Our Best Recipes for Sheet Cakes, the Easy, Crowd-Pleasing Desserts for Any Occasion

orange-and-poppy-seed sheet cake recipe
Photo: Con Poulos

Birthdays, graduations, and other big-time celebrations call for extra-large cakes. These single-layer stunners come together quickly, which means minimal effort for major wow.

01 of 19
chocolate sprinkle sheet cake recipe
Con Poulos

When you need something sweet to feed a crowd, sheet cakes are the way to go. Take this Chocolate Sprinkle Sheet Cake for example, it's made with sour cream for a tender crumb and with a cocoa powder replacing a half-cup of flour for a deep chocolate flavor. The buttercream frosting gets whipped until airy with an electric mixer and a generous scattering of sprinkles finishes it off. Cut it into squares, skinny slices or chunky rectangles and watch as it disappears fast.

In this collection there are classics like Texas Sheet Cake, a rich chocolate-glazed chocolate cake, and super-citrusy options like Lemon-Glazed Sheet Cake, which has lemon juice and zest in both the batter and the glaze. Of course, we haven't forgotten classic vanilla, which is never anything like plain: In fact, you'll find that it's the star of an irresistible sheet cake topped with chocolate ganache, though you could certainly swap that topping for your favorite if you fancied. And if frosting or glaze isn't your thing, there's a cake for the young or young at heart that features broken Oreo cookies scattered over the top before baking for instant appeal.

Going beyond the classic sheet cake format, our test kitchen team has developed a delicious array of creative recipes that are sure to make you smile. You can combine two childhood-favorites into one with our Banana-Split Ice Cream Cake; it has all the elements of the ultimate sundae in a family-friendly format. Fresh summer fruit will be put to use in a large-format, no-bake cheesecake (we call that a win-win!), and summer berries are essential in this Strawberry Biscuit Sheet Cake too (bet you never had a sheet cake like that before!). For all kinds of gatherings, from backyard barbecues to kids' birthday parties, these sheet cakes will end on party on a (sugar) high note.

02 of 19

Lemon-Meringue Sheet Cake

lemon-meringue sheet cake recipe
Con Poulos

This beauty gets its flavor from fresh lemon zest and its stature from not-too-sweet meringue. Dollop tons on top for a dramatic look and if you don't have a blowtorch, brown the peaks with a quick blast under the broiler.

03 of 19

Cookies-and-Cream Sheet Cake

cookies-and-cream sheet cake recipe
Con Poulos

This combination is definitely kid-friendly, but you'll find that grown-ups will clamor for slices, too. Once the yellow-cake mixture is scraped into a buttered baking pan and smoothed with a spatula, you simply scatter broken Oreo cookies over the top for instant appeal—no frosting necessary.

04 of 19

Banana Sheet Cake with Passion-Fruit Frosting

banana sheet cake with passion-fruit frosting recipe
Con Poulos

Passion-fruit juice, made by pressing the pulp through a sieve, goes into the cream-cheese frosting for a fresh and naturally intense taste, and a pastel tint to this topping for this gorgeous creation. There's about a cup of mashed ripe banana in the batter, resulting in more moisture and a slightly denser cake than you'll get with some of our other recipes.

05 of 19

Texas Sheet Cake

Con Poulos

Why is this the most popular sheet cake ever? Well, what goes better with chocolate than more chocolate? This easy-to-make, easy-to-love chocolate sheet cake has a touch of cinnamon in the batter and is drizzled with a rich, smooth chocolate glaze. A sprinkle of pecans seals the deal.

06 of 19

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Sheet Cake

chocolate-peanut butter sheet cake recipe
Con Poulos

Rich and tender chocolate cake meets creamy peanut-butter frosting in this must-make recipe. The frosting is made with creamy peanut butter so go ahead and scatter chopped peanuts along the edges for any crunchy fans in the house.

07 of 19

Strawberry Biscuit Sheet Cake

strawberry biscuit sheet cake
Alpha Smoot

In this sprawling strawberry shortcake, a tender biscuit cushions a cloud of lightly sweetened cream and a tumble of juiced-up berries. If you fancy something radical, swap the strawberries for sliced peaches, plums, or nectarines—all make equally delicious toppings for this large-format dessert.

08 of 19

Striped Ice Cream Sheet Cake

Ditte Isager

Get ready to earn your (master sheet cake baker) stripes! Colorful layers of sorbet, ice cream, and jam are sandwiched between two light and fluffy layers of angel food sheet cake, creating a dessert that's as pretty to look at as it is tasty to eat.

09 of 19

Red Velvet Sheet Cake

red-velvet sheet cake recipe
Con Poulos

The balance of cocoa powder, butter, sugar, eggs, and sour cream gives this red velvet an almost fudgy flavor. And we use less food coloring than traditional recipes call for, so the cake is more of an elegant mauve velvet. Swoops of tangy cream-cheese frosting offset the cake's richness, as well as its striking hue.

10 of 19

Vanilla Sheet Cake with Malted-Chocolate Frosting

Jonathan Lovekin

A frosting made of cocoa powder, malted milk powder, and milk chocolate takes a simple vanilla sheet cake to new heights. Decorate with chopped malted milk balls, then watch the crowd go wild!

11 of 19

No-Bake Ricotta-Blueberry Cheesecake

no-bake ricotta blueberry cheesecake
Alpha Smoot

Whipped cream folded into this no-bake beauty's lemony ricotta-and-cream-cheese filling gives it an airy texture and ethereal taste. The crust of crushed vanilla wafers provides a solid foundation, and the topping is a mixture of fresh and lightly cooked blueberries that bursts in every bite.

12 of 19

Chocolate Sheet Cake with Vanilla-Buttercream

chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream
Alpha Smoot

Inspired by devil's food cake, this looker is made with both cocoa powder and melted chocolate and contains a cup of sour cream; once baked, it's swathed in Swiss meringue buttercream and dark chocolate shavings.

13 of 19

Cornmeal-Berry Sheet Cake

Marcus Nilsson

Yellow sheet cake gets an instant upgrade with the addition of cornmeal, which changes up the flavor and texture and complements the blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries. Serve each portion with a dollop of whipped cream for an indulgent kick.

14 of 19

Banana-Split Ice Cream Cake

banana split ice cream sheet cake
Alpha Smoot

Caramel, whipped cream, bananas, and nuts are all part of this tasty dessert, but you'll find no ice cream here. Instead, this hero features vanilla semifreddo, an Italian frozen custard made from cream, sugar, egg yolks, and gelatin. It's easy to slide and slow to melt and is layered on top of a foundation of store-bought chocolate wafers for a cool take on the large format dessert.

15 of 19

Chocolate-Coconut Sheet Cake

Chris Court

Each is fantastic on its own, but when chocolate and coconut get together, something really special happens. This super rich, gooey chocolate sheet cake has a coconut-and-coffee topping and is served with whipped cream and a generous sprinkling of coconut flakes.

16 of 19

Lemon-Glazed Sheet Cake

lemon glazed sheet cake
Alpha Smoot

Fine-crumbed and delicate, this dessert offers a double dose of tangy brightness, thanks to a zest-filled batter and a citrus-glaze so silky, you'll need a high-sided pan to contain it. A Cy Twombly-esque tangle of candied lemon-rind ribbons is an optional—and delightfully over-the top—extra.

17 of 19

Vanilla Sheet Cake with Chocolate Ganache Buttercream

vanilla cake ganache frosting in pan
Alpha Smoot

Egg yolks—five of them!—are the MVPs in this ultra-moist version of the quintessential birthday treat. The frosting is state-of-the-art, too. Rather than the usual cocoa powder-confectioners' sugar combo, it's chocolate ganache that gets whipped—along with plenty of butter—into glossy swoops. Quick, grab the candles.

18 of 19

Orange-and-Poppy-Seed Sheet Cake

orange-and-poppy-seed sheet cake recipe
Con Poulos

Especially springy and boldly citrusy, this sheet cake recipe includes orange zest, sour cream, poppy seeds, and vanilla in the batter, and a splash of OJ in the luscious icing.

19 of 19

Cherry Sheet Cake


No frosting required! A dusting of confectioners' sugar is all that's needed to finish this cherry-studded sheet cake. Once it's sliced into easy-to-nibble triangles, it works equally well as an afternoon snack as it does a tasty party treat.

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