Sweet and fluffy Vanilla Sheet Cake is a wonderful classic homemade treat that is easy to make for birthdays or use as a poke cake base!
Why We Love This Vanilla Cake from Scratch
- Vanilla sheet cakes are great for parties and get-togethers because you can serve a lot of people easily. Swap out the sprinkles on top to match any occasion!
- Light and fluffy, this made-from-scratch cake has just the right amount of sweetness and vanilla flavor, without the overpowering sugar overload that is often found in store-bought cakes.
- Made with simple pantry staples, this easy vanilla cake recipe is a cinch to mix with no complicated ingredients or tools. While box mixes are convenient, homemade is just as easy with this recipe.
- The vanilla buttercream frosting comes together in minutes and is so delicious that no one will blame you if not all of it ends up on the cake!
Ingredients You’ll Need to Make Vanilla Sheet Cake
FOR THE CAKE
PANTRY ITEMS: To make the cake, you will need all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and vegetable oil.
REFRIGERATED ITEMS: A few eggs, sour cream, and milk are all needed for this recipe. You can use whatever milk and sour cream you have on hand. I usually go with 2% milk and regular sour cream.
SPICES/EXTRACT: You will also need vanilla extract and a little salt to boost the cake’s flavor.
FOR THE FROSTING
SUGAR: Make sure to have plenty of powdered sugar on hand to make the frosting.
BUTTER: Slightly softened unsalted butter is needed for the frosting. If you have salted butter, that’s totally okay to use too.
VANILLA: You will need more vanilla extract for the buttercream frosting.
How to Make Vanilla CakeJump to Recipe
STEP 1 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a 9×13 cake pan with parchment paper. Spray the parchment with cooking spray and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Using a mixer or a large bow with beaters, mix the butter, sugar, sour cream, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract.
STEP 2 On low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, beating just until the dry ingredients are incorporated, careful not to overmix. Beat in the milk until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 33-35 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
STEP 3 Take the cake out of the oven and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
STEP 4 Make the frosting by adding the butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract to a mixing bowl and beating until the frosting is fluffy. Apply the frosting evenly over the cooled cake and add sprinkles or other decorations if you like.
Tips & Tricks
- To ensure that your cake, and future cakes, all come out moist and fluffy, be sure to use the spoon and scoop method of measuring out your flour. When you dig a measuring cup into a flour container the flour becomes compacted and you end up with as much as 25% more flour than the recipe calls for. Instead, spoon out the flour into the measuring cup for the correct amount of flour. You could also use a food scale to measure the right amount according to weight.
- The cake can be stored in an airtight container and left on the counter for three days. After three days, put the cake in the fridge for four more days, or wrap it tightly and store it in the freezer for up to two months.
- Be sure to check the dates on your baking powder and baking soda to ensure that nothing is expired and that your cake rises beautifully.
- Set out the refrigerated items ahead of time to come to room temperature so that the ingredients mix better and more quickly. This will help prevent overmixing and therefore, prevent a dense, dry cake.
Vanilla Sheet Cake FAQ
What makes cakes moist and fluffy?
For a moist and fluffy cake, there are two things that need to happen when baking a cake. The first is to sift or whisk the dry ingredients together. This not only removes any clumps in the ingredients but also fluffs them up, introducing air into the mix to make it lighter. Including an ingredient like sour cream also helps as the acid in the cream, which makes it sour, activates the baking soda to help the cake rise even more. The second is to use an oil, like the vegetable oil in this recipe, which helps retain the moisture in the cake. These two tips will generally produce a moist, fluffy cake every time.
What’s the difference between a sheet cake and a cake?
Sheet cakes are baked in long, shallow sheet pans, which seriously feed a crowd! While still moist and fluffy, sheet cakes are not as tall as regular cakes, due to the shallow pans they are baked in. Cakes are baked in 9×13 pans or in a few smaller pans and then layered. Sometimes cakes baked in 9×13-inch pans are called sheet cakes simply because they are large and single-layered and covered with frosting, like this Vanilla Sheet Cake.
Can dogs eat vanilla cake?
There are no toxic ingredients in this vanilla cake recipe so yes, your dog could have a small amount of vanilla cake. There is sugar in this and just about every cake recipe, however, which is obviously not healthy for dogs. So while this cake will not harm your pet, they likely do not need their own slice to enjoy. There are plenty of sugar-free, healthy alternatives for them – like these Apple & Peanut Butter Pupcakes.
Other Recipes You May like
- Lemon Bundt Cake with Strawberry Frosting
- German Chocolate Cake Recipe
- Angel Food Cake
- 4th of July Poke Cake
- Homemade Chocolate Cake Recipe
Vanilla Sheet Cake
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour (see note)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs at room temperature
- ½ cup vegetable oil (or melted butter)
- ½ cup sour cream at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup milk at room temperature
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter slightly melted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Rainbow sprinkles (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9-inch x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper and then grease the paper with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, sour cream, and vanilla on low speed until well combined.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Pour in the milk and mix. (Do not over mix or the cake will be dry.)
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 32-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven and let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Spread the frosting over the top of the cake in an even layer. Top with sprinkles if desired. Cut the cake into 12 slices (3×4 grid) before serving.
- To measure the flour, put the measuring cup on the counter then use a spoon to scoop flour directly out of the bag and lightly place it into the cup. If you use the measuring cup to scoop directly from the bag, you’ll likely end up with 25% more flour than you actually need because the flour gets packed down into the cup. This will cause the cake to come out dry.
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temp for up to 3 days, in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.
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