This vanilla sheet cake is so easy to make and tastes absolutely delicious! Light, fluffy, and moist, this sheet cake recipe doesn’t need any eggs, and is perfect for birthdays and holidays!

slice of vanilla sheet cake on a plate

You’re just going to absolutely love this simple and easy vanilla sheet cake. It’s so moist, fluffy, and light, yet full of vanilla flavor. Easier than a layer cake, yet the perfect dessert for big celebrations, like birthdays or summer barbecues and holidays, when you need to serve a lot of people!

This recipe is actually the base recipe that I used to make my super easy and fun blackberry lavender sheet cake– perfect for spring!

This vanilla sheet cake is also naturally vegan (meaning you don’t need any eggs nor dairy!) and can easily be made gluten-free without compromising flavor- trust me, absolutely no one will know! It’s the best vegan cake recipe for that reason!

What cake pan to use:

There are two types of cake pans that are usually used to bake cakes: metal and glass pans.

I recommend using a metal pan. Here’s why:

  • Metal pans: Metal pans typically conduct heat throughout the cake much more evenly than glass (and especially than silicone- please do NOT use a silicone baking pan). The metal heats up very fast, and distributes the heat throughout the cake quickly, which prevents the cake from over-baking as well. 
  • Glass pans: Glass pans conduct heat more unevenly throughout the pan, as the glass takes longer to heat up, and then stays hot longer than metal (meaning your cake is still cooking in the pan long after it’s been removed from the oven). Glass pans most often lead to over baking, and thus dry cakes (more on that below).
  • Silicone pans: Please do not even consider a silicone pan. It will end up a massive mess, as rubber is a horrible conductor of heat, and will most likely lead to over baked edges, under baked middle, and just a giant mess. 

In short, I recommend using a metal pan. Your vanilla sheet cake will bake much more evenly!

sliced vanilla sheet cake

What size is a sheet cake pan?

I recommend using a 9×13″ sheet cake pan. You can also bake this vanilla cake in a 13×18 sheet cake pan. However, please note that your sheet cake won’t be as tall!

You can also bake this as a classic vegan vanilla cake layer cake. Follow the link for vegan vanilla cake here to use three 8″ round cake pans or 6″ cake pans! You can even use this recipe as a vegan wedding cake recipe as well! 

slices of vanilla sheet cake

Ingredients & substitutions

Flour: You can use just all purpose flour, or you can use cake flour. Either will work! If you need gluten-free, please feel free to use gluten-free 1:1 baking flour (specifically, I recommend Bob’s Red Mill in the blue bag). However, please note that you’ll need to follow the cup measurements not the metric. Gluten free flour weighs more per cup, and so you won’t have the right amount of dry ingredients if you don’t use cups (for instance, 1 cup of Bobs’ Red Mill GF flour = 140 g, so you would need 512 g of gluten-free flour, not 450 g).

Sugar: I recommend using granulated sugar. To be sure that it’s vegan, use Florida Crystals sugar (what I use!).

Leavening agents: Baking powder and baking soda. Please be sure that your leavening agents are still active and good! 

Salted vegan butter: If you are not vegan, I have had readers say they have success using dairy salted butter (if you’re using unsalted butter, please add in 1/8 tsp of sea salt to the flour mixture).

Dairy free yogurt: This replaces the eggs in our vegan cakes. You can also substitute in applesauce!

Dairy free vegan buttermilk: Similar to classic buttermilk, dairy free buttermilk is just dairy free milk (soy milk or almond milk) with apple cider vinegar. This will help our cakes to rise.

Vanilla extract: Tons of vanilla goes into this lovely cake to make this vegan vanilla sheet cake have the best vanilla flavor! We’re not talking a teaspoon of vanilla, but 2 whole tablespoons. Trust me!

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting: You can also use a vegan vanilla buttercream frosting (or your favorite buttercream recipe!). This cake would also be amazing with vegan chocolate frosting!

Sheet cake tips and tricks

  • Measure and weigh out all ingredients: While I give the measurements for US cups, using a kitchen scale and weighing your ingredients will give you the most accurate and consistent bakes. 
  • If you are using US cup measurements with your flour: Please be sure that you spoon and level the flour. Again, I recommend using a kitchen scale, but if you can only use US cups, then please be sure you’re properly measuring your flour!
  • Don’t over mix the batter: Mix JUST until the dry ingredients are incorporated into the wet. 
  • Add in sprinkles! If you’d like to make this into a Funfetti sheet cake, you can add in 1 cup of vegan sprinkles to the batter!
  • Use fresh vanilla beans or vanilla bean paste for extra vanilla flavor: I recommend 1 teaspoon!
  • Decorate this sheet cake as a flag cake: For a fun Memorial Day or Fourth of July treat, frost the sheet cake, then add sliced strawberries and blueberries in the shape of a flag!

How to prevent a dry cake

Here are my top tips to prevent your vanilla sheet cake from drying out:

  • Use a metal pan: This will prevent you from over baking the cake, as we mentioned in the earlier sections!
  • Measure the flour properly: Using too much flour will lead to a dry cake.
  • Don’t cool your cake in the fridge: A few minutes in the fridge (no more than 5 minutes) is fine, but if you’re trying to speed up the cooling process, chilling the cake in the fridge will dry out the cake, as the fridge (or freezer) air will be sucking out all the moisture. 
bite taken from vanilla sheet cake

Frosting your cake

Please allow your vanilla sheet cake to fully cool before applying the frosting! This will ensure that the frosting doesn’t slide onto the table. The cake should take about 1 hour to fully cool, sometimes more depending on how cool your kitchen is.

When applying the frosting, I recommend using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. It’s easiest for making the swoops!

Want to save this recipe for later? Add it to your favorite recipe board on Pinterest!

vanilla sheet cake Pinterest pin

If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and a rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below. This helps others to find the recipes! As always, I absolutely love to see your beautiful creations on Instagram and Pinterest, so be sure to tag me there as well!

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
slice of vanilla sheet cake on a plate

Vegan Vanilla Sheet Cake Recipe

  • Author: Britt Berlin
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 60
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 24 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This vanilla sheet cake is so easy to make and tastes absolutely delicious! Light, fluffy, and moist, this sheet cake recipe doesn’t need any eggs, and is perfect for birthdays and holidays!


Ingredients

Scale

Vanilla Sheet Cake:

  • 1 1/4 cup (300 mL) vegan buttermilk
  • 3 2/3 cup (450 g) all-purpose flour (or 512 g gluten free 1:1 baking flour + 1 tbsp arrowroot or cornstarch)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 3/4 cup (350 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (220 g) salted vegan butter (I recommend Miyoko’s or Flora Plant butter), room temperature
  • 1 cup (240 g) unsweetened applesauce or dairy free yogurt, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract (yes, 2 tablespoons!!)
  • Optional (but recommended): 1/4 tsp vanilla powder

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 2 cups vegan butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup vegan cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 cups organic powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 24 tbsp unsweetened dairy free milk

Instructions

  1. Prep: ​​​​Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9×13″ metal sheet pan with olive or cooking oil, and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the vegan buttermilk. Combine the dairy free milk with the apple cider vinegar, and set aside to sit for 5-6 minutes. You can weigh and measure the remaining ingredients during this time.
  3. Whisk: ​​​​In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
  4. Make the batter: In a stand mixer with paddle attachment or a large bowl with hand mixer, cream together the vegan butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides as needed. Then add in the applesauce or dairy free yogurt and vanilla extract. Mix again on medium speed until combined, scraping down the sides and at the bottom of the bowl as needed. Add in about half of the dry mixture, along with half of the vegan buttermilk, and mix on medium speed until just combined. Add in the remaining dry mixture and vegan buttermilk, and mix on medium speed until there are just no more dry ingredients. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl as well as the sides.
  5. Bake: Pour the batter into the cake pan, and bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Cool: Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool in its pans for 10 minutes, then carefully transfer it to a cooling rack to cool completely. Once cooled completely (there is absolutely no warmth to the touch!), then you can prepare your buttercream. This will take about an hour.
  7. Make the cream cheese frosting: When ready to frost the cakes, add vegan butter and cream cheese to a large bowl or stand mixer and cream for 2-3 minutes. Add in 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time, continuing the beat the mixture until it’s a thick frosting. Add in vanilla and 2-4 tablespoons of coconut/almond milk and continue to beat until desired texture.
  8. Frost and serve: Frost cake, decorate, and enjoy!

Notes

Gluten free: Swap in gluten free 1:1 baking flour using the US cup measurements (or metric, weigh 512 g) of flour.

Different frosting options: You can use a vegan vanilla buttercream or a vegan chocolate frosting instead of cream cheese frosting.

Keywords: vanilla sheet cake, vanilla sheet cake recipe, vegan sheet cake, Texas sheet cake recipe