Ah, the sheet cake — hero of the bake sale, baseball team party, and office birthday party. Because they require just one simple pan and bake quickly, sheet cakes are considered extra-easy cakes, but this vanilla stunner only requires one bowl too, making it double extra-easy. Beyond ease, this cake is a dream — its tender white crumb is perfumed with vanilla and has lots of surface area for sprinkles or your favorite final topping.
Secret of a Sheet Cake
One of my favorite things about sheet cakes is that they are intended to be served right from the pan. To ensure that the cake squares lift with ease, coat the pan with cooking spray and use a thin spatula to lift the cake from the pan.
The frosting included below is a riff on our classic buttercream, and requires just butter, powdered sugar, and a splash of milk. Don't try to lift the whole cake from the pan and frost the sides. Instead, spread the frosting right on top and use the tip end of a small spoon to work the frosting back and forth, creating a striped pattern. Personally, I don't think sprinkles are optional here, but cake your way, friends.
One-Bowl Vanilla Cake: Vanilla Sheet Cake with Sprinkles
For the cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
3/4 cup canola oil, or melted and cooled unsalted butter
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
For the frosting:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon whole milk
Disc sprinkles (optional)
Make the cake: Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F. Coat a 13x18-inch rimmed baking sheet (also known as a half sheet pan) with cooking spray; set aside.
Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the eggs, oil or butter, milk, and vanilla and mix with an electric hand mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.
Pour the batter into the baking sheet. Bake until the cake is lightly browned and springs back when gingerly pressed with a finger, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool the cake on a wire rack while preparing the frosting.
Make the frosting: Beat the butter in a large bowl with an electric hand mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and milk and beat until smooth and fluffy.
Spread the frosting right on top of the cake and use the tip end of a small spoon to work the frosting back and forth, creating a striped pattern. Decorate with sprinkles if using.
- Storage: The cooled cake can be covered with plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days or refrigerated for up to 7 days.