Birthday/ Cakes

Perfect Vanilla Sheet Cake

Perfect Vanilla Sheet Cake – Deliciously moist and fluffy vanilla cake recipe baked in a rectangle pan, and topped with scrumptiously creamy vanilla buttercream frosting!

Two slices of Perfect Vanilla Sheet Cake served on white plates.

Don’t you just love sheet cakes? All the tastiness of a layer cake, but without the effort of layering a cake. Sheet cakes are cakes that are baked in rectangle (or square!) pans, and are simply frosted or left plain.

No need to frost and layer here!

Perfect Vanilla Sheet Cake in a rectangle baking pan before being frosted.

So, today I bring you my Perfect Vanilla Sheet Cake. Yes, I said perfect πŸ˜‰ The sponge is so deliciously moist, yet so fluffy and tender. I love to use buttermilk in my cakes, because the moistness it brings to the crumb just cannot be beat.

This Perfect Vanilla Sheet Cake is:

  • deliciously moist and fluffy
  • quick and easy to make and decorate
  • can easily be sliced to fill with more frosting!
  • perfect for ANY party or special occasion

And I always use cake flour for cakes and cupcakes, because it makes the most fluffiest, and tender crumb. If you cannot get hold of buttermilk or cake flour, you can definitely make your own at home, check my recipe notes below!

Perfect Vanilla Sheet Cake in a rectangle baking pan topped with vanilla frosting.

Ingredients for Perfect Vanilla Sheet Cake:

For the cake

  • cake flour (see recipe notes to make your own!)
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • salt
  • eggs
  • caster/granulated sugar
  • vanilla extract
  • vegetable oil
  • buttermilk

For the frosting

  • icing/powdered sugar
  • unsalted butter
  • milk
  • vanilla extract

To top off my Vanilla Sheet Cake, I used my favourite vanilla buttercream frosting. It’s deliciously creamy and thick, and the sweetness just tops this cake off perfectly.

I’m not the only one who wants to dip theirΒ finger into that frosting, right?

Close-up of the vanilla buttercream frosting on the Perfect Vanilla Sheet Cake.

I baked my perfect vanilla sheet cake in a 13×9-inch pan, so the cake came out quite thick. Of course, if you bake your cake in a bigger or smaller pan, the thickness will change, and they will need to be baked for more or less time.

A slice of Perfect Vanilla Sheet Cake served on a white plate with a fork.

A long image of Perfect Vanilla Sheet Cake with text overlay.

More cakes to try next!

Enjoy!

4.34 from 6 votes
Perfect Vanilla Sheet Cake
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
Yields: 16 slices
Calories: 491 kcal

Deliciously moist and fluffy vanilla cake recipe baked in a rectangle pan, and topped with scrumptiously creamy vanilla buttercream frosting!

Print
Ingredients
For the Cake
  • 3 cups cake flour* 300g
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 cups caster/granulated sugar 300g
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil 180ml
  • 1 cup buttermilk** 240ml, room temperature
For the Frosting
  • 4 cups icing/powdered sugar 500g
  • 1 cup unsalted butter 226g, softened
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
For the Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Butter or spray a 13x9-inch pan, and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together the eggs. Add the sugar, and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla extract and vegetable oil, and whisk until combined. Gradually mix in the dry ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and spread out evenly. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before frosting.
For the Frosting
  1. Using a handheld or stand mixer, beat together the butter and icing sugar on low speed until light and fluffy. On medium speed, beat in the milk and vanilla extract until smooth, and spreadable. Spread the frosting over the top of the cooled cake, then slice and serve.
Notes

*Don't have cake flour? Measure out 3 cups (375g) of plain/all-purpose flour, remove 6 tablespoons, and replace with 6 tablespoons of cornflour/cornstarch. Sift well.

**To make your own buttermilk, simply measure out 1 cup (240ml) of milk, and stir inΒ 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar. Let stand for 5 - 10 minutes until the mixture starts to curdle, then it's ready to use!

Leftovers can be stored, covered, in the fridge for up to 2 - 3 days.

After the cake has cooled completely, it can be wrapped in clingfilm and refrigerated/frozen overnight, ready to be frosted the next day. The frosting can also be refrigerated overnight.

Frosted or unfrosted cake freezes well for up to 2 months.

The calories are an estimate only.

Did you make this recipe?

Tag me at @marshasbakeblog on Instagram and hashtag it #marshasbakingaddiction

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88 Comments

  • Reply
    Amanda {Striped Sptaula}
    29th May 2016 at 7:21 pm

    What a beautiful cake! I love that you’ve used buttermilk in it, it’s my favorite to use as well. There’s simply nothing like the crumb on a buttermilk cake!

  • Reply
    kushi
    30th May 2016 at 12:57 am

    This one looks so beautiful, moist and delicious. Love the recipe πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      Marsha
      30th May 2016 at 8:51 am

      Thanks, Kushi! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Demeter | Beaming Baker
    30th May 2016 at 1:12 pm

    Marsha, this cake is exactly what the title promised: perfect. πŸ™‚ You really make the most perfect, fluffy and moist cakes! Also, don’t even get me started on the vanilla frosting… wow! Can’t wait to see what else you do with this perfect vanilla sheet cake. πŸ˜‰ Pinning!

    • Reply
      Marsha
      30th May 2016 at 3:11 pm

      Thanks, Demeter! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Amanda
    31st May 2016 at 2:59 pm

    What a dreamy cake! This would be great for a graduation!

  • Reply
    Megan - The Emotional Baker
    1st June 2016 at 11:47 am

    I’ve never made a traditional sheet cake, but that gorgeous slice has me seriously craving one! Can I have this for breakfast?!? Pretty please πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      Marsha
      1st June 2016 at 7:17 pm

      Thanks, Megan! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Nicole @ Young, Broke and Hungry
    1st June 2016 at 3:01 pm

    I totally believe you! This vanilla sheet cake looks like absolute perfection.

  • Reply
    Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary
    1st June 2016 at 3:19 pm

    Sheet cakes are so dangerous, because for some reason I can never just have one slice! This vanilla sheet cake certainly looks dangerously delicious, Marsha! Pretty sure I will eat the whole thing! Cheers!

    • Reply
      Marsha
      1st June 2016 at 7:17 pm

      Thanks, Cheyanne!

  • Reply
    Zoe - Tea at Midnight
    1st June 2016 at 7:41 pm

    Your pictures always make me so hungry as it all looks so delicious!

  • Reply
    Maria
    3rd June 2016 at 6:26 pm

    I am searching for a moist vanilla/ white cake recipe and have yet to find it. I will definitely try this! How easy would it be to make this into a layered cake? Will it hold up to stacking do you think? And lastly, if I substituted 5 egg whites for the eggs would it make it whiter?

    • Reply
      Marsha
      3rd June 2016 at 6:40 pm

      This recipe will make a 8-inch or 9-inch layer cake. 2 egg whites equals about 1 whole egg, so I would use 6 egg whites in this recipe. Yes, egg whites will make a cake whiter πŸ™‚ Enjoy!

  • Reply
    tina
    30th August 2016 at 5:18 am

    Hi. Being an Indian I don’t eat egg. So can u plz suggest with which thing I can replace eggs. So dat I can try all ur recipes. Thx waiting

    • Reply
      Marsha
      30th August 2016 at 8:44 am

      Hi Tina! You can use 1/4 cup applesauce (63g) per egg (you won’t taste the applesauce!), or 1/4 cup mashed banana per egg, or even 1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil per egg πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Susie
    13th September 2016 at 3:14 am

    I love the idea of buttermilk. I would like to make this cake. Is it possible to cut in half and put a vanilla filling in before icing?

    • Reply
      Marsha
      13th September 2016 at 9:57 am

      This cake is thick enough to slice in half and fill πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Erika
    15th October 2016 at 7:05 pm

    How long should I bake it for if I triple the recipe?

    • Reply
      Marsha
      15th October 2016 at 8:12 pm

      May I ask what you’ll be baking it in? I’m not sure if tripling the recipe will be too much batter for a 13×9-inch pan.

  • Reply
    Sarah
    9th November 2016 at 3:44 am

    would I have to triple this recipe for a 11 x 15 x 2 cake sheet?

    • Reply
      Marsha
      9th November 2016 at 7:49 am

      The recipe should be fine as it is, it’ll just turn out thinner. Here’s a website I use to adapt a recipe when changing pan size http://skillet.lifehacker.com/divide-multiply-or-adapt-any-recipe-in-one-click-with-1730632423 πŸ™‚

      • Reply
        Sarah
        14th November 2016 at 3:41 am

        thank so much <3

      • Reply
        michelle
        24th February 2017 at 11:55 am

        I’m going to try this today in an 11×15 pan and will leave the measurements as is but i am making 2 separate cakes. One vanilla and i will add cocoa to the second and try to make a layer cake. Fingers crossed it works out

        • Reply
          Marsha
          24th February 2017 at 8:39 pm

          Hi Michelle, let me know how it goes!

          • michelle
            24th February 2017 at 8:48 pm

            Marsha it worked out great!! 25 minute cook time was enough for my pan. I used a 1/2 cup cocoa powder for one layer. I made some chocolate ganache frosting for in between the layers. A perfect match with your cake. Thank you again for sharing this recipe. This will be my go to cake batter. Everyone loves it!

          • Marsha
            24th February 2017 at 10:12 pm

            I’m so glad you enjoyed my recipe! The chocolate version sounds so good! πŸ™‚

        • Reply
          Rebekah
          1st May 2017 at 3:41 pm

          Hi Michelle! I’m thinking of using your chocolate adaptation & am curious – did you add the 1/2c cocoa in addition to the flour or in place of some of the flour? And how was the flavor? Typical chocolate cake or more of a dark chocolate or what? Thanks so much!

          • Marsha
            1st May 2017 at 6:46 pm

            Hi Rebekah! I replaced 1/2 cup of flour with 1/2 cup of cocoa powder. It depends on the cocoa powder you use, as to whether it tastes like typical or dark, but I find the chocolate version of this cake has just the right amount of chocolate flavour πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    michelle
    12th January 2017 at 2:23 pm

    Looks so good! I just started baking and never thought to use buttermilk. I’m going to try this recipe. Can you please tell me if i should double the cake batter for a half sheet? Thank you!

    • Reply
      Marsha
      12th January 2017 at 6:41 pm

      Thanks, Michelle! I would double the recipe for a half sheet πŸ™‚

      • Reply
        michelle
        12th January 2017 at 8:47 pm

        Thank you for your response and thank you for sharing your recipe!

  • Reply
    Sheila
    17th January 2017 at 2:56 am

    I’m sorry but this recipe didnt turn out moist and airy for me. It was dry almost cornbread like in texture. The taste was good. Could it be my convection oven? thanks!

    • Reply
      Marsha
      17th January 2017 at 9:14 am

      I’m so sorry my recipe didn’t turn out for you. For convection ovens, you have a couple of options. Either bake at the same temperature for 20 – 25 minutes instead of 30 – 35 minutes, or bake for the same time at 325F/170C. I hope that helps! πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      Susan
      24th June 2017 at 6:08 am

      Mine tasted like cornbread too, not in a bad way, but no vanilla cake taste?

      • Reply
        Marsha
        24th June 2017 at 7:49 pm

        It’s definitely not meant to taste like cornbread, but it’s hard for me to tell you what went wrong. All I can say is, if you’re not already, weigh out your ingredients in grams instead of cups (more accurate), and be sure to use cake flour.

  • Reply
    andrea
    13th February 2017 at 3:10 am

    can i double this recipe i need a whole sheet cake

    • Reply
      Marsha
      13th February 2017 at 9:35 pm

      Yes, you can double this recipe.

  • Reply
    Deirdre Coghlan
    19th February 2017 at 6:10 pm

    This cake is good, moist and solid- meaning you can handle the layers if you choose to fill it. I don’t have access to cake flour so I did the cornstarch trick, I think it changed the texture of the cake for the better from my standard result. The other two ‘secret ingredients’ that make this cake good are the veg oil instead of butter and the buttermilk. My only problem was the baking soda. I could really taste it. No one in my family had a problem with the baking soda taste, and my husband thought the cake was awesome. But I will try this again using just baking powder. Hopefully it will rise just as well.

    • Reply
      Marsha
      19th February 2017 at 6:19 pm

      I’m so glad everyone enjoyed it!

  • Reply
    Gabriela
    30th March 2017 at 4:26 am

    Hi Marsha,

    This looks great! I want to make a sheet cake that’s 18 by 13 should I double the recipe? And would it allow me to layer the cake in two?

    • Reply
      Marsha
      30th March 2017 at 10:50 am

      Hi Gabriela, yes you would need to double the recipe for a 18×13 pan. Yes, you can create two layers πŸ™‚ Enjoy!

  • Reply
    MarΓ­a Jimenez
    14th April 2017 at 4:44 am

    I made this and decorated it for Easter!!!! Not only was it cute but also delicious!!!

    • Reply
      Marsha
      14th April 2017 at 1:45 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Taylor
    20th April 2017 at 7:45 pm

    Hi! Do you think this will hold up well for a kids party? I want to remove it from the 13×9 pan and decorate it with cream cheese frosting. I believe I will 1.5 the recipe since i want to make a 13×9 plus an 8×8.
    Do you think that will work?

    Thanks!

    • Reply
      Marsha
      20th April 2017 at 8:44 pm

      Yes, that should work just fine!

      The cake will hold up without the pan. Enjoy! πŸ™‚

      • Reply
        Taylor
        20th April 2017 at 9:37 pm

        great, thanks!

      • Reply
        Taylor
        27th April 2017 at 8:34 pm

        Hi again! What type of vegetable oil do you recommend? Canola, soy, ? I have also heard of using light olive oil, but I have never used that in a cake.

        Also, does this cake keep a day or two in advance?

        Thanks!

        • Reply
          Marsha
          27th April 2017 at 9:55 pm

          Hi Taylor! I just use regular vegetable oil, but you can definitely use canola. I haven’t tried using light olive oil, so I can’t say. This cake will keep well covered tightly for a day or two, while the frosting can be kept in the fridge until ready to use. Enjoy!

  • Reply
    Katerina
    20th May 2017 at 7:00 pm

    I tried this recipe but 5 minutes after I removed their from the oven, the cake list it’s shape πŸ™ At 35 minutes the toothpick came out clean and the color looked good, not sure why it didn’t work. Maybe I should have left it cook a little longer.

    • Reply
      Marsha
      20th May 2017 at 10:00 pm

      It’s hard for me to tell you what might have happened without being there, but here are three main reasons a cake will sink/lose its shape.

      1. Underbaked. In your case, a toothpick came out clean, so this shouldn’t be the cause.

      2. Over-mixing the batter. Over-mixing until the batter is SUPER smooth and creamy strengthens the gluten structures too much and creates more air which causes the cake to rise and then fall again.

      3. Oven temperature. Checking in on your cake often messes with the oven temp, and can prevent the cake from cooking evenly, causing it to sink.

      I hope this helps!

      • Reply
        Katerina
        20th May 2017 at 11:26 pm

        This is very helpful, thank you! I will need it another go.

  • Reply
    Aamna
    5th June 2017 at 9:56 pm

    Hi, Marsha! I want to make this cake in a 12×18; I like the thickness you achieved on your cake, will doubling the recipe achieve the same result or would you recommend a different ratio?

    • Reply
      Marsha
      5th June 2017 at 10:26 pm

      Hi Aamna! Doubling the recipe should be fine, and will achieve the same thickness. Enjoy! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Monica
    16th June 2017 at 7:28 pm

    Hello, Marsha! For some reasons, your recipe ‘mocha bundt cake’ didnt get as moist as id hope so. This one though gets better each time. And as I am a huge coffee flavoring fan, i want to know if i can use coffee flavor (or nescafe granules) instead of vanilla in this recipe?
    Thank you!

    • Reply
      Marsha
      16th June 2017 at 8:23 pm

      Hi Monica! I’m so sorry my Coffee Bundt Cake didn’t turn out as moist as you’d have liked. To make this sheet cake a coffee one, I’d leave out the vanilla and replace with 4 teaspoons of instant coffee granules dissolved in 1 tablespoon of boiling hot water. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Monica
    17th June 2017 at 8:24 am

    Thing is, when i made it first time, it worked out well. Still, it has a beautiful mocha flavour. Right then, I’ ll make this sheet cake recipe using coffee granules πŸ™‚
    Thanks for replying, its very nice of you to be so prompt:)

    • Reply
      Marsha
      17th June 2017 at 10:39 pm

      Let me know how it turns out! πŸ™‚

      • Reply
        Monica
        10th July 2017 at 9:13 am

        Ohhh, ive just made it with coffee, instead of vanilla. Its just perfect, so fluffy and full of flavour. This just made me realize that I can make a tiramisu ‘my way’ with this sponge. I want it to be round, so, can I use this recipe for a 9 inch round pan? Thanks once again, am very lucky to have found you!

        • Reply
          Marsha
          10th July 2017 at 5:03 pm

          Such a sweet comment, thank you Monica, I’m so glad you enjoyed it πŸ™‚ If you wanted to make it in just one 9-inch round pan, I’d half the recipe. I’d love to see your creations!

          • Monica
            11th July 2017 at 10:54 am

            I really like your recipes. And i’d love to show you my cakes, but im not as experienced as you are πŸ™‚ thanks for replying, I can’t wait to see how it goes. Enjoy your day, Marsha β™‘

          • Marsha
            11th July 2017 at 3:48 pm

            You too, Monica! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    evelyn
    14th July 2017 at 1:57 pm

    hi Marsha,
    I needed to bake a full sheet cake for my son who will be having his 8th birthday on the 23rd July. he requested a soccer field cake. do you think with your recipe can i decorate it as a soccer field cake? if i need to layered it to 2 layers and spread buttercream on the layering, can it work for this recipe?or shall i just double up every ingredients? i do have 9×13′ pan. would appreciate for your kind reply.
    thank you.

    • Reply
      Marsha
      14th July 2017 at 11:00 pm

      Hi Evelyn! This cake is thick enough to cut in half and fill with buttercream, but you’re welcome to double the recipe for thicker slices. I would double the buttercream recipe, too. πŸ™‚

      • Reply
        Evelyn
        15th July 2017 at 6:57 am

        Thank you Marsha…will definitely try out your recipe first before adjusting the ingredients.

  • Reply
    Evelyn
    18th July 2017 at 2:03 pm

    Hi Marsha I had just baked the cake that use 1/2 c of cocoa powder to replace the cake flour. This cake didnt rise too high like in your picture. It raised up like a dome and on top after 35mins with 170’c temperature. And the bottom of the cake had a loop hole in the centre of the cake. Can i know what has happened to my cake?
    When i whisk my eggs and sugar do i need to whisk till the eggs turn light and fluffy?
    Thank you.

    • Reply
      Marsha
      18th July 2017 at 2:46 pm

      I’m so sorry this has happened! You could try whisking the eggs and sugar until light, to incorporate in some air. This may help with the doming. Usually, overmixing the batter causes big air bubbles, as well as cold ingredients (such as eggs) instead of room temperature. I wish I could help more, but I hope this helps πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Tiffany
    18th July 2017 at 5:20 pm

    Hi Marsha I need to bake this in an 11×15 cake pan for a graduation cake.. I need it to fill the whole pan should I do 1&12 of this recipe?

    • Reply
      Marsha
      19th July 2017 at 12:33 am

      Hi Tiffany! Yes, 1 and 1/2 of this recipe should work πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Danielle
    18th August 2017 at 11:03 pm

    I’ve made this cake twice, and it came out delicious both times. Can I use this recipe to make cupcakes?

    • Reply
      Marsha
      19th August 2017 at 12:04 am

      Yes you can! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Kyra
    27th August 2017 at 8:20 pm

    I just wanted to let you know that I used this recipe to make an ice cream sheet cake and it was PERFECT! I doubled the recipe for a half sheet cake, made 2 cakes and then put ice cream in the middle. I froze th cakes and then made a chocolate whipped cream icing! It was delicious! Thank you for this wonderful recipe!

    • Reply
      Marsha
      27th August 2017 at 8:27 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it πŸ™‚ Your ice cream sheet cake sounds amazing!

  • Reply
    Noemi Nucup
    25th January 2018 at 5:16 pm

    Hi Marsha! I’m planning to try out your recipe soon. I would just like to know how thick was the end result using the 9×13 pan? Because I’m also going to use a 9×13 pan that is 3 inches thick and I want to bake one batch that would fill up the whole pan when cooked. I’m planning on cooking it all at once then just slice it in half. Would appreciate your help. Thanks!

    • Reply
      Marsha
      25th January 2018 at 5:23 pm

      Hi Noemi! This cake bakes up quite thick, and can easily be sliced in half for frosting πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Daniella
    17th March 2018 at 11:33 am

    Hey, I made this recipe before and it came out really nice however can you swap the oil for butter? if so do you use the same quantity?

    • Reply
      Marsha
      17th March 2018 at 7:44 pm

      Of course! You’ll want to use 1 cup (226g) of butter πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    clare
    26th April 2018 at 1:13 am

    Hi,
    These look great! I was just wondering if it is possible for me to make this recipie in the form of cupcakes, and if so if I would have to make any changes (baking temperature, time, etc.)
    Thanks!

    • Reply
      Marsha
      26th April 2018 at 7:59 am

      Hi Clare! No need to change the temperature, just bake them for 15 – 20 minutes instead of 30 minutes πŸ™‚ Enjoy!

  • Reply
    Elisha
    29th April 2018 at 3:07 pm

    Hey Marsha! I am planning on making this cake for my sisters baby shower and I don’t have any cake flour if I use the recipe for cake flour can you garuntee that it will come out with the same results?

    • Reply
      Marsha
      29th April 2018 at 6:23 pm

      I make my own cake flour all the time, and it makes a really fluffy cake! πŸ™‚ Enjoy!

  • Reply
    Rob
    9th May 2018 at 4:27 am

    Made this today. Loved the icing. Cake not so much. Followed recipe exactly. Used cake flour and real buttermilk. Cake is dry. It actually looks just like the picture of your cake but taste is dry not moist. Not sure what the issue is. Buttermilk and vegetable oil should have made this moist.

  • Reply
    Angela W Broyles
    19th May 2018 at 4:41 pm

    I made the cake! This is a fabulous recipe- it was so wonderful and moist! The only changes I made were using sunflower oil instead of vegetable oil and I used 1.25 tsp vanilla extract and .75 tsp almond extract so that it would taste more like wedding cake. I baked mine in a larger pan (15.5 x 11) and made three so that they would be thin enough to layer and fill with raspberry curd and have enough to feed at least 30 people. I baked at 325 for about 30 minutes or so. The only issue I had was that my cake baked up unevenly due to my own oven- I should have rotated the pan halfway through. I did not make the icing on this website- I am using a recipe for white chocolate cream cheese icing. Thanks!!

    • Reply
      Marsha
      19th May 2018 at 7:37 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the cake! πŸ™‚

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