What’s the Difference Between Yellow Cake and Vanilla Cake?

If you’re craving a vanilla-flavored cake, you might order the yellow cake or the vanilla cake, thinking that they’re entirely the same thing. But while these cake flavors are similar, they’re not identical. The white cake uses egg whites and cake flour, producing a more delicate texture than the denser and sturdier yellow variety.

Hey, everyone! My name is Michelle, and I love vanilla cake. In fact, I believe that vanilla cake hails in comparison to chocolate cake. (I know, some people might hate me for that!) Many people ask me what the difference between yellow and vanilla is, and I’m here to share my knowledge.

Have you been wondering what the difference is between yellow cake and vanilla cake? Don’t worry; you’re not alone. Keep reading to find out the key differences – and discover which type of cake you’ll be making for the upcoming party.

What are we waiting for? “Let them talk about cake!

4 Differences Between Yellow and Vanilla Cake

Vanilla cake and yellow cake are pretty similar. They both have a highly enjoyable vanilla flavor. Yet, they’re not the same thing. This can cause quite a bit of confusion – much like the befuddlement surrounding whether or not red velvet is actually “chocolate cake.”

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the four critical differences between yellow and vanilla cake.

Note: Vanilla cake can often be described as yellow or white cake. It all comes down to the ingredients. For the sake of this article, I will be describing vanilla cake as a “white cake.” 

1. Appearance

The most apparent difference between these two types of cake is their appearance.

Vanilla cake is, well, stark white. 

Yellow cake, on the other hand, has a yellow tint to it.

2. Egg Content

What gives the cake its distinct colors? It all comes down to the egg content used in the recipes.

Vanilla cake is typically made with just egg whites, while yellow cake is made with the whole egg – including the yolks. Sometimes, the recipe calls for a few additional yolks. This not only makes a more decadent and indulgent flavor, but it creates the famous yellow cast of yellow cake.

3. Flour Content

Another key difference between these two types of cake is the flour used to create them. 

The vanilla cake will typically utilize cake flour, while yellow cake requires bleached all-purpose flour.

The flour content has an impact on the consistency of the batter, with the vanilla cake being more liquidy and the yellow cake having a thicker texture.

It also plays a role in the cake’s final texture, which will be discussed further in the next point.

4. Texture

The final difference between yellow cake and vanilla cake is the texture.

Let’s look at vanilla cake first. Due to the combination of egg whites and cake flour, the vanilla cake has a much more delicate and spongy texture. It’s also fluffy and lightweight, so it should be paired with airier frostings, like whipped cream.

The yellow cake uses eggs (with the yolks) and all-purpose flour. This mixture leads to a sturdier and denser cake, creating the ideal base for heavier toppings like buttercream and fondant. 


OK, home bakers! Now you know the key differences between yellow cake and vanilla cake. If you want to keep learning more about this topic, check out these frequently asked questions below – asked by readers just like you.

Is yellow cake and vanilla cake the same?

Technically, yellow cake and vanilla cake are the same things. It really comes down to the eggs and flour used in the recipe. That said, white cakes are made with egg whites and cake flour, while the yellow cake is made with eggs (including the yolks) and bleached all-purpose flour.

Do white cake and yellow cake taste the same?

White cake and yellow cake have similar flavors. However, because yellow cake includes the yolks of the eggs, it tends to be dense and more decadent than white cake. White cake is far more delicate, airy, and spongy than yellow cake.

What are the 3 most popular cake flavors?

The top three cake flavors change regularly. However, the most recent findings show that chocolate cake is the most popular cake flavor, followed by cheesecake and red velvet cake. Vanilla (white and yellow cakes) come in fourth place.

It’s Time to Enjoy a Yellow or Vanilla Cake!

Yellow cake and vanilla cake are similar but not the same. Vanilla cake (white cake) is made with egg whites and cake flour. Yellow cake is made with eggs (with the yolks) and bleached all-purpose flour, creating a sturdier and thicker cake ideal for heavier frostings.

What type of cake do you prefer, yellow or vanilla?

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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