Sheet Pan Vanilla Cake Recipe

What better way to end a long day than with a piece of moist, vanilla cake? You can whip up this recipe in no time, and it also includes step-by-step instructions on how to make a creamy frosting that complements the vanilla cake perfectly. Whether you're making this for a birthday party or just to curb your craving for sweets, it is the perfect cake recipe. You can also finish it off with a dusting of sprinkles to give it a fun pop of color. 

Recipe developer Catherine Brookes came up with this delicious and easy recipe that goes great as an after-dinner treat. "I love how a simple, one-bowl method can result in such a delicious fluffy, moist cake. This cake definitely satisfies a sweet tooth!" Brookes raves. She also shares why she likes using a sheet pan to make the cake instead other methods. "It keeps the recipe quick and fuss-free. Just one layer of cake that's easy to ice and slice up," she notes. 

Gather the ingredients for this sheet pan vanilla cake

If you bake a lot, your kitchen may already contain most of the items on this list. You'll need unsalted butter, sugar, large eggs, all-purpose flour, baking powder, milk, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar. There is also one optional ingredient — sprinkles for decorating.

Once you have everything ready to go, you can make this wonderful sheet pan vanilla cake. 

Preheat the oven and make the batter

Before you do anything else, preheat the oven to 350 F and grease and line a 12x19-inch cake pan with parchment paper.

Then, get started on the batter. Grab a large mixing bowl and add a cup of the butter along with the sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, ¼ cup milk, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Beat with an electric whisk until completely smooth. 

Pour the batter into the baking pan

Now that the batter's good to go, simply transfer the mixture to the prepared cake pan and smooth it into an even later. Pop the cake into the oven and bake it for about 35-40 minutes.

You can tell the cake is done by using the good ol' skewer trick. Just insert a skewer into the center of the cake; if it comes out clean, you can take the cake out of the oven. If it doesn't, let it cook a little longer. 

When you remove the pan from the oven, let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the vanilla frosting

You'll need to use an electric stand mixer to make the vanilla frosting. Simply add the remaining cup of butter and 1 ½ teaspoons of vanilla extract to the bowl, then turn the mixer on and beat the mixture for a few minutes on medium speed. Keep mixing until the butter and sugar are nice and smooth.

Sift in half the powdered sugar and pour in roughly half of the remaining ¼ cup milk. Beat again until nice and smooth.

Sift in the remaining powdered sugar and beat to combine. Add a little more milk if the frosting seems too thick to spread easily. You may find you don't need to use all of the milk. 

Continue beating for another 5 minutes to make the frosting smooth and fluffy. "The frosting is creamy, smooth, and sweet, with plenty of vanilla flavor," Brookes notes. 

Decorate the cake and serve

Once the cake finishes cooling, spread the frosting on top in an even layer. If you opt to use sprinkles, you can also add those to the cake now. To serve, simply slice into squares and enjoy!

This cake is excellent on its own, but Brookes also provides a few of her favorite serving suggestions. She thinks it goes well "with chocolate sauce, ice cream, or some fresh berries on the side." 

And, you can enjoy leftovers for a few days. "Leftovers should be kept in an airtight container at room temperature. It should last for up to 4 days," Brookes says. 

Sheet Pan Vanilla Cake Recipe
4.9 from 21 ratings
What better way to end a long day than with a piece of moist, vanilla cake? You can whip up this recipe in no time, including the creamy frosting
Prep Time
25
minutes
Cook Time
35
minutes
Servings
15
Servings
sheet pan vanilla cake squares
Total time: 60 minutes
Ingredients
  • 2 cups unsalted butter, divided, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ cup milk, divided
  • 3 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
Optional Ingredients
  • sprinkles, to decorate
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease and line a 12x9-inch rectangular cake pan with parchment paper.
  2. Add 1 cup butter, the sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, ¼ cup milk and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Beat with an electric hand whisk until completely smooth.
  4. Transfer the batter to your prepared baking pan and smooth it into an even layer.
  5. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden on top and a skewer poked into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  6. Leave the cake in the pan for about 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. To make the vanilla frosting, add the remaining 1 cup butter and 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract to the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Beat for a few minutes on a medium speed to get it nice and smooth.
  8. Sift about half the powdered sugar and pour half the remaining ¼ cup milk into the bowl. Beat again until smooth.
  9. Sift in the rest of the powdered sugar and beat to combine. If the frosting is a little too thick and not a spreadable consistency, add more of the milk. You may find you don't need to use all of it.
  10. Beat on a medium speed for a further 5 minutes to get the frosting smooth and fluffy.
  11. Once the cake has cooled completely, spread the frosting all over the top in an even layer. Finish with some sprinkles, if desired.
  12. Slice into squares and enjoy.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 450
Total Fat 26.2 g
Saturated Fat 16.1 g
Trans Fat 1.0 g
Cholesterol 115.5 mg
Total Carbohydrates 50.9 g
Dietary Fiber 0.5 g
Total Sugars 37.4 g
Sodium 123.6 mg
Protein 3.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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