Cakes

Simple Vanilla Sheet Cake

4.35 from 29 votes
Keep it simple when feeding a crowd with my Simple Vanilla Sheet Cake recipe — it's moist & topped with fluffy vanilla buttercream. What else could you want?
A vanilla sheet cake with slices served

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Hi Bold Bakers!

WHAT YOU GET: A simple vanilla sheet cake recipe, topped with fluffy vanilla buttercream, that will please everybody in the crowd.

No special occasion is required for this simple and delightful vanilla sheet cake with fluffy vanilla buttercream. I strongly believe a great Vanilla Cake should be in every baker’s repertoire, but sometimes you need a cake that will feed a larger audience than a three-layered circular cake.

This crowd-pleasing sheet cake has everything I love — a deliciously moist and tender crumb, the lovely taste of vanilla, and the most unbelievably fluffy buttercream icing. 

My homemade vanilla sheet cake recipe feeds 20 people easily, so feel free to invite a few extra folks around. Or, prepare for your next gathering and freeze this lovely cake until you’re ready to frost and serve! 

Top-down view of my vanilla sheet cake

Do I Need Cake Flour? 

Cake flour is essential for the tender, tight crumb of this cake, but don’t worry if you don’t have any on your shelf — you can easily make your own cake flour by following my recipe here.

What Type Of Frosting Should I Use On Sheet Cake?

This recipe calls for my Best-Ever Vanilla Buttercream, but feel free to explore other options that may fit your flavor preferences (and the weather) better. Try my Chocolate Buttercream or my Foolproof Strawberry Buttercream. If you’re worried about serving buttercream on a hot summer day, frost this cake with a stabilized whipped cream and top with fresh summer berries. Use my Stabilized Whipped Cream recipe!

Tools You Need To Make Vanilla Sheet Cake

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • 13 x 18-inch (33 x 46-cm) half-sheet pan
  • Mixing bowls
  • Stand mixer or handheld electric mixer

A look at the interior crumb of my sheet cake

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips For Making Vanilla Sheet Cake

  • Make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature before you start. This will ensure even mixing and will create a light and moist cake.
  • Cake flour is essential for the tender, tight crumb of this cake. If you don’t have any, you can easily make your own here. Cake flour weighs less than all-purpose flour: 1 cup is equal to 4 oz/115 g (compared to 1 cup of all-purpose flour, which is 5 oz/142 g).
  • Make sure your frosting is soft and at room temperature before using, or it will tear this delicate cake.
  • A crumb coat is helpful when frosting this cake: Spread a very thin layer of frosting over the entire surface of the cake to seal in the crumbs, then refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes to firm up. Proceed with frosting the cake.
  • You can turn this into a simple layer cake by cutting the cake into thirds and stacking the layers with frosting.
  • Use my Vanilla Buttercream. Or replace the vanilla buttercream with my Best-Ever Chocolate Buttercream,  Foolproof Strawberry Buttercream, or Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream. On hot days, use my Stabilized Whipped Cream recipe and top with fresh fruit. 

Make More Sheet Cake

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Vanilla Sheet Cake Recipe

4.35 from 29 votes
Keep it simple when feeding a crowd with my Simple Vanilla Sheet Cake recipe — it's moist & topped with fluffy vanilla buttercream!
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 20 people
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Keep it simple when feeding a crowd with my Simple Vanilla Sheet Cake recipe — it's moist & topped with fluffy vanilla buttercream!
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 20 people

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (8 oz/225 g) butter (softened)
  • cups (14 oz/395 g) granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup (8 fl oz/240 ml) whole milk (at room temperature)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (12 oz/340 g) cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 recipe Vanilla Buttercream

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and butter and flour a 13 x 18-inch (33 x 46-cm) half-sheet pan. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or in a medium bowl with a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until fluffy.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time and scraping down the bowl after each addition. Beat in the milk and vanilla extract.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together, then fold into the butter mixture until evenly mixed.
  • Spread evenly in the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Let cool completely before frosting with Vanilla Buttercream. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
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Chloe
Chloe
20 hours ago

Wow! This recipe got me through my first half sheet cake ever. Thank you!! For religious reasons I substituted margarine sticks instead of butter and homemade oat milk instead of cow’s milk. Luckily it turned out PERFECTLY. I’ll admit, I got nervous when I added the oat milk because the batter formed curdles, but then the consistency evened out again once I added the dry ingredients and stirred throughly. I also added ~7-8 minutes to the bake time. I have a deliciously moist, spongy, vanilla cake for an my family’s birthday!

Kenneth
Kenneth
1 day ago

Is this cake a moist and flavorful cake. I have been searching and can’t find one I like? Thanks

Gabby
Gabby
25 days ago

How tall is this cake? 1.5”, 2”? I’m looking to do a 2 layer 1/2 sheet cake, thinking of making 2 of these and putting a filling of vanilla pudding.

Tricia
Tricia
2 months ago

Hi Gemma. I made this recipe for my granddaughter’s baby shower and it was a huge hit. Could I make this cake in 2 cake pans to get a layer cake? I want each layer to be taller that 1 inch, and I’ve found I’m getting skinny layers with most recipes. Thanks.

Gary Mc
Gary Mc
2 months ago

I would like to make a marble version of this cake – what would you suggest to the chocolate element?

Cydney
Cydney
4 months ago

I made this for a friend’s birthday and it was a hit! This is a wonderful recipe!

Abiola
Abiola
5 months ago

Hi Gemma,

I noticed that this recipes requires full fat milk. Can I replace with non-dairy milk such as soya and still use the same quantity as noted in the recipe? Thanks

Anna Martzelou
Anna Martzelou
11 months ago

The recipe is AMAZING!!! Tried it and it was a hit at work

Rosie Leparulo
Rosie Leparulo
1 year ago

can I make this in an 11×14 pan?

Ray
Ray
1 year ago

If my half sheet cake is 2 inches thick, could I double the recipe to get a taller cake? Thank you!

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.

 

Weeknight Family Favorites Chapter from the Bigger Bolder Baking Every Day Cookbook