Vanilla Sheet Cake

By Jessica Hylton -

Fluffy Vegan Vanilla Sheet Cake with whipped buttercream frosting may be simple, but it’s also the definition of delicious! This moist, homemade vanilla cake is perfect for parties, an emergency/short-notice dessert, and more!

Frosted cake squares with rainbow sprinkles.

What Makes this the Best Vegan Vanilla Cake?

  • It’s Low-Maintenance: Nothing in the list of ingredients will surprise you. There’s some vanilla extract, some sugar, and a little vegan buttermilk, but no super-secret, hard-to-find ingredients. In fact, you’ve probably got everything you need ready to go in the pantry/refrigerator! That’s one of the beautiful things about this sheet cake recipe – you can make it at a moment’s notice.
  • It’s Simple Yet Delicious: This vanilla cake is a pretty safe bet as far as flavors go, without being bland or boring. Even the pickiest of eaters will probably go for a slice of simple yet sweet vanilla sheet cake!
  • Easy to Decorate/Customize: Feel free to customize this cake for the current season! Red and green sprinkles would be perfect for the holidays, black and orange for Halloween, red and pink for Valentine’s day, etc. Whatever you like!
  • It’s Quick: This cake requires only 10 minutes of prep time before it’s ready for the oven. After that, all you have to do is whip together the frosting, which takes about the same amount of time!

And, before I forget, if you haven’t tried this Chocolate Sheet Cake or this Pumpkin Sheet Cake, add ’em to the must-bake list!

Ingredients for vegan vanilla sheet cake.

Notes on Ingredients

Please note that this is important information on the ingredients and instructions and the FULL recipe with amounts and details can be found DOWN BELOW (scroll to it) in the recipe card.

For the Vanilla Sheet Cake

  • Vegan Buttermilk: Combine apple cider vinegar with soy milk, or other vegan milk for that classic flavour. Make sure that whatever milk you use is room temperature.
  • Sugar: I like to use brown sugar or cane sugar.
  • Flour: I’ve only ever used all-purpose flour but you could give gluten-free flour a try, if needed.
  • Baking Soda: To help the cake rise.
  • Salt: I like to use sea salt for this recipe.
  • Butter: Use your favorite brand of vegan butter, melted and cooled. You could use oil, but it’ll be a lot denser.
  • Vanilla Extract: To get the sweet vanilla flavor.

For the Whipped Buttercream Frosting

  • Powdered Sugar: Sift, then mix this in carefully (in separate portions) so that it doesn’t fly everywhere.
  • Vegan Butter: Softened.
  • Vanilla Extract: Vanilla bean paste may also work in a pinch.
  • Vegan Milk: You may need to add more than what is listed if the frosting is too thick.
  • Sea Salt: This is only needed if you’re using unsalted butter.

How to Make a Vegan Vanilla Sheet Cake

Preheat the Oven to 350°F/180°C: Prepare a 9×13 sheet pan (with sides) by greasing and flouring it, or lining it with parchment paper (I usually just grease and flour).

Make the Vegan Buttermilk: In a small bowl or jar, add the apple cider vinegar and the soy milk together and stir to combine. It will curdle. Set aside.

Soy milk and apple cider vinegar in a measuring cup.

Mix the Batter: Whisk together sugar, flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Add milk mixture, melted butter and vanilla. Beat with an electric whisk on medium speed for about 1 to 2 minutes until everything is just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir one more time to ensure everything is incorporated. Do not over-mix.

Prepare the Pan: Pour the batter into the pan. Tap on the counter three times lightly to remove any air bubbles.

Cake batter in a sheet pan.

Bake the Cake: Place the pan in the middle rack of your oven and in the center of that rack. Bake for 33 to 35 minutes until fully baked. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely in the pan.

Cream the Butter: Beat the butter and vanilla for about 2-3 minutes with a stand mixer or a handheld mixer, until fluffy.

Make Frosting (full instructions in recipe below). Put It All Together: Frost cake and decorate. The frosting will set at room temperature. Enjoy!

Tips for Success

If you’re looking to speed up the cake-making process, you can prepare the frosting while the cake is baking, and then let it sit on the counter until the cake is done. Here are a couple more tips for you, should you need them:

  • For a Super Moist Cake: To get the moistest results with your vanilla sheet cake, brush it with simple syrup before putting on the frosting! It’s not necessary but it’s great for helping the cake last several days too.
  • Don’t Over-Mix the Batter: Just beat or whisk the batter until everything has been combined. Too much mixing can lead to a cake that comes out dense or tough once baked.
  • Weigh the Flour: I highly recommend weighing the flour because that’s the best way to accurately measure it. If you don’t have a scale, though, you can spoon your flour into a measuring cup to avoid packing too much of it into your batter.
  • Let the Cake Cool Before Frosting: If the cake is still warm it can melt the buttercream, which will make it runny. To avoid that, let the cake cool completely, or put it in the fridge to speed up the process.

How to Store Homemade Cake

I like to store this vanilla sheet cake in the fridge, where it keeps for about a week. You can also store it in an airtight container at room temperature. It will keep for 2-3 days this way. Either option works, it’s mostly about personal preference!

Can I Freeze This?

Sure! Freeze your cake in an airtight container and eat it within 1-2 months. Make sure the cake is completely cooled before you put it in the freezer.

Enjoy friends! If you make this Vanilla Sheet Cake, please snap a photo and tag #jessicainthekitchen on Instagram! We’d also love it if you would leave a comment below, and give the recipe a rating! Thanks so much!

Frosted cake squares with rainbow sprinkles.

Vegan Vanilla Sheet Cake

Fluffy Vegan Vanilla Sheet Cake with whipped buttercream frosting may be simple, but it's also the definition of delicious! This moist, homemade vanilla cake is perfect for parties, an emergency/short-notice dessert, and more!
by: Jessica in the Kitchen
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 33 minutes
Total Time 58 minutes
Servings 24
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Ingredients

For the Vanilla Cake

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups soy milk or other vegan milk (480mL), room temperature
  • 2 cups brown sugar or cane sugar (400g)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (360g)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda (10g)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (2.8g)
  • cup vegan butter melted and cooled (150g)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the Whipped Buttercream Frosting

  • 3-3 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup vegan butter , softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon vegan milk , add more if needed
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt , only if using unsalted butter
Instructions

Instructions

For the Vanilla Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Prepare a 9×13 sheet pan (with sides) by greasing & flouring or lining with parchment paper (I usually just grease and flour).
  • In a small bowl or jar, add the apple cider vinegar and the soy milk together and stir to combine. It will curdle. Set aside.
  • Whisk together sugar, flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Add milk mixture, melted butter and vanilla. Beat with an electric whisk on medium speed for about 1 to 2 minutes until everything is just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir one more time to ensure everything is incorporated. Do not overmix.
  • Pour the batter into the pan. Tap on the counter three times lightly to remove any air bubbles.
  • Place the pan in the middle rack of your oven and in the center of that rack. Bake for 33 to 35 minutes until fully baked. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely in the pan.
  • After cooled, frost with buttercream frosting and sprinkles (optional!) Enjoy! For an even more moist cake, brush with simple syrup before putting on the frosting!

For the Whipped Buttercream Frosting

  • Beat the butter and vanilla for about 2-3 minutes with a stand mixer or a handheld mixer, until fluffy.
  • Add 1 cup of powdered sugar. Fold it in with a spatula so it doesn’t fly everywhere, then beat for about 1 minute. Add the rest of the powdered sugar in small increments too, until fully incorporated.
  • Add in a 1/2 tablespoon of vegan milk at a time until it reaches your preferred volume and consistency. Add that last ½ cup if you desire.
  • Then beat for about 5 minutes, using the spatula to mix everything together every other minute, until the frosting is fluffy, white, smooth and creamy.

Putting It All Together

  • Frost cake and decorate. The frosting will set at room temperature. Enjoy!
NOTES

Tips for Success

If you’re looking to speed up the cake-making process, you can prepare the frosting while the cake is baking, and then let it sit on the counter until the cake is done. Here are a couple more tips for you, should you need them:
  • For a Super Moist Cake: To get the moistest results with your vanilla sheet cake, brush it with simple syrup before putting on the frosting! It’s not necessary but it’s great for helping the cake last several days too.
  • Don’t Over-Mix the Batter: Just beat or whisk the batter until everything has been combined. Too much mixing can lead to a cake that comes out dense or tough once baked.
  • Weigh the Flour: I highly recommend weighing the flour because that’s the best way to accurately measure it. If you don’t have a scale, though, you can spoon your flour into a measuring cup to avoid packing too much of it into your batter.
  • Let the Cake Cool Before Frosting: If the cake is still warm it can melt the buttercream, which will make it runny. To avoid that, let the cake cool completely, or put it in the fridge to speed up the process.

Nutrition

Calories: 297kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 330mg | Potassium: 76mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 36g | Vitamin A: 677IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 1mg
by Jessica

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2 comments

  1. monika says:

    Can you freeze it once its already been iced?

    • Hi Monika,

      Yes you can! I do this all the time with my regular cake too! Just ensure you wrap it up tightly to prevent freezer burn. Enjoy so much!

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