because we’d just make pasta dough with three or fewer egg whites. The taste, while not super-chocolatey, is good, and the keeping ability of cakes made from this recipe is excellent, especially if they’re frosted on all sides. Overall, we’d say the chocolate version gets four stars.

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