This healthier vanilla cake made with 100% whole wheat flour has a moist and tender crumb. Did you can have delicious cake made with whole grain flour? We’ll show you what flour to use for a light and fluffy cake.
If you are a whole wheat only kitchen like us, having a good cake recipe is a must. After years of struggling to make good cakes, we finally have a tried and true recipe.
While a cake made with whole wheat flour is not going to be as light and airy as a cake made with all purpose flour (unless you sift it) you can make a really delicious cake with 100% whole wheat flour. The very best flour to use for the lightest, and fluffiest cake is freshly ground flour from soft white wheat berries.
What's Cool About This Recipe
- Tender crumb: This whole wheat cake has a moist and tender crumb thanks to the sour cream and higher sugar content. We decided to add a little more sugar then we would usually do because we wanted a tender crumb. When we developed the recipe for our chocolate cake with reduced sugar we were able to use less sugar because the cocoa helps create a more soft and tender crumb.
- 100% whole grain: Yip, you saw that right! 100% whole wheat, but you can’t use generic whole wheat flour. You need whole wheat pastry flour, or the ultimate choice, fresh ground soft white wheat flour.
- Small batch: This recipe makes enough cake batter for a 2 layer 6 inch round cake or 9 cupcakes. You can easily double the recipe for an 8 or 9 inch cake.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Flour options for this recipe
- Fresh milled from these grains: Soft white wheat (recommended), hard white wheat, spelt.
- Store bought: whole wheat pastry flour or sometimes we like to use this Ultra Fine Whole Wheat Flour from Living Sky Grains (this will make a cake with the texture of all purpose flour).
- Baking powder: This is to make the cake rise up.
- Salt: Salt is important for making the flavors in the cake stand out and not be bland.
- Sugar: We use organic cane sugar in this recipe, we have not tried it with any other sugar.
- Oil: Any mild tasting oil will work. We usually use avocado oil or mild olive oil.
- Eggs: Just large chicken eggs, they make the cake fluffy.
- Sour cream: This helps give the cake moisture and make the crumb tender. You can use buttermilk, but you’ll need to replace the sour cream and the milk with buttermilk.
- Vanilla extract: Get a vanilla extract that smells good because that means it tastes good. We go for a pure vanilla extract.
- Milk: We use whole cow’s milk, but any milk should work.
See recipe card for quantities.
- You can bake this into cupcakes, it will make about 9 regular size cupcakes. Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
This is a quick overview of the instructions with photos. See the recipe card for quantities and full details.
Step 1: Stir the flour, baking powder, and salt together.
Step 2: Using an electric hand mixer, mix together the oil and sugar until combined.
Step 3: Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition (very important).
Step 4: Add the sour cream and vanilla extract, mix until combined.
Step 5: Add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk.
Step 6: Beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds.
Step 7: Pour into a cake pan(s) lined with parchment paper.
Step 8: Bake at 350°F for the specified time, depending on what pan you use. Invert onto a cooling rack and remove the parchment paper. Cool completely before frosting.
If the cake is frosted and has been stored in the refrigerator, we recommend letting it set out of the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes to warm up a bit. The cake itself is much better served at room temperature.
We suggest adding frosting to the cake, we have a few options you can choose from.
If the cake is frosted it will need to be stored in the refrigerator. It should last for 2-4 days before it starts getting dry and old tasting.
If it’s not frosted then store tightly covered at room temperature for 2-3 days.
How to Freeze
You can freeze the cake before it is frosted. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place into a freezer safe bag. Freeze for up to 3 months.
To thaw unwrap the cake, cover loosely and leave at room temperature for a couple hours or just until thawed, then frost. You can also frost the cake layers while they are still frozen.
Tips From Our Kitchen
We highly recommend using fresh ground flour, it will give you the very best results. Our first choice of grain is soft white wheat, but hard white wheat, and spelt are also great choices.
Mixing each egg separately into the batter is very important, don’t skip that step.
If you want a larger cake then double the recipe.
A dry cake is usually over-baked. Bake just until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean (painted toothpicks don’t work very well for this test).
A crumbly cake can be from a cake batter that wasn’t mixed well enough or too much flour being added. For best results use a kitchen scale to measure the ingredients, and make sure the batter is mixed well.
These are a few reasons this might happen
1. You opened the oven while the cake was in the critical stage of baking.
2. The oven itself got jiggled while the cake was baking.
3. The eggs weren’t mixed in properly.
4. Your oven temperature fluctuates a lot.
Whole Wheat Vanilla Cake
- 1 cup (120 grams) Whole wheat pastry flour soft white wheat
- 1 teaspoon (4 grams) Baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- ⅔ cup (140 grams) Organic cane sugar
- ¼ cup (48 grams) Oil avocado oil or light olive oil
- 2 large Eggs
- ¼ cup (60 grams) Sour cream
- 1 ½ teaspoons (6 grams) Vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (60 grams) Milk
- Preheat the oven to 350°F
- Stir the flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl.1 cup (120 grams) Whole wheat pastry flour, 1 teaspoon (4 grams) Baking powder, ¼ teaspoon Salt
- In a large mixing bowl using an electric mixer, mix the sugar and oil until combined.⅔ cup (140 grams) Organic cane sugar, ¼ cup (48 grams) Oil
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds on medium speed after each addition.2 large Eggs
- Add the sour cream and vanilla extract, mix until combined.¼ cup (60 grams) Sour cream, 1 ½ teaspoons (6 grams) Vanilla extract
- Add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk (add ⅓ the flour and ½ of the milk, mix on low speed for a few seconds, add ⅓ more flour and the other half of the milk, mix again, add the rest of the flour and mix).¼ cup (60 grams) Milk
- Beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds
- Line 1 or 2 6-inch round cake pans with parchment paper, pour the batter into the pan(s).
- Bake for 18-22 minutes for 2 pans, or 35-40 minutes for 1 pan. Or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Invert the cake onto a cooling rack and remove the parchment paper.Let cool completely before frosting.
We calculate these nutritional facts using an estimate and they can vary drastically between ingredients used and measuring technique. So, they are not intended for medical use.