Can be also made as a traditional 2-layer cake or cupcakes!
Perfectly sweet with hints of tartness----not at all overwhelming!
Whipped Lemon Buttercream is EVERYTHING!
How Many will a Sheet Cake Feed?
If you're thinking of making this Lemon sheet cake for a crowd at a party or gathering, great news! You can totally make a larger sheet cake (full sheet cake pan size of 18" x 26") which can feed about 50-100 people. This recipe can make 12-24 slices of cake, depending on how small you cut the squares.
Ingredients for Lemon Sheet Cake
This is a classic birthday sheet cake. Here are the ingredients you need:
Flour. The blend for this cake batter is a combination of all-purpose flour and organic cake flour, however, using cake flour alone will create a lighter, fluffier texture.
Baking powder to help leaven your cake.
Cane sugar. I use organic sugar for the best quality.
Lemon zest adds a major zippy lemony flavor.
Butter. Use unsalted butter to better control the seasoning. However, you can use salted butter and omit the salt.
Eggs. These should be at room temperature for easy mixing and this works as a binder. For a vegan option, you'll need apple cider vinegar to create a dairy-free buttermilk.
Lemon juice. I like to use freshly-squeezed lemon juice for an authentic lemony flavor. You could also use lemon extract if you like.
Vegetable oil. You can substitute with a healthier oil like coconut oil, olive oil, or melted butter or vegan butter too.
Milk. I love using Almond milk to reduce dairy, however, feel free to use whole milk. Try using homemade almond milk!
How to Make the Fluffiest Sheet Cake
Always ensure that your cold ingredients come to room temperature. This allows the batter to mix together better which creates the best cake texture.
Don't over-bake or under-bake your cake. Always keep an eye on your cake and test the doneness by gently pressing the tops to see if it springs back and the centers by using a cake tester or knife to ensure that it comes out clean.
Always cool your cake completely before frosting! This is major and will make sure that your whipped frosting stays on perfectly without sliding or melting off.
Why you will LOVE this Birthday Sheet Cake
Perfect balance of sweetness to satisfy your cravings.
Insanely delicious and perfectly moist.
Fresh & Fluffy.
A totally dreamy spring or summer dessert for any occasion, especially for Birthdays!
Gluten-free & Vegan options to suit all!
Vibrant lemony flavor.
Most importantly... It's totally mouthwatering
How Big is a Half Sheet Cake?
OK, so if you're a little intrigued about the sizes of a sheet pan, then look no further. Here's a breakdown of the sizes and the amounts of cake that you can achieve:
Half sheet cake: This recipe uses this pan and can make 12-24 slices of cake, depending on how large you cut them.
¼ sheet cake: Would be half the amount of this recipe and should make around 6-12 slices of cake, depending on how large you cut them.
Full sheet cake: Would require this recipe to be doubled and should make around 50 -100 slices, depending on how large you cut them.
How to Make Your Own Homemade Cake Flour
If you're in a pinch and you don't have any cake flour on hand and you only have all-purpose flour---no worries! You can still achieve that extra fluffiness that cake flour would by simply adding 1 teaspoon of arrowroot or starch to your flour before whisking.
Lemon Sheet Cake FAQs
Can this Cake be Made Ahead or Frozen for Longer?
Absolutely! You can always bake this cake the night or day before and let it cool, tightly wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use. The buttercream frosting can also be made prior and tightly wrapped and stored in the fridge as well. When ready to serve, let cake sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour, frost, and enjoy!
To store frozen (frosted or unfrosted), simply tightly wrap and cover cake and freeze for up to 2-3 months. To serve, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bring to room temperature.
Can I use Cake Flour by itself?
Definitely! You can replace the all-purpose flour and use 100% cake flour in this recipe. Using cake flour alone makes your cake even more soft, fluffy, and moist!On the other hand, you can also make this sheet cake with 100% all-purpose flour if that's what you have on hand.
Can this Sheet Cake be Made Vegan?
Yup. To make this cake vegan, you can simply substitute the eggs with apple cider vinegar mixed into the milk and the unsalted butter with vegan butter.
Can I use this Cake recipe to Make Cupcakes or a 2-Layer Cake?
Absolutely! Simply follow the recipe as written and bake in a lined cupcake pan for 18-20 minutes. This should make about 30 cupcakes.
You can also divide the batter into two 8-inch cake pans for a nice double layer cake. The bake time will be a little less in a smaller pan so keep your eyes on them during baking.
Can I Make this Sheet Cake Gluten-Free?
Of course! If you would love to make this cake gluten-free, then substituting all-purpose flour with Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Baking Flour is the easiest option. It’s a special blend of gluten-free flours, starches, and xanthan gum, which makes this cake just as soft, fluffy, and airy as the original! They also have a great All-purpose GF flour that works great as well.
Can I Use Lemon Juice Instead of Lemon Extract?
I highly recommend using freshly-squeezed lemon juice to bring acidity to your cake, which interacts with the leavener for a fluffy, soft texture, BUT also for a bolder, high-quality taste that extract just wouldn't give.
However, if lemon extract is what you have on hand, by all means use it! In this recipe, you'll need about 3-4 large lemons for a good amount of juice. The trick to more juice: Firmly roll your lemon (one by one) unto a hard surface or countertop prior to cutting and squeezing. This helps to extract more juices without the need to squeeze for your life. Haha.
Can I Use Lemon Juice Instead of Lemon Zest?
Of course! If you don't have lemon zest on hand because you're using store-bought lemon juice or you just prefer not to add it in, you can always substitute the zest with additional lemon juice. The general rule of thumb is to add 2 Tbsps of lemon juice for every 1 teaspoon of lemon zest called for. That simple!
Decorating Lemon Sheet Cake for Birthdays
If I'm serving this cake for a birthday, I always shower it with rainbow sprinkles. Other fun ways to dress up this lemon sheet cake include:
White chocolate chips
Add a bit of food coloring for a festive look
How to Best Store Lemon Sheet Cake
Keep cake leftovers stored for up to 4-5 days in the fridge. Keep it in an airtight container to keep the cake from drying out. You can also freeze the cake tightly wrapped in plastic wrap for up to 3 months. Before serving, defrost the cake on the counter.
Celebrate spring with a slice of delicious Lemon Strawberry Layer Cake! With layers of moist lemon cake and sweet strawberry frosting, this dessert is the perfect way to welcome the warmer weather.
This Vegan Vanilla Dinosaur Birthday Cake is the perfect thing to make for any child's birthday. Rich in vanilla flavor, fluffy, and completely moist, this birthday cake is one of the tastiest things to enjoy on such a special occasion.
If you tried this Perfect One-Bowl Lemon Birthday Sheet Cake or any other recipe on my website, please please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you go in the 📝 comments below. I love hearing from you.
1cupunsalted butter, softened at room temp.(That's 2 stick!)
1 ½cupsorganic cane sugar
3largeorganic eggs, at room temp.
1tablespoonfreshly-squeezed lemon juice(You can sub with 2 tsps of lemon extract if desired.)
1cupAlmond milk(You can sub with whole milk)
LEMON BUTTERCREAM FROSTING:
5cupsorganic powdered sugar, sifted
1cupunsalted butter, softened at room temp.(That's 2 stick!)
2tspsfreshly-squeezed lemon juice
2-3TbspsAlmond milk(You can also use whole milk or heavy cream; Just add the lemon juice in for a "buttermilk")
TO MAKE LEMON SHEET CAKE:
Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease and line with parchment paper (with two sides hanging out) an 8-inch square pan (for a thicker cake) or a half sheet pan.
In a bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, lemon zest, and sea salt until combined. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat together the sugar and unsalted butter, using a hand-mixer (or electric stand-mixer) on high speed, until fluffy and airy, about 2-3 minutes.
Reduce the speed to low and add in the eggs (one at a time), lemon juice, oil, and milk, followed by the dry ingredients, mixing everything together until combined, smooth, and lump-free, about 2-3 minutes. DON'T OVERMIX!
Pour batter into prepared pan, spreading everything evenly.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the center of the cake comes out clean when tested with a toothpick, cake tester, or knife. Also, the tops should bounce back once gently pressed.
Once done, remove the cake from the oven and let it cool for 25-30 minutes before carefully lifting it from the pan and unto a cooling rack to cool completely.
TO MAKE THE LEMON BUTTERCREAM FROSTING:
In a large bowl, add in the butter and beat using a hand-mixer on high speed, until light, pale, and smooth. Add in the lemon juice and continue to mix until combined.
Add in the powdered sugar and milk until completely smooth, whipped, and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. NOTE: If buttercream is too 'runny', add additional powdered sugar (1 tablespoon at a time); if too thick, add additional milk (1 tablespoon at a time).
Using a metal or rubber spatula, top cooled cake with buttercream frosting and evenly spread over the top until fully covered and smooth. Top with rainbow sprinkles, fresh berries, or whatever you like and wallah!
Cut into small or medium-sized squares and enjoy! NOTE: Larger squares makes around 12 servings versus smaller ones.
Tips & Tricks
STORAGE: Keep leftover cake tightly wrapped using plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 5 days. To store frozen (frosted or unfrosted), simply tightly wrap and cover cake and freeze for up to 2-3 months. To serve, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bring to room temperature.
LEMON CUPCAKES: This recipe yields about 30 cupcakes. Simply bake for 18-20 minutes instead, until centers come out clean.
PLANT-BASED BUTTERMILK: Add 1 cup of Almond milk (or your fave plant-based milk) + lemon juice and let sit for 10 minutes, until it slightly thickens.
FLOUR: If you don’t have cake flour, you can always just use all-purpose flour instead.
VEGAN OPTION: To make this cake vegan, simply omit the eggs and substitute the unsalted butter with vegan butter (softened); Apple Cider Vinegar (1 Tbsp) to be mixed in with the plant-based milk instead for 'buttermilk'; add ½ teaspoon baking soda to dry ingredients.
MAKE AHEAD: You can always bake this cake the night or day before and let it cool, tightly wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use. The buttercream frosting can also be made prior and tightly wrapped and stored in the fridge as well. When ready to serve, let cake sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour, frost, and enjoy!