Bake this perfectly moist and tender classic vanilla sheet cake in a round or sheet pan, baking dish, or even as cupcakes, and pair it with fantastically quick and easy chocolate frosting.
This vanilla sheet cake is made of simple, basic ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen, making it easy to whip up for an anniversary, birthday, Valentine’s day, or just about any occasion. A home-baked cake in and of itself also makes for a present that will be appreciated.
You’ll get more slices to go around if it’s baked as a sheet cake in portions that won’t break the diet bank.
I used an open star 1M icing tip for the border, but any star tip will work if you want to pipe a border.
The sweet smell of this classic vanilla cake and delicious chocolate frosting evokes memories of birthdays and happy occasions. It’s a cake that’s moist on its own without having the need to be brushed with some kind of syrup. The addition of lemon juice gives it a tender crumb making each bite just pure heaven. It’s not necessary to go out of your way to get an expensive vanilla extract. I used McCormick and it’s perfectly delicious.
This quick chocolate frosting is super easy to make. I’ve tried imported cocoa powders but, for me, nothing beats good ole Hershey’s natural unsweetened cocoa powder that you can pick up in any supermarket. It’s delicious and inexpensive so all the more reason to love your own.
Making this quick chocolate frosting takes more or less five minutes:
- Place all the ingredients: unsalted butter, milk, salt, vanilla extract, powdered sugar and unsweetened cocoa powder in the food processor and blend for a few seconds. You’ll avoid the cloud of powdered sugar that flies through the air when making frosting with a mixer. Moreover, there’s no need to sift the powdered sugar.
- If you want softer frosting, just give it a few more quick pulses until you reach your desired consistency. The heat of the blade will make the frosting softer so it comes out smooth and silky to spread, yet firm enough to hold a shape if you want to pipe a decorative border.
I first baked this simple and straightforward recipe in a 7 x 11-inch baking pan, but to make it even easier, you can bake it in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
Here’s the same recipe served straight out of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. You can bake the cake and freeze it covered until you’re ready to frost.
Decorate the cake it in colorful sprinkles and it’s ready for a party!
Chocolate-frosted vanilla cake is an all-time favorite.
Details are in the recipe box below, but here is an outline of the super easy steps to classic vanilla sheet cake with quick chocolate frosting:
1. Mix lemon juice and milk.
2. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt.
3. Cream the butter and sugar, then add eggs one at a time blending well.
4. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk mixture, starting with 1/3 of the dry ingredients followed by ½ of the milk mixture. Add the next 1/3 of the dry ingredients and the rest of the milk mixture beating well until just blended and ending with the last 1/3 of the dry ingredients. Beat until smooth then add in the vanilla mixing until well incorporated.
5. Pour the batter in a sheet pan or baking dish sprayed with non-stick baking spray and bake in an oven preheated to 350°F until the center springs back to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 – 35 minutes.
6. For the quick chocolate frosting, place the unsalted butter, milk, salt, vanilla extract, powdered sugar and unsweetened cocoa powder in a food processor and blend until well combined and smooth.
7. Spread the chocolate frosting on the cake and pipe a border if you like. Decorate with colorful sprinkles.
Keep the frosted cake covered at room temperature.
Or bake cupcakes out of this recipe. You’ll get two dozen medium size cupcakes with enough chocolate frosting for each.
Chocolate beehive cupcakes are pretty lush too.
Whether you bake a free-standing sheet cake, a sheet cake in a baking dish, cupcakes or even a layer cake, you’re bound to get smiles with this classic vanilla cake covered with quick chocolate frosting.
It’s a great go-to vanilla cake recipe that you can reach for time and time again for any occasion.
- 1 cup whole milk (237 g)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (18 g)
- 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter
- 3 large eggs
- 2 ¼ cups cake flour (272 g)
- 3 ¼ teaspoons baking powder (16 g)
- ¼ teaspoon salt (2 g)
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar (330 g)
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract (8 g)
- 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature (226 g)
- ½ teaspoon salt (4 g)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (15 g)
- ½ cup milk (114 g)
- 5 cups powdered sugar (590 g)
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (46 g)
- Spray the bottom and sides of a 9-inch x 13-inch baking pan or dish or 7-inch x 11-inch baking pan with non-stick baking spray. Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Mix together the milk and lemon juice and set aside. Stir again after mixture has thickened, after about 5 minutes.
- Whisk together the cake flour, baking powder and salt.
- Cream the butter until smooth. Gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition.
- Blend in ⅓ of the sifted dry ingredients and ½ of the milk mixture. Scrape the bowl in between additions to make sure everything is well mixed. Blend in one half of the remaining dry ingredients together with the second half of the milk mixture. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and beat until smooth and well incorporated.
- Add the vanilla extract beating until blended. Finish mixing the batter by hand by giving it a few strokes with a rubber spatula scraping all the way down the bottom of the bowl.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking pan or dish. Bake until the center springs back to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 – 35 minutes for a 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish, 35 – 40 minutes for a 7-inch x 11-inch baking pan.
- Let the cake cool and turn it out from the pan after about 20 minutes. If using later, wrap the cake in plastic wrap and freeze it in a container until ready to frost.
- If the cake was frozen, let it thaw to just below room temperature before making the frosting.
- Place all the ingredients, unsalted butter, salt, vanilla extract, milk, powdered sugar and unsweetened cocoa powder in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth and well blended, about 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl and give the frosting a quick pulse or two.
- For a softer consistency, give the frosting a few more pulses. The heat from the blade will soften the frosting.
- If piping a border around the cake, transfer about 1 ½ cups frosting into a piping bag fitted with a medium star tip.
- Apply the rest of the frosting to the cake using an offset spatula, then pipe the border. Decorate the cake with colorful sprinkles.
Keep the frosted cake covered at room temperature.
Classic Vanilla Sheet Cake with Quick Chocolate Frosting