vanilla birthday cake without a cake pan sliced
Birthday Recipes, Cakes, Desserts

Vanilla Birthday Cake without a Cake Pan

This post may contain affiliate sales links. As an Amazon associate, we earn commission on qualifying purchases you make. Please see our privacy policy for full details.
Share this

This birthday cake recipe is made with vanilla cake batter that you can pipe, so you don’t need a cake pan to make a layer cake! The cake is incredibly moist, rich, and buttery – and you can pair it with any frosting. It really puts the “happy” in happy birthday!

I’m a firm believer that the key to a happy birthday is a rocking dessert to go along with it!

vanilla birthday cake without a cake pan slicing piece

Subscribe to Eats Delightful!

Sign up now to get our favorite recipe of the month delivered straight to your inbox.

    We respect your privacy. You can unsubscribe at any time.

    A few years back, I didn’t have any pans other than your standard 9×13 inch baking sheets. And while you can always make a sheet pan cake (yum!), sometimes, you crave a layer cake!

    Which is how this recipe came about! I created a cake batter that can be made on a standard baking sheet and can be piped into a rounded cake. And once you layer it, no one will be able to tell it was made without a cake pan!

    vanilla birthday cake without a cake pan sliced side view of cake (1)
    vanilla birthday cake without a cake pan ingredients

    Vanilla cake ingredients:

    flour
    • baking powder
    • salt
    • sugar
    • butter
    • vegetable oil: I like to use both butter and vegetable oil for a better flavor and texture for the cake. Butter adds richness while vegetable oil makes the cake super moist!
    • eggs
    • sour cream: Since we’re making this cake without a cake pan, it’s important to use sour cream. It doesn’t cause as much leaking or expansion as milk
    vanilla extract
    • frosting: You can use any frosting you like. I used a double batch of my favorite vanilla buttercream frosting

    How to make vanilla cake without a cake pan:

    1. Combine dry ingredients. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, and set aside.
    2. Combine sugar, butter, and oil. In a large bowl, cream together sugar, butter, and oil until combined.
    3. Add eggs in. Add the eggs in one at a time, whisking well after each addition.
    4. Whisk in sour cream and vanilla.
    5. Combine wet and dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Some lumps are fine!

    6. Pipe batter. Fill a large piping bag or plastic bag with the cake batter. Pipe 3 (9 inch) cake rounds on parchment lined baking sheets, then smoothen the tops. Make sure to leave a good amount of room between each cake round because they will expand quite a bit as they bake! If needed, you can bake 2 to 3 batches. The batter can sit out for up to 30 minutes at room temperature.
    7. Cool & frost! I find the cakes are easiest to assemble if you freeze them for 20 to 30 minutes to let them firm up (otherwise they are quite soft and fragile).

    vanilla birthday cake without a cake pan slices in plates

    Vanilla cake frosting ideas:

    You can use any frosting you love with this cake. A few of my favorite pairings include caramel frosting, whipped chocolate ganache, ermine frosting, vanilla buttercream or chocolate buttercream frosting, cream cheese frosting, or a simple whipped cream!

    Just do note that the cake itself is quite rich! So if you choose to go with a sweeter and more butter heavy frosting (like vanilla buttercream), I’d recommend sticking to a thin layer. But if you go with something a little lighter in sugar and butter (like a simple whipped cream or ermine frosting) then go to town!

    Check out these other recipes!

    one bowl chocolate cake
    sour cream vanilla cupcakes (it’s the inspiration for this batter!)
    funfetti cupcakes
    red velvet cupcakes
    frosted chocolate sheet cake


    Vanilla Birthday Cake Recipe

    This birthday cake recipe is made with vanilla cake batter that you can pipe, so you don't need a cake pan to make a layer cake! The cake is incredibly moist, rich, and buttery – and you can pair it with any frosting. It really puts the "happy" in happy birthday!
    Prep Time 20 minutes
    Bake Time 10 minutes
    Total Time 30 minutes
    Servings 8 to 12

    Ingredients

    • 2 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 & 1/2 cups granulated sugar
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
    • 2/3 cups vegetable oil
    • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
    • 2/3 cup sour cream, at room temperature
    • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    • your choice of frosting * see notes

    Instructions

    • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line 2 or 3 large baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.
    • In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to incorporate, and set aside.
    • In a separate large bowl, cream together your sugar, butter, and oil until it's relatively smooth (some graininess is fine).
    • Add your eggs to the sugar mixture, one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Add your sour cream and vanilla extract, and whisk to combine.
    • Combine the dry ingredients and wet ingredients. Mix everything together until you no longer see any dry spots of flour. Take care not to over mix – some lumps are fine!
    • Fill some of your batter into a large piping bag or plastic bag. Pipe 3 rounds of batter onto your parchment lined baking sheets, each about 9 inches large. Smoothen the tops to fill in any gaps and even out the tops. The cakes will expand as they bake, so make sure they have plenty of space if you plan on baking more than one round on the same baking sheet. If needed, you can bake 2 to 3 batches. The batter can sit out for up to 30 minutes at room temperature.
    • Bake in the center of your preheated 350°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the edges turn lightly golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
    • Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer the cakes (still on the parchment paper) onto a wire rack to cool completely to room temperature. Before frosting, stick the cakes into your freezer for about 20 or 30 minutes to firm up. It'll make them easier to take off the parchment paper and easier to handle!
      Frost with your favorite frosting (I used vanilla buttercream)!

    Notes

    * I used vanilla buttercream frosting for my cake. One thing to keep in mind is that this cake is very rich! So if you use a butter/sugar heavy frosting (like buttercream), I would use a thin layer! If you use a lighter cake frosting (like whipped cream or ermine frosting), you can get away with adding more.

    Enjoy!



    Share this

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Recipe Rating




    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.