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Easy Vanilla Sheet Cake

Nothing beats a big slice of vanilla sheet cake with dreamy vanilla buttercream!

Every bite is rich, buttery, and fabulously moist. And no matter the occasion, it’s a crowd-pleaser.

Serve it for birthdays, holidays, and more – you won’t have any leftovers. After all, what’s not to love?

A slice of vanilla sheet cake in a white plate with sprinkles.
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Vanilla Sheet Cake

When I said that vanilla sheet cake is the ideal dessert for any occasion, I meant it!

And it’s so easy to whip up, it’s sure to become your go-to party dessert.

The cake is wonderfully tender with just the right amount of sweetness. And the buttercream is super fluffy.

Better still, it’s so easy to jazz up! Throw on some sprinkles, mix in some chocolate chips, or add a swirl of caramel.

No matter what, it’s a winner.

I believe everyone should have a few solid sheet cake recipes in their back pocket. And this is the top of the list!

Sliced vanilla sheet cake, portion missing in a baking sheet.


It might not be as easy as a boxed mix, but this cake comes together in a snap!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Cake Flour: It has a low gluten structure and fine texture. So, your cake will be extremely tender and fluffy. 
  • Baking Powder: To help it rise. 
  • Salt: To enahnce the sweetness and balance the flavor. You’ll need it in the cake and the frosting.
  • Butter: It’s in the cake for richness and moisture. And it’s what makes the buttercream…well, buttery.
  • Granulated and Powdered Sugar: To add sweetness to the cake and frosting, repsectivly.
  • Eggs: They create structure and stability in the cake. Plus, they add moisture and rich flavor. 
  • Milk and Heavy Cream: Use whole milk in the cake batter for the best flavor and texture. Use heavy cream in the buttercream for an ultra-dreamy, luscious finish. 
  • Vanilla: It’s vanilla sheet cake, right? If you can, reach for vanilla paste! If not, get high-quality, pure vanilla extract for the best taste.
  • Sprinkles: They’re optional, but really make this cake pop!
Sliced vanilla sheet cake, portion missing in a baking sheet.

How To Make Vanilla Sheet Cake

The key to this cake is to be gentle with the batter. So, I suggest beating the butter and sugar with a mixer, then doing the rest by hand.

Here are the steps:

1. PREP. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and grease a 9×13-inch baking pan. Gather all the ingredients and ensure the dairy and eggs are at room temperature.

2. Mix. Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the vanilla and eggs one at a time. Then, sift the dry ingredients and alternately add them to the butter mixture with the milk, mixing until just combined.

3. BAKE. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.

4. FROST. While cake cools, beat the butter until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, cream, vanilla and salt. Beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

5. DECORATE. Once the cake is cooled, frost with the buttercream. Add sprinkles or other decorations, if desired, and chill for 15-20 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!

Square slice of vanilla sheet cake with rainbow sprinkles on a white plate.

Tips for the Best Sheet Cake

Follow these tips, and I guarantee your cake will be perfect!  

  • Use cake flour. It’s tempting to reach for all-purpose, but this is the secret to the best crumb.
  • No cake flour? Here’s an easy substitute: Remove 2 tablespoons of APF from every 1 cup and replace it with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. This recipe uses 3 cups of cake flour. So, you’ll need to remove 6 tablespoons of APF and add 6 tablespoons of cornstarch back into the flour. Give it a dry whisk before adding any other ingredients. 
  • Do not frost a warm cake. This may be self-explanatory, but it’s very important. A warm cake will melt your buttercream. 
  • Buttercream should be at room temperature before frosting. If it’s too cold, spreading it around may tear the cake. 
  • Make it your own! Customize your frosting by adding food coloring, melted chocolate, peanut butter, etc. Or top the frosted cake with sprinkles, candy, fruit, edible flowers, etc.
Square slice of vanilla sheet cake with sprinkles.

Make-Ahead and Freezing Tips

Cake days are usually busy days. Luckily, you can make this tasty cake the day before you need it.

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To Make Ahead: Follow the recipe for the cake and frosting as directed. Wrap them separately, pop the frosting in the fridge, and assemble the next day (let the frosting warm to room temperature first and stir well).

To Store: Wrap the cake in the pan with plastic or transfer slices to an airtight container. Keep on the counter for 1-2 days or in the fridge for 3-4 days.

To Freeze: Cover the cake (frosted or unfrosted) in two layers of plastic wrap and store in the freezer for 2 months. Let thaw in the fridge overnight before serving. 

More Sheet Cake Recipes You’ll Love

Red Velvet Sheet Cake
Texas Sheet Cake
Lemon Sheet Cake with Lemon Glaze
Peanut Butter Cake
Pastel de Tres Leches

Vanilla Sheet Cake

Course: DessertCuisine: American


Prep time


Cooking time





Nothing beats a big slice of homemade vanilla sheet cake with dreamy vanilla buttercream! Every bite is rich, buttery, and fabulously moist.


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 4 large eggs, room temperature

  • 3 cups cake flour

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • For the Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened

  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

  • 1/3 cup heavy cream or milk

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • pinch salt

  • sprinkles, for garnish, optional


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a 9×13-inch baking pan.
  • In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the vanilla and eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  • Sift the cake flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl. Then, alternate adding the dry and milk to the butter mixture, starting and ending with the flour. After each addition, stir by hand until just combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, spread it evenly, and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven and set it aside to cool.
  • When the cake is almost cooled, make the frosting. Beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, then gradually add the powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy. When smooth, add the cream, vanilla, and salt and beat for 1-2 more minutes.
  • Spread the frosting evenly over the cooled cake. If desired, garnish with sprinkles. Then slice, serve, and enjoy!


  • Check the cake after 25 minutes and bake in 5-minute intervals to avoid overbaking.
  • Frosting too thick? Add more milk or cream, a tablespoon at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.
  • Store frosted cake at room temperature (covered) for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Vanilla sheet cake.

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author avatar
Haley van der Ploeg
Haley van der Ploeg is a food writer and content creator for Insanely Good Recipes, where she authors blog posts, creates recipes, and crafts tantalizing photos.

Haley is passionate about food and its ability to gather people across cultures, languages, and generations. She believes everyone can learn to cook.

Most days, you can find Haley reading, baking elaborate cakes, and hosting get-togethers for friends and family. If Haley isn't home, she’s probably on a plane jetting off to exciting adventures and new cuisines.

She lives with her husband in the Netherlands and has taught him that vegetables *can* taste good.

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