This delicious vanilla sheet cake is soft, moist, and topped with a fluffy whipped vanilla buttercream. It’s the ultimate dream cake for any and all vanilla lovers. A vanilla sheet cake with a couple of slices plated

There is just something nostalgic about a simple vanilla cake. It reminds me of childhood birthday parties and other special celebrations. A good vanilla cake is bright and beautiful without being over-the-top fancy, which makes it suited for any occasion.

Why this recipe is so great:

  • Easy to make – All you need is an electric mixer, handheld or stand mixer, and a little patience mixing the batter. Other than that, the process is super easy.
  • Tastes amazing – This vanilla sheet cake is rich and buttery with the most lovely vanilla flavor. The buttercream is fluffy, creamy, and melt-in-your-mouth good.
  • Feeds a crowd – This sheet cake recipe can serve up to 24 people, which makes it great for parties and large gatherings.
  • Can be made in advance – This cake can be made and fully assembled the day before so it’s perfect during any busy holiday season.

A vanilla sheet take topped with vanilla buttercream and sprinkles.

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • Cake flour – can be substituted with all-purpose flour in a pinch
  • Baking powder & baking soda
  • Unsalted butter
  • Granulated & powdered sugar
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla extract and/or vanilla bean
  • Milk – any kind
  • Sour cream – plain yogurt or mayonnaise works too

How to make vanilla sheet cake:

(the ingredient amounts are listed in the printable recipe card further below)

A picture collage of how to make vanilla cake.

  1. In a medium bowl, toss together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  3. Slowly beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla and sour cream.
  4. Stir in half of the flour mixture and mix in the milk.
  5. Then stir in the remaining flour mixture until just combined.
  6. Pour the batter into a parchment paper-lined 9×13″ baking pan. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.

Vanilla cake batter in a mixing bowl and baking pan.

Expert tips:

  • Room temperature ingredients – Make sure to have all your refrigerated ingredients – not just the butter – at room temperature before you start, by removing them from the fridge an hour in advance. Having the eggs, milk, and sour cream at room temperature will help bring the batter together without it separating.
  • Cake flour – Using store-bought cake flour really makes a difference with this recipe. However, if you are in a pinch, mix 2 & 1/4 cups AP flour with 1/4 cup cornstarch.
  • Decorating the cake – Use the back of a tablespoon to spread the buttercream frosting on the cake. Twist your wrist to create swirls and just top with sprinkles along the edges to highlight the beauty of the buttercream, especially if you are using vanilla beans.

A vanilla cake partially topped with vanilla buttercream swirls.

FAQ:

What is a sheet cake?

A sheet cake is a cake baked in a large shallow rectangular pan, such as a jelly roll pan. So a single layer 9×13″ cake is technically a quarter sheet cake but is often referred to as a sheet cake, nonetheless.

How do I substitute vanilla bean for vanilla paste or extract?

One vanilla bean is equivalent to 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract.

How to store vanilla sheet cake:

Tightly cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Bring to room temperature by letting it sit out on the counter for 1 hour before serving.

How to freeze vanilla sheet cake:

The cake can be frozen with or without the frosting. Tightly wrap the cake in a double layer of saran wrap and store in the freezer for up to 3 hours. Thaw overnight in the fridge and bring to room temperature before serving.

A slice of vanilla cake topped with vanilla buttercream and sprinkles on a light blue plate.

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Did you make this recipe? Please kindly leave a comment with your star rating below.

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Vanilla Sheet Cake


  • Author: Lily Ernst
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 30 min
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 12-24

Description

This delicious vanilla sheet cake is soft, moist and topped with a fluffy vanilla buttercream. It’s the ultimate dream cake for vanilla lovers.


Ingredients

Cake

  • 2 & 1/2 cups (250g) cake flour, sifted
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 & 1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large whole eggs, room temperature
  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (60g) sour cream, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (188ml) milk, room temperature

Buttercream

  • 1 cup (227g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • seeds of 1 vanilla bean or 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 cups (500g) powdered sugar
  • Sprinkles for decorating
  • 46 tbsp milk or cream

Instructions

Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line a 9×13″ metal baking pan with parchment paper or grease and flour if using a glass or ceramic baking dish. Set aside.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy (about 2 minutes).
  4. Slowly beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla and sour cream.
  5. Stir in half of the flour mixture and mix in the milk.
  6. Then stir in the remaining flour mixture until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool fully before frosting.

Frosting

  1. Beat the butter, salt, and vanilla until light and fluffy.
  2. Add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing well in between. Add in the cream or milk, 1 tablespoon at a time as needed.
  3. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute after the last addition of powdered sugar for a fluffy and airy texture. Spread on cooled cake and decorate with sprinkles if desired.

Notes

Leftover cake can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Bring to room temperature by letting it sit out on the counter for 1 hour before serving.

  • Category: dessert
  • Method: bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: vanilla sheet cake recipe

Recipe adapted from Oh Sweet Basil by Just So Tasty.

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