Vanilla Texas Sheet Cake

Vanilla Texas Sheet Cake

The Fourth of July is a lot of pressure.

Friday, one of my dogs, really doesn’t care for fireworks, thankyouverymuch. He paces and whimpers, and just generally looks very concerned—about what, he’s not entirely sure. Poor Friday. There’s just no reasoning with him when he gets like that, try as I might.

Then there’s the no-bake gluten-free dessert pressure, since summer is in full swing and it can take some convincing to get you to turn on the oven. You have my solemn promise to post plenty more no-bake dessert recipes this summer.

But for now, I’m going with this vanilla version of chocolate gluten-free Texas Sheet Cake. And since it’s white, if you serve it with some blueberries and strawberries, you’ve got your red-white-and-blue covered for the Fourth, if that’s how you roll.

The tradition is largely the same as the original Texas sheet cake, but I hope you won’t break up with me straight away when you learn that I actually prefer this vanilla version.

It’s almost like the cake version of some nice vanilla pudding. Smooth and light with a deep vanilla flavor, even though you might have to fire up the oven (for just a few minutes) to bake it, it’s right at home on a hot day with some chilled fruit salad.

I’m even considering baking it into some mini cupcakes, and icing those, to bring along wherever I’m lucky enough to be invited.

If you haven’t tried it before, you’re going to want to get acquainted with vanilla bean paste (link below in the printable recipe). It’s not cheap, but neither is pure vanilla extract, and it’s way cheaper than buying actual vanilla beans. And that’s a fact, Jack. Plus, it really makes this cake special.

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 1 9-inch x 12-inch sheet cake


For the cake
3/4 cup (105 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1/4 cup (36 g) cornstarch

1 3/4 cup (201 g) confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter

1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) milk

1/2 cup (112 g) sour cream, at room temperature

1 egg (50 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

For the icing
2 cups (230 g) confectioners’ sugar

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter

3 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste


  • Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Line a quarter sheet pan (9-inches by 13-inches) with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.


  • First, make the cake. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, sugar, baking soda and salt, and whisk to combine well. Set the bowl aside. In a small saucepan, heat the butter and milk over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter is completely melted. Pour the melted butter and milk mixture over the dry ingredients, and mix to combine. Add the sour cream, egg and vanilla bean paste, and mix to combine. Pour the batter into the prepared sheet pan, and spread into an even layer with a wet spatula. Place the baking sheet into the preheated oven and bake until the cake is uniform and springs back readily when pressed gently with a finger, about 20 minutes.

  • During the last 10 minutes of the cake’s baking, make the icing. In a large bowl, place the confectioners’ sugar and salt and whisk to combine well. Set the bowl aside. In a clean small saucepan, place the butter and the milk, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter is completely melted. Remove the saucepan from the stove, add the vanilla bean paste and mix to combine. Pour the hot butter and milk mixture over the dry ingredients, and mix to combine.

  • Once the cake is finished baking, remove the pan from the oven and pour the hot icing over the hot cake. Spread the icing over the entire surface of the cake with a wet spatula, working quickly to ensure that the icing is spread before it begins to set. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan to room temperature. Lift the cake out of the pan by the parchment paper once it is cool. Slice into 12 to 16 pieces, and serve chilled or at room temperature. The cake is easiest to slice with a warm, sharp knife when the cake itself is cold.


Comments are closed.

  • candace
    July 7, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    Hey Nicole, when you say to double the recipe, you should put disclaimers all over the place to double everything. I am such a ding dong. experienced baker and only doubled the dry ingredients…duh!

    • Candace
      July 9, 2012 at 2:28 PM

      I just have to say, in case that came out the wrong way…I goofed big time..not you. My kids ate it though. A Full sheet cake gone wrong. It was like an eggy dough, almost like the inside of a petite choux..thanks for all you do and I will pay more attention next time ;)

      • July 9, 2012 at 4:04 PM

        Gotcha, Candace. I figured you weren’t blaming me for not specifying that all ingredients in a recipe should be doubled when doubling a recipe. ;)
        xoxo Nicole

  • Candace
    July 5, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Hello Nicole, do you consider Better Batter a high-quality all-purpose gluten-free flour? I know you “favor” Better Batter, but I thought to ask because I think my GF family will LOVE this vanilla cake. Thanks for all you do. I especially like your recipes with the various GF flours. I am often asked at my GF store why I buy various flours and I have tried to explain how they work differently for different baking needs, but they just look at me all confused. I am glad I have someone to back me up on that “unprofessional” opinion I have had for a few years ;) Thanks for all you do!

    • July 5, 2012 at 9:50 PM

      Yes, of course, Candace! Better Batter is always okay unless I specify something else.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Lauren
    July 5, 2012 at 9:04 AM

    Yay! Texas Sheet Cake is a must – will have to make this ASAP! Love all of your recipes and truly enjoy reading your blog! Random question – love the plate in the picture. May I ask where you got it?! Thank you!!

    • July 5, 2012 at 9:41 PM

      Hi, Lauren,
      The plate is from Pier 1, I think, but ages ago, I’m afraid. I doubt you’d find it there now!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Mjk
    July 5, 2012 at 2:23 AM

    The Vanilla Texas Sheet Cake was a HIT tonight as we celebrated the 4th!! Every 4th of July we make our annual flag cake and always have left overs, this year NONE! People were asking for more! Thanks for the recipe, this ones a keeper!! :)

    • July 5, 2012 at 9:40 PM

      Thanks for the nice note, Mjk. So glad you enjoyed the sheet cake! No leftovers is the sign of a good cake, but it’s a little disappointing the next day, when a little leftover piece would be nice. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Val
    July 4, 2012 at 10:08 PM

    I made this tonight to rave reviews from everyone. My son and I are the only GF ones in the bunch so I always take something that I know we can eat. I love sheet cake but am also chocolate-free now ( :( ) so the vanilla option was great! We had it with strawberries and blueberries in honor of the 4th. Thanks!

    • July 5, 2012 at 9:37 PM

      So glad it worked out well for you, Val. Chocolate free sounds rough, but I’ve always been somewhat partial to vanilla anyhow.
      xoxo Nicole

  • jenny
    July 4, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    Seeing this made me remember a lemon Texas sheetcake and so I used this recipe and stubbed in lemon extract and some zest…I am in heaven. Thank you!!

    • July 4, 2012 at 8:30 PM

      Oh, well done, Jenny! That sounds awesome. Perfect for summer!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Lisa
    July 4, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    Vanilla?? Hmmm… interesting!!I’m a die hard Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake gal and my late aunt’s version was my favorite! I think she would have approved of this vanilla version and I am putting this on the list of cakes to try. But for right now, I’ve got the chocolate Texas Cake cooling right now! It’s sheer torture to not take a slice right now and head out to the pool! I got up early to bake so I don’t heat up the kitchen during the day. (We are forecast with a high of 102 and a heat index of 112. I don’t care, if it’s over 80, it’s flippin’ hot!!).
    I also have a dog with the ‘big boom phobia’ as well! Our Beemer whines, cries, and paces all while carrying one of his toys around. He does this even with a ‘thundershirt’ on! You are right, there’s no consoling them!
    Thanks for being the test kitchen for all of us, your humble followers!!! We love you!

    • July 4, 2012 at 8:31 PM

      I’m with you, Lisa. If it’s over 80, it’s hot! I hope your aunt would approve. Good idea getting up early to bake. This cake is worth it!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Tanya G.
    July 3, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    This looks really delicious. I am just wondering what purpose the sour cream serves? Do you think I could use veg milk and yogurt perhaps? I have your first cookbook and if I recall correctly, you say it’s okay to sub non-dairy for dairy unless otherwise specified, but I just want to make sure.

    Sidenote: I made your Nanaimo Bars a while back and they were amazeballs. My husband said they were his favorite dessert and my mother in law said they were they best thing she’d ever eaten. I had never heard of them before, but I made them based on the beautiful photos.

    • July 3, 2012 at 8:29 PM

      Hi, Tanya,
      You should be able to substitute in yogurt in place of sour cream without a problem, but I haven’t tried it myself. I also haven’t tried this recipe with any nondairy substitutes, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work just fine. On the blog, I don’t necessarily indicate if a nondairy sub won’t work, unlike my cookbook (as you mentioned). Thanks for picking up a copy of the book! And I’m so glad you love the Nanaimo Bars! Sounds like you impressed the heck out of your mother-in-law. That’s never a bad thing. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Anneke
    July 3, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    Huh. Vanilla Texas Sheet Cake. Never thought of that! That’s why we have you, Nicole, ’cause you think of everything!

    • July 3, 2012 at 8:34 PM

      Hi, Anneke! I thought of you when I posted this decidedly “bake” (as opposed to “no bake”) recipe. It’s not a very hot oven at 325 degrees, and it’s only for 20 minutes flat. At least that’s how I rationalize it all. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • July 3, 2012 at 9:36 AM

    First, cute plates. Second, bring on the no bake, the hot and humid months last till about mid october here in central La (fort polk, La ) and if i don’t have to use my oven then i am one happy person.

    Third, a vanilla version, hmmmm. I think you are trying to tell me something :).

    • July 3, 2012 at 11:54 AM

      Hi, Dede! Oh, wow. Hot & humid until mid-October? That’s something else. I thought we had it rough in New York these days! Maybe if you bake later at night, you’ll be able to stay cool … and have Texas sheet cake. :)
      xoxo Nicole

Where should I send your free guide?

By entering your email, you're agreeing to our Privacy Policy. We respect your email privacy, and will never share your information.