Perfect One-Bowl Lemon Birthday Sheet Cake

April 10, 2020

This Perfect One-Bowl Lemon Birthday Sheet Cake is a whole lot of goodness that melts-in-your-mouth. Not only is it completely moist, + fluffy, but it’s also loaded with a nice balance between tart and sweet as the bursting of lemon flavor paired with a deliciously whipped vanilla buttercream frosting, which both works amazingly together. A definite crowd-pleasing treat for the Easter season, Birthday, or special occasion. Vegan option available.

Perfect One-Bowl Vanilla Birthday Sheet Cake

With Easter just a few short days away and it being Good Friday, I’m so excited to be sharing this recipe with ya’ll.

Honestly, this year will be different for many of us due to this Pandemic, however, one thing’s for sure—-Jesus still reigns.

Despite all that is going on, I’ve been making the intention to tune out a lot of the bad news and keep things not only positive, but ever so leaning unto my Faith.

This new way of living, especially at the epicenter of it all (NYC) has been so crazy, but I’m hopeful and know that things are working together for good.

Perfect One-Bowl Vanilla Birthday Sheet Cake

Thankfully, when it came to recipes, I spent most of March creating a ton of content, which has been helping me to keep things fresh for you guys!

This sheet cake in particular is one of the recipes that I made last month and oh boy do I miss it. It’s SO GOOD!

This is such an EASY cake, ya’ll. I promise. And it’s the best sweet indulge for the entire family!

You can definitely make this over the Easter weekend or for Birthdays or special occasions ahead. Whatever the occasion, this cake is perfect!

Similar to my previous Lemon + Strawberry Layer Spring Cake, this sheet cake is super moist, fluffy, and loaded with flavor.

Initially, I’ve always felt intimidated when baking a cake because I find that cakes requires such precision. Since I’m self-taught, my cakes would always look like something made by a home-baker. Haha. This isn’t a bad thing by the way—I’m just saying.

However, with much practice, I’ve gotten a lot better and found baking cakes to get easier and easier with time.

Perfect One-Bowl Vanilla Birthday Sheet Cake

SO, WHAT’S MY SECRET TO SUCH A FLUFFY CAKE?

The buttermilk and mixture of flourspart all-purpose flour and part super fine cake flour. This combo definitely creates a beautiful bite.

WHAT YOU’LL LOVE MOST ABOUT THIS CAKE?

It’s super fluffy and moist.

Bold lemon + vanilla flavors.

Delicious and comforting in every bite.

Melt in your mouth goodness!

Can be made as a traditional 2-layer cake, sheet cake, or cupcakes. Your choice!

Not too sweet, but perfectly sweet at the same time.

That Whipped Vanilla Buttercream Frosting is EVERYTHING.

Absolutely delicious!

Perfect One-Bowl Vanilla Birthday Sheet Cake

COMMON Q + A’S ABOUT THIS SHEET CAKE.

How long will this sheet cake last for?

When tightly wrapped + refrigerated, this cake can be stored for up to 5 days.

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! In all honesty, I tend to use Cake Flour by itself when I decide not to mix it in with All-Purpose Flour. Using Cake Flour alone makes your cake even more soft, fluffy, and moist! Of course, you can always use All-Purpose Flour solely if you don’t have Cake Flour.

Can this 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 coconut or vegetable oil. Wallah!

Why are the ingredients at room temperature?

When it comes to ingredients, especially in baking, it’s always best to have cold ingredients at room temperature to ensure that the mixing process is more seamless and even. Please note that microwaving your butter last minute if you forget to leave it out at room temperature isn’t recommended. Microwaving often changes the consistency of the butter which doesn’t create a nice ‘creaminess’ when mixed.

Can this cake be made into a 2-layer or cupcakes?

Absolutely! You can always divide the batter into two 8-inch cake pans for a nice double layer cake or into cupcake pans. The bake time will be a little less, therefore, keeping your eyes on them is super important.

NEED OTHER AWESOME CAKE IDEAS? THESE ARE WORTH IT!

This Vegan Carrot Cake + Orange-infused Frosting isn’t your traditional version of carrot cake. Not only is it completely vegan, fluffy, + moist, but it’s also loaded with shredded carrots, orange zest, pecan/walnuts, pineapple, and a ton of warm, fall spices that create one decadent flavor.

Hands down, this Vegan Banana Cake + Cinnamon Browned Butter Buttercream is the best you’ll ever have! Not only is it completely moist + fluffy, but it’s rich in flavor and comes loaded with banana + nut flavors + warm spices, that when paired with this airy vegan browned butter-cinnamon infused buttercream, it’s absolutely irresistible.

This Classic Red Velvet Cake + Cream Cheese Frosting is a healthier option to the decadent classic—Red Velvet Cake! Not only is it completely moist + fluffy, but it’s also filled with a velvety cream cheese buttercream that when paired with this fluffy cake (made with premium cocoa powder), they all work amazingly together.

This Vegan Chocolate Cake + Chocolate Buttercream is a healthier option to the decadent classic—Chocolate Cake! Not only is it completely moist + fluffy, but it’s also filled with an airy Cacao buttercream that when paired with this velvety vegan chocolate (cacao) buttercream, they all work amazingly together. 

This Vegan Funfetti Cake + Vanilla Buttercream is a healthier option to your classic childhood favorite—funfetti!. Not only is it completely moist + fluffy, but it’s also loaded with sweet little rainbow sprinkles that when paired with this airy vegan vanilla buttercream, they all work amazingly together.

Perfect One-Bowl Vanilla Birthday Sheet Cake

Now, let’s dig right into this recipe, shall we?

Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease OR line with parchment paper an 8′ inch square pan (for a thicker cake) or a 9 x 13 baking pan.

In a large bowl, add the sugar and unsalted butter, mixing with a handheld mixer until fluffy and airy.

Add in the eggs, vanilla, lemon juice, baking powder, lemon zest, followed by the flour, salt, and milk; mixing until well combined and lump-free.

Pour batter evenly into prepared pan, spreading everything around for a perfect evenness.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the center of the cake comes out clean using a toothpick or butter knife.

Once done, remove cake from the oven and let cool completely.

To Make Whipped Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:

In a large bowl, add the powdered sugar and unsalted butter together, beating until it looks ‘peas-like’. Beat in the salt, vanilla, and milk until buttercream is creamy and fluffy.

**NOTE: If buttercream is too ‘runny’, add additional powdered sugar (1 Tbsps at a time); if too thick, add additional milk (1 Tbsp at a time).**

Using a spatula, top cooled cake with buttercream and gently spread over the top until fully coated and even. Top with rainbow sprinkles and wallah!

Slice into squares and enjoy!

Bon Appetit!

Orchids + Sweet Tea
Perfect One-Bowl Lemon Birthday Sheet Cake
Perfect One-Bowl Lemon Birthday Sheet Cake

Perfect One-Bowl Lemon Birthday Sheet Cake

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
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Ingredients

Lemon Cake:

  • 2 cups super fine cake flour  (I use Bob’s Red Mill; See Notes!)
  • 1 cup organic all-purpose flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill; See Notes!)
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups organic pure cane sugar (I use Wholesome Sweets)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temp. (That's 2 stick!; I use Land O'Lakes)
  • 3 large organic eggs, room temp. (I use Organic Valley)
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plant-based 'buttermilk'  (See Notes!)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup juice of a lemon (That's 1 medium lemon!)

Whipped Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:

  • 4-5 cups organic powered sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temp. (That's 2 stick!; I use Land O'Lakes)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 Tbsps Almond milk (I use Califia Farms; You can use your fave plant-based milk!)

Other:

  • 1 cup Rainbow Sprinkles

Instructions

  • Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease OR line with parchment paper an 8' inch square pan (for a thicker cake) or a 9 x 13 baking pan.
  • In a large bowl, add the sugar and unsalted butter, mixing with a handheld mixer until fluffy and airy.
  • Add in the eggs, vanilla, lemon juice, baking powder, lemon zest, followed by the flour, salt, and milk; mixing until well combined and lump-free.
  • Pour batter evenly into prepared pan, spreading everything around for a perfect evenness.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the center of the cake comes out clean using a toothpick or butter knife.
  • Once done, remove cake from the oven and let cool completely.

To Make Whipped Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:

  • In a large bowl, add the powdered sugar and unsalted butter together, beating until it looks 'peas-like'. Beat in the salt, vanilla, and milk until buttercream is creamy and fluffy.
  • **NOTE: If buttercream is too 'runny', add additional powdered sugar (1 Tbsps at a time); if too thick, add additional milk (1 Tbsp at a time).**
  • Using a spatula, top cooled cake with buttercream and gently spread over the top until fully coated and even. Top with rainbow sprinkles and wallah!
  • Slice into squares and enjoy!
  • Bon Appetit!

Tips & Tricks

STORAGE: Keep 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) + 1 Tbsp 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 entirely instead. 
VEGAN OPTION: To make this cake vegan, simply substitute eggs and unsalted butter with Apple Cider Vinegar (1 Tbsp) to be mixed in with the plant-based milk instead of ‘buttermilk’. In addition, add baking soda.
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!

DID YOU MAKE THIS recipe?

Tag @orchidsnsweettea_ on Instagram and hashtag it #orchidsandsweettea

 

Perfect One-Bowl Lemon Birthday Sheet Cake.

ORCHIDS + SWEET TEA

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  1. Hi! I just made this cake, and might have made a grave mistake…. I added the eggs, baking powder, lemon juice, and vanilla as directed. When I added lemon juice and baking powder together, the baking powder reacted and fizzed. Now the baked cake hasn’t risen much and the crumb is very tight, almost like a brownie consistency. I think adding the lemon juice and baking powder together was the wrong way to go. The flavor of the baked cake is delicious! I know my baking powder is fine- I truly bake almost every day and use baking powder multiple times per week. So I’m thinking the only thing was that the juice and powder reacted and spoiled that reaction from occurring inside the oven. Do you think so? If so, maybe update the method here to reflect juice and baking powder added separately? Thank you so much- I am looking forward to your answer because I do want to try it again- the flavor is spot on!!

    • Hi Renee! Oh No! I’m so sorry that it didn’t rise much! It’s definitely caused by the reaction of both being together! I’d recommend adding all of the dry ingredients together, then adding the wet ingredients, but perhaps starting with the milk and making the lemon juice last. Thanks so much for pointing that out—I’ll be sure to specify this in the recipe! I do hope that you get a chance to try it again! 🙂

      • Thank you for the reply, Shanika! I saw it fizz and thought… “Ohhhhh nooooo…” but by then it was too late to change it. I will try again for sure! I’ll keep ya posted! Thanks again- Renee

    • Hi Michiel! Thanks so much! It really is the perfect easy cake! I hope that you get a chance to try it!:-)

  2. Yes! Jesus still reigns whether Easter looks like it has in past years or different given the current circumstances. This cake is such a happy delicious treat you can’t help but smile when eating! I’ll be quarantined for my birthday this year and this seems like the perfect cake to celebrate with. Stay safe up there!!

    • I couldn’t agree with you more, Aimee! It never matters what it looks like. He’s unchanging! I hope that you enjoy this one on your Birthday for sure! It’s SO GOOD! Thanks so much—–stay safe and Happiest of Birthdays when it comes! 🙂

    • Thanks so much, Shannon! Definitely takes practice, but so easy! I hope that you enjoy this as much as I did! 🙂