Vanilla Sheet Cake

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This vanilla sheet cake is a breeze to prepare. It’s moist and delectable, light, fluffy, and absolutely delicious! Perfect for backyard barbecues and birthday parties.

A slice of sheet cake on the pan.
Vanilla Cake in Sheet Pan

Need a sweet dessert recipe? Our vanilla cake recipe combines simple ingredients for a vanilla cake moist and flavorful enough to stand on its own, or dressed up with any number of frostings.

Ingredients and substitutes

  • Flour – I like cake flour for this recipe because it lends a wonderful soft cake with a tender crumb. If you do not have cake flour you can make your own cake flour substitute
  • Butter – I always use unsalted butter so I can control the amount of salt in the cake. But, if salted butter is all you have use it and omit salt in the recipe.
  • Milk – I use full-fat 3% milk. You can also use skimmed or low-fat milk.
  • Vanilla – I think vanilla bean paste is perfect to use for this cake but you can certainly use vanilla extract or substitute some of the sugar for vanilla sugar.
A sheetcake on the cake board.
Vanilla Cake in Sheet Pan
How long will this cake keep?

Unfrosted this cake will keep at room temperature for 3 to 4 days. Well wrapped in the fridge it will keep for a week. It can also be frozen for up to a month. Once frosted, it will keep at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. In the fridge for a week and can be frozen for up to a month.

How do you freeze cakes?

If you can’t use a cake immediately, I always recommend freezing rather than chilling. I find the freeze does a better job of locking in moisture as compared to the fridge.
Wrap the cake well in plastic wrap, then in parchment paper. If you plan to freeze it for longer, wrap it in aluminum foil again. The parchment will prevent freezer burns while the aluminum will keep the smell of other foods from getting into the cake.

What is the difference between a white cake and a vanilla cake?

The main difference is the use of egg whites as compared to whole eggs. The absence of egg yolks in a white cake gives it a lighter and brighter batter which bakes whiter than other vanilla cakes. Using white butter or oil makes a white cake appear whiter too!

A slice of sheet cake on the pan.

Vanilla Sheet Cake

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Calories: 552kcal
Adjust Servings Here: 16 servings


This vanilla sheet cake is a breeze to prepare. It's moist and delectable, light, fluffy, and absolutely delicious! Perfect for backyard barbecues and birthday parties.


Cake Batter

  • 3 cups (375 g) Cake flour
  • tsp Baking powder
  • 1 tsp Baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup (226 g) Butter unsalted, room temperature
  • cup (300 g) Sugar
  • 4 large Eggs
  • 1 cup (240 ml) Sour cream
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Vanilla buttercream

  • 1 cup (227 g) Butter unsalted, room temperature
  • 4 cups (480 g) Powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) Whole milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract

Simple syrup

  • ½ cup (100 g) Sugar
  • 1 cup (240 ml) Water
  • 1 tsp Lemon juice


  • Oven – Preheat the oven to 325°F /165°C/ Gas Mark – 3
  • Pan – Grease and line a 9 x 13 inch sheet pan for a 2-inch cake or an 18 x 13 sheet pan for a 1-inch cake with parchment paper.
  • Dry ingredients – Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Wet ingredients – In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Next add the eggs, one at a time. Followed by the vanilla extract.
    Pro tip– adding eggs one at a time will prevent the eggs from curdling. If the batter does curdle just add a tablespoon of flour to help stabilize it.
  • Combine – Next, add the flour and milk in three batches. Combine well but do not over-mix.
    Pro tip – we do not want to activate the gluten in the flour so work gently once you add the flour.
  • Pan – Pour the cake batter into the prepared sheet pan. Bake on the middle rack for 20 to 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
    Pro tip – using baking/ cake strips for your pans will prevent a dome and excess caramelization around the edges which looks better for layer cakes.
  • Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then invert onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
    Pro tip – always cool cakes completely before decorating otherwise the frosting will melt on warm cakes.

Vanilla buttercream

  • In the bow of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until light and fluffy.
  • Then, add the salt, and powdered sugar one cup at a time. Once all the powdered sugar is in add the water or milk and vanilla extract.
  • Continue to whip for 2 to 3 minutes until the buttercream is pale but light and fluffy.

Simple syrup

  • To prepare the simple syrup, boil the sugar, water, and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat. Once all the sugar is dissolved, boil a minute more – then cool completely.


  • Using a bread knife or cake leveler, level the cake by cutting the domes off. Brush each layer with simple syrup.
    Pro tip – Watch a video – how to level, torte, and fill cake like a pro.
  • Place the cake on the cake board. Add dollops of buttercream and spread evenly with an offset spatula. You can add more frosting on the sides of the cake. Smooth the buttercream as best you can.
    Pro tip – an offset spatula for the top and a straight-edged spatula for the sides of the cake does a better job of smoothing. You can also dip a bench scraper in warm water for final smoothing
  • I kept it simple and I used a few dragees on top of the cake.
    Pro tip – Transfer any remaining buttercream to a piping bag with a piping tip. Pipe a border on the top and bottom of the cake. Alternatively, this cake can be coved with fondant as well.

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Nutrition Information
Nutrition Facts
Vanilla Sheet Cake
Amount Per Serving (0 g)
Calories 552 Calories from Fat 252
% Daily Value*
Fat 28g43%
Saturated Fat 17g106%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Cholesterol 116mg39%
Sodium 422mg18%
Potassium 111mg3%
Carbohydrates 73g24%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 55g61%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 873IU17%
Vitamin C 0.3mg0%
Calcium 54mg5%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

The nutrition information and metric conversion are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee its accuracy. If this data is important to you please verify with your trusted nutrition calculator. Thank you

Keywords – Sponge cake for cake decorating, Sponge cake for novelty cakes, Vanilla Sponge Cake
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