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Vanilla Sheet Cake with Malted-Milk-Chocolate Frosting


No birthday party would be complete without this classic cake with fluffy frosting.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 12

Photography: John Kernick

Source: Everyday Food, September 2011


  • 3 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Fine salt
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups malted milk powder
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 3/4 pound milk chocolate, melted and cooled
  • Sprinkles (optional), for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter and flour a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) butter and sugar on high until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. With mixer on low, add flour mixture to butter mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions buttermilk, and beat to combine, scraping down bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Transfer batter to pan and smooth top.

  3. Bake until cake is golden, puffed, and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 35 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

  4. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together cocoa and malted milk powders. Add boiling water, whisk until smooth, and let cool.

  5. Using mixer, beat 2 sticks (1 cup) plus 2 tablespoons butter on high until smooth. Add cocoa mixture; beat until combined. Add chocolate and pinch of salt. With mixer on medium-high, beat until frosting is smooth and peaks form, 3 minutes. Frost cake; top with sprinkles if desired.

Cook's Notes

A completely cool cake is essential so that the frosting doesn't melt on contact. You can bake the cake a day ahead to ensure a fluffy frosting layer.

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