Vanilla Texas Sheet Cake Cupcakes

These Vanilla Texas Sheet Cake Cupcakes are reminiscent of a Texas sheet cake...extremely moist, pleasantly dense, and bursting with vanilla flavor!

Vanilla Texas Sheet Cake Cupcakes with text overlay.


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I know I'm guilty of using a lot of superlatives when I describe the recipes I share here. But these Vanilla Texas Sheet Cake Cupcakes really do take the pun intended.

I get multiple requests for this recipe every time I make it, and that's saying a lot seeing as how I make these cupcakes no less than once a month between various birthdays, holidays, and school functions. In fact, it's gotten to the point that when an event requires a baked good, I am specifically requested to bring Samantha's cupcakes.

One mound of frosting in focus.

What are Sheet Cake Cupcakes?

There is just something so good, and a little bit different, about this recipe.

These are not your standard cake-mix texture, light-and-fluffy cupcakes. They don't rise a great deal and are actually somewhat dense, but not at all in a bad or heavy way.

These cupcakes are incredibly moist, and the flavor is somehow more complex than your standard vanilla cupcakes.

Vanilla Texas Sheet Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting on cooling rack.

If you're familiar with the wonders of a chocolate Texas Sheet Cake, this cupcake recipe was actually adapted from a version of a white Texas Sheet Cake.

So when you bite into one of these beauties, there's an almost custardy undertone from the eggs and a slight tang from the sour cream. But most importantly, the true flavor of the vanilla shines through.

Vanilla Texas Sheet Cake Cupcake on table with more in background.

The Importance of Vanilla

Now I try not to be an ingredient snob, but I really believe it's important to use a high quality, pure vanilla extract in your baking, particularly in a recipe like this one (or sugar cookies, or chocolate chip cookies) where vanilla plays a starring role.

My favorite has always been Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract. I used to order a huge, 32-ounce bottle of it off of Amazon, which lasted me at least six months. But with the skyrocketing price of vanilla in recent years, it's hard to stomach spending that much at once. So these days I buy a smaller bottle at the grocery store. 😉

At any rate, good quality vanilla makes a huge, positive difference in a vanilla-centric recipe like this. So make sure you use the good stuff!

Vanilla Texas Sheet Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting on cooling rack.

Mixing Up the Batter

The other great thing about this recipe is that it's a one-pot wonder.

There's no mixing dry ingredients in one bowl and creaming butter and sugar in another. Heck, you don't even have to have the forethought to set out the butter ahead of time for softening.

Just melt and mix in a big pot and you're ready to scoop the batter into cupcake liners and pop your pans in the oven. This recipe honestly doesn't take much longer to whip up than a boxed mix, and the final result is so much tastier that you may very well never buy a boxed mix again.

Close-up on rack.

The Frosting

Lest we forget, where there is a cupcake there must be frosting. These Vanilla Texas Sheet Cake Cupcakes would be nicely complemented by just about any type of frosting, but in my humble opinion, they are unbeatable topped with Cream Cheese Frosting.

You can spread it on with a knife or, as I did with this batch of cupcakes, scoop it into a gallon-sized zipper baggie, snip off the corner of the bag, and pipe it on in a pretty little swirl from the outside perimeter to the center.

Vanilla Texas Sheet Cake Cupcakes with red and blue cupcake liners.


Do keep in mind that this recipe doesn't quite make two dozen cupcakes.

Because they don't rise a whole lot, you don't want to skimp on filling your cupcakes liners, and as a result, the batter should yield around 20 cupcakes. I doubled the recipe for my son's birthday party this past weekend and ended up with exactly 40 cupcakes.

Since the amount of frosting made with this recipe is enough to generously frost about two dozen cupcakes, you may have a bit of frosting left over (oh, darn!)...and if so, you have my permission to eat it with a spoon.

Close-up of Vanilla Texas Sheet Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.

So what are you waiting for? Whether you're celebrating a birthday, a holiday, the last day of summer vacation, or the second Tuesday in September, these Vanilla Texas Sheet Cake Cupcakes deserve a permanent spot in your recipe collection.

Try them once and I think you'll agree!

More Yummy Cupcakes

Close-up of Vanilla Texas Sheet Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Vanilla Texas Sheet Cake Cupcakes

Vanilla Texas Sheet Cake Cupcakes are reminiscent of a Texas sheet cake…extremely moist, pleasantly dense, and bursting with vanilla flavor!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 20 cupcakes (approximately)
Calories: 373kcal
Print Pin Rate


For the cupcakes:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For the frosting:

  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3 ½ to 4 cups powdered sugar, depending on your desired consistency & sweetness of frosting
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  • Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 375°F. Line cupcake pans with 20 cupcake liners.
  • In a large pot, melt butter. Add water and bring to a boil. Remove pot from heat and briskly stir in flour, sugar, and sour cream. Batter should now be cool enough to gradually stir in the eggs without them scrambling. Mix in vanilla, baking soda, and salt until all ingredients are well blended.
  • Scoop batter into cupcake liners. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of cupcake comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in pan for a few minutes before turning out onto a rack and allowing to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:

  • Using an electric mixer, beat together butter and cream cheese. Slowly blend in powdered sugar and vanilla, then beat until smooth and well-combined.


  • Start checking your cupcakes for doneness at the 15 minute mark. You don't want to overbake them or they'll start to become dry, but you do want the toothpick tester to come out clean.
  • Make sure that your butter and cream cheese are completely at room temperature before making your frosting or it will have little lumps. You shouldn't need to sift your powdered sugar. I never do and my frosting always turns out smooth, but if your powdered sugar is especially clumpy, it might not hurt to sift it first.
  • These cupcakes are so moist that you can get away with baking them early, if necessary. When I make them for a birthday party, I usually bake them two days ahead of time and pop them in the refrigerator in an airtight container. The day before the party, I frost them and put them back in the fridge. Then I set them out on party day and they have time to come to room temperature before everyone eats them. But don't get me wrong...they taste great cold, straight out of the fridge, too!


Calories: 373kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 283mg | Potassium: 46mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 38g | Vitamin A: 637IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg
Made this recipe? I'd love to see on IG!Mention @FiveHeartHome or tag #FiveHeartHome!

Adapted from AllRecipes

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5 from 7 votes (1 rating without comment)

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  1. Hi! Love this recipe and am hoping to make these for my sons party next week. I am doing a train cake so they would need to be frosted green-have you dyed this frosting before? How does it turn out? Thanks!

    1. Hi Megan! So sorry for my delayed reply. You should have no problem dying this frosting. Gel food coloring is a lot more concentrated than liquid food coloring, so I think that often makes it easier to achieve a dark color for your frosting, but either type should work. Your train cake sounds adorable and I hope your son has/had a great birthday!

  2. I have no idea how I missed these! Anyway, I pinned them Thanks again, Sam!

    1. Ha, Deb...glad you found them! You'll just have to make them a few times in a row now to make up for lost time... 😉 Thanks for stopping by and hope you have a great week!

  3. 5 stars
    I've been trying to find a worthy recipe for a vanilla cake for MONTHS now, and every time they come out either too buttery, too bland, too dry, or just gross. THIS was PERFECT. I made a batch for my daughters birthday last weekend and everyone loved them. I followed the recipe exactly then threw in a handful of sprinkles to make it "funfetti" and they were AMAZING The frosting was not too sweet with the perfect balance of sugar and cream cheese. Even 5 days later they were still perfectly moist and flavorful. I'm actually sad that I don't have any left to snack on, but I can't make a whole batch just for myself. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. I'll be sure to check out the rest of your recipes too!

    1. Oh, I'm so happy to hear that these were a hit, Lauren! I've never added sprinkles to kids would LOVE that idea. Hope your daughter had a wonderful birthday, and if you decide to try any other recipes from the site, I hope they're just as much of a success as these cupcakes were. 🙂 Have a great week!

  4. Hi!
    Can this be baked as a sheet cake instead of cupcakes? Would there be any adjustments (Since it came from a sheet cake recipe)?
    Thanks, Kim

    1. Hi Kim! Yes, this batter can be baked as a sheet cake in a 10"x15"x1" sheet pan for about 20 to 22 minutes. Hope that helps...enjoy! 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    We searched hundreds of vanilla cupcake recipes and decided to try these. They are AWESOME!! So super moist and yummy. We would add even more vanilla. Totally taste made from scratch. Thank you!!!

    1. Yay, Emily! It makes me so happy to hear that! And I have to agree with you...I don't call them "Best Ever" cupcakes for nothing. 😉 I'm just curious...did you end up making them with the Nielsen Massey vanilla? Because if you think these cupcakes already taste great with regular vanilla, the NM puts them over the top, in my humble opinion. 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by to let me know that they were a hit!

  6. Have you ever tried making your own vanilla extract? OMG it is so amazing... Here's what you do:
    Go buy a small bottle of vodka and make yourself one drink so that there is room in the bottle. As you use those expensive vanilla beans - after you scrape the seeds for your recipes stuff the bean pods in the vodka bottle. It takes a while for it to come to the rich brown color - maybe a month or two depending on how often you use vanilla beans. You can refill the vodka over and over. I love this because it is so cheap and gives me a way to get my moneys worth out of those expensive beans. I call this my eye roll ingredient, because whenever I use it baking something I typically will almost always get an eye roll when someone takes that first bite because it is so yummy, good vanilla extract really does make the difference!

    1. Thanks so much for the tips, Wendy! I've never tried making my own vanilla but I've always wanted to. I'll have to come back and reference your directions when I'm ready...thanks again! 😉

  7. Hi Samantha, I was looking for a recipe for my daughter's 1 year birthday when I found yours. I was planning a raspberry filling. Do you think your recipe would work with a filling? Any suggestions? Thanks!

    1. Hi, Kristen...great question! I think that the flavor of these cupcakes would be great with raspberry filling. As far as filling them, are you planning on sticking a piping bag in the center of the cupcakes and filling them that way? I think that would work just fine, as long as the cupcakes are at room temperature. Like I mentioned in the post, these aren't really light, fluffy cupcakes...they have a denser texture, but without being heavy. That being said, they can be somewhat firm/solid when you refrigerate them, and I'm not sure if they might offer too much resistance to having filling piped into the center if they were cold.

      So to summarize my rambling answer... 😉 I've never filled these, but I think it would work fine. And if you ran into any issues, you could always scoop a little divot in the top, squeeze in some filling, and then frost over the top!

      Hope this helps! Happy birthday to your baby girl! My daughter just turned 1, too... 🙂

      1. Thanks for the advice. (I need all the help I can get!) So, can I make the cupcakes the day before and icing them the day of? If I can make them ahead, do I just cover them or put them in fridge or...? Or, can I completely make them the day before? (I'm sorry if you already answered these questions)

        1. No problem, Kristen! I think you can make the complete cupcakes the day before if you'd like to. Bake the cupcakes, and once they're cool, fill them and frost them. Then put them in a container in the refrigerator overnight. (I have some big "Rubbermaid TakeAlongs" brand plastic containers that hold a dozen or so cupcakes each, so I usually fill a couple of those with my cupcakes and stack them in the fridge.) An hour or so before your party, take the cupcakes out of the fridge so that they can come to room temperature before serving (although they're tasty cold, too!).

          If you have any more questions, don't hesitate to ask. Good luck!

        2. Just wanted to clarify, don't have to bake, fill, and frost all on the same day. It is perfectly fine to bake the cupcakes one day and fill and frost them a day or two later!

          If you do this, I would refrigerate the cupcakes after they cool (refrigerating them will keep them fresher leading up to your party), then let them come to room temperature before filling and frosting. After they are all done, pop them back in the refrigerator, then take them out an hour or so before serving to come to room temperature. They should be perfect!

          I'm not trying to confuse just occurred to me that you might want to do the different steps on different days, and I didn't want to mislead you with my last comment by making you think that the cupcakes had to be completed all on the same day.

          Have a great night! 🙂

        3. 5 stars
          I ended up doing everything the day of, and they turned out great. Everyone enjoyed them. Thanks for the recipe and the advice. 🙂

          1. I'm so glad to hear that the cupcakes turned out well and were a hit, Kristen...I really appreciate you coming back to let me know! Now put up your feet after all of that party planning... 😉 Hope you have a great week!

  8. H Samantha!
    I would love to make these cupcakes of yours, but I'm unsure about how they will do at high altitude... we are nearly a mile high here... any ideas? Thanks so much! 🙂

    1. Oh goodness, Marie...I'm afraid I have zero experience with high altitude baking! So I can't offer any advice, but I did find what looks to be a good resource on the topic: . Maybe it will help you at least a little bit?

      I hope you figure out a way to make this recipe work for you at high altitude, and if you do, I would love for you to come back and share your results for anyone else who has the same question! 🙂 Good luck! Hope you have a great day.