15 Easy Sheet Cakes
You don't need a special occasion to make these delicious sheet cakes.
For the cake: Make Vanilla Cake. Poke holes 1/2 inch apart in the cooled cake with a straw. Spread 1/2 cup grape jelly over the top, gently pressing it into the holes.
For the frosting: Beat 1 1/2 sticks softened butter and 1 cup creamy peanut butter with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 minutes. Beat in 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar on low speed, then beat on medium high until fluffy again, 2 minutes. Frost the cake and top with chopped salted peanuts.
For the cake: Make Vanilla Cake, replacing 1 cup of the flour with 1 cup hazelnut flour and 1/2 cup of the sugar with light brown sugar.
For the frosting: Make Chocolate Frosting, using only 1 cup confectioners’ sugar; replace the melted chocolate with 1 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread. Frost the cake and top with chopped hazelnuts.
Strawberries and Cream
For the cake: Make Vanilla Cake, adding 1/2 cup freeze-dried strawberries with the sugar.
For the frosting: Beat 2 cups cold heavy cream, 1 cup freeze-dried strawberries (finely ground) and 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes.
For the cake: Make Vanilla Cake, adding 2 tablespoons each grated lemon zest and juice with the sugar.
For the frosting: Make Vanilla Frosting, beating 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest with the butter and replacing the vanilla with 2 tablespoons lemon juice; use only 2 tablespoons milk. Tint with yellow food coloring. Frost the cake and top with sanding sugar.
For the cake: Make Vanilla Cake, adding 1 tablespoon cinnamon with the flour. Replace 1/2 cup of the sugar with dark brown sugar and reduce the buttermilk to 3/4 cup. Peel and finely chop 3 apples; stir into the batter.
For the frosting: Make Vanilla Frosting, replacing 2 sticks butter with 8 ounces softened cream cheese; omit the milk. Frost the cake and dust with cinnamon.
For the cake: Make the batter for Vanilla Cake; divide among 4 bowls and tint each a different color with gel food coloring (yellow, red, purple and green). Dollop spoonfuls of each batter in the prepared pan and lightly swirl before baking.
For the frosting: Make Vanilla Frosting. Frost the cake and top with rainbow nonpareils.
For the cake: Make Vanilla Cake, adding 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder with the flour, 1 teaspoon coffee extract with the vanilla and 1/4 cup cooled brewed coffee with the buttermilk.
For the frosting: Make Chocolate Frosting, adding 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder and 1/2 teaspoon coffee extract with the vanilla.
For the cake: Cook 4 chopped bacon slices in 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring, until crisp; pour the drippings into a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon maple syrup to the skillet and cook until the bacon is coated, 1 to 2 minutes; pour onto a piece of parchment paper and let cool. Make Chocolate Cake, adding 2 tablespoons bacon drippings with the vegetable oil.
For the frosting: Make Vanilla Frosting, adding 1/2 teaspoon maple extract with the vanilla. Frost the cake and top with the bacon.
For the cake: Make Chocolate Cake, replacing the vanilla with 1 teaspoon each almond and cherry extracts. Mix 1/4 cup cherry preserves with 1 tablespoon maraschino liqueur or juice; brush over the warm cake.
For the frosting: Make Vanilla Frosting, adding 1 teaspoon cherry extract with the vanilla. Frost the cake and top with maraschino cherries and shaved chocolate.
For the cake: Make Chocolate Cake, replacing 3/4 cup of the flour with 3/4 cup finely ground pistachios; add 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom.
For the frosting: Make Chocolate Frosting, replacing 1 stick butter with 1/2 cup tahini; use only a pinch of salt. Frost the cake and top with chopped pistachios.
For the cake: Make Chocolate Cake; stir 1/4 cup bourbon into the batter (optional).
For the frosting: Heat 3/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, swirling the pan, until deep amber, 6 to 8 minutes. Carefully add 2 cups heavy cream. Simmer, stirring, until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in 4 tablespoons butter; pour over 8 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Let sit 2 minutes, then stir until smooth. Chill until thickened, 2 hours. Beat with a mixer on low speed until thick and fluffy, 1 minute (do not overbeat). Frost the cake and top with flaky salt.
For the cake: Make Chocolate Cake.
For the frosting: Make Chocolate Frosting.
For the topping: Heat 1 cup half-and-half, 6 tablespoons butter, 3/4 cup light brown sugar, 1/4 cup golden syrup (such as Lyle’s), 3 egg yolks and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened but still runny. Pour over 1 1/2 cups each sweetened shredded coconut and toasted chopped pecans in a bowl. Toss and let cool (it will thicken). Meanwhile, frost the cake and refrigerate until set. Top with the coconut-pecan mixture.
Cookies and Cream
For the cake: Make Chocolate Cake.
For the frosting: Make Vanilla Frosting; beat in 12 lightly crushed chocolate sandwich cookies. Frost the cake. Pour 1/4 cup warm heavy cream over 2 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate. Let sit 5 minutes, then whisk until smooth; let cool completely. Drizzle over the frosted cake.
For the cake: Pulse 12 graham cracker sheets and 1/4 cup sugar in a food processor until finely ground. Pulse in 6 tablespoons melted butter. Make Chocolate Cake, pressing the graham mixture into the prepared pan before adding the batter. Press milk chocolate squares onto the warm cake.
For the frosting: Heat 4 egg whites, 2/3 cup sugar and a pinch of cream of tartar in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, whisking, until dissolved. Remove from the heat; beat with a mixer on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Spread on the cake; brown with a kitchen torch (or under the broiler).