Vanilla Sheet Cake with Grilled Strawberries

By Tessa Arias
June 25th, 2018
4.67 from 3 votes
4.67 from 3 votes

Vanilla Sheet Cake with Grilled Strawberries features an ultra moist, tender, and slightly spongy vanilla cake with fresh whipped cream and slightly smoky grilled strawberries on top. Perfect summer dessert for a crowd!

Yield: 36 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook: 28 minutes

This recipe is sponsored by Kroger. Thank you for supporting me in working with brands I love to bring you new recipes.

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: The combination of sweet and light vanilla with the smoky strawberries is incredible!
Texture: The cake is intensely moist and slightly spongy while the whipped cream on top is light-as-air. The strawberries become softened on the grill so each bite is wonderfully light.
Ease: You can make the cake layer a day ahead of time!
Pros: Serves a large crowd, perfect summer recipe.
Cons: None!
Would I make this again? Definitely.

The Summer Barbecue Video Series is here! I’m SO excited to announce that I’ve teamed up with Alex & Sonja from A Couple Cooks to bring you six summer entertaining recipes + videos in partnership with Kroger.

We’re thrilled to be so lucky to collaborate together and with Kroger… it’s been a total dream! I actually flew to Indianapolis to shoot these six recipe videos in their Pinterest-worthy kitchen.

Ready? Watch the video: how to make sheet cake!

So in Phoenix, my local Kroger family store is Fry’s. I could seriously wander those aisles for hours I love that store so much. It’s my go-to for stocking up on summer essentials with their #RedWhiteandBBQ specials.

Making vanilla sheet cake with grilled strawberries and whipped cream for a summer BBQ!

Alex & Sonja have created three savory real food recipes for the series while I’m handling the desserts and bread. I have to tell you, I’m super proud of everything we created. I would gladly serve every dish from this series to everyone I know, and I plan to all summer long!

The first recipe I’m sharing is for this delightful summery sheet cake.

Admittedly, Texas-style sheet cake is a strange baking concept. Every step of making the batter seems so wrong, but I promise the results are oh so right! This unique technique produces a ridiculously soft and moist cake that pairs perfectly with fluffy whipped cream.

Plus, you don’t even need a mixer for the cake batter it’s so easy to make from scratch. Who needs box mix with a recipe like this?

Vanilla Sheet Cake with Grilled Strawberries features an ultra moist, tender, and slightly spongy vanilla cake with fresh whipped cream and slightly smoky grilled strawberries on top. Perfect summer dessert for a crowd!

This recipe features a generous amount of Simple Truth Madagascar Vanilla Extract and Kingsford Charcoal to grill the strawberries. We all adored the sweetness with a hint of smokiness. It just screams summertime!

vanilla sheet cake made for kroger's redwhite&bbq!

All the ingredients in this recipe are available at your nearby Kroger, including Fry’s.

Sheet Cake Recipe Tips

Baking Pans

This recipe works best in a jellyroll baking pan, which is 10 by 15-inches in size. Avoid using a dark colored pan, which can overly brown the bottom and edges of the cake.

You can also use a 16-3/4 by 12-inch sheet pan but the cake will be slightly thinner. Shave a few minutes off the baking time if using a larger pan. Whichever pan you use, don’t forget to grease it first!


The buttermilk in this cake batter creates a wonderfully tender and slightly tangy cake that regular milk just can’t compete with. You can learn more about the wonders of buttermilk here, including some side-by-side experiments I tested with regular milk and DIY buttermilk substitutions. If you can’t use buttermilk, then just use whole milk instead. It won’t be quite as good but will work in a pinch!

Grilling Strawberries

Charcoal grilling really imparts a beautiful smoky flavor to the strawberries. They also soften slightly which works perfectly with this tender cake. I use skewers to make easy work of grilling the strawberries. If you’re using wooden skewers, don’t forget to soak them in water for an hour before grilling!

Making Ahead

The vanilla flavor of this cake actually intensifies as it sits. It also stays super moist. So you can totally make it a day ahead of time. Just cover and store at room temperature.

You’ll want to top the cake with the whipped cream no more than a few hours before you plan on serving. If eating outside, spread the whipped cream on just before serving so it doesn’t get all melted.

Avoid placing the grilled strawberries on the cake any more than an hour ahead of serving. The moisture from the strawberries will seep into the whipped cream and get watery.

This recipe also works really well with pineapple in place of the strawberries! Follow all of the same directions, just swap in about 18 pineapple rings. I prefer fresh pineapple, but canned will work fine.

More Summer Barbecue Series Recipes:

Here are the other summer barbecue recipes from our series!

The full series recipe video playlist is HERE!

4.67 from 3 votes

How to make
Vanilla Sheet Cake with Grilled Strawberries

Yield: 36 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 28 minutes
Total Time: 58 minutes
Vanilla Sheet Cake with Grilled Strawberries features an ultra moist, tender, and slightly spongy vanilla cake with fresh whipped cream and slightly smoky grilled strawberries on top. Perfect summer dessert for a crowd!


For the cake:

  • 2 cups (254 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups (350 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (227 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or whole milk)
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons Simple Truth Madagascar Vanilla Extract

For the whipped cream:

For the fruit:

  • 2 pounds fresh hulled strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon honey


Make the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter a 10-by-15-inch jellyroll pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the butter and water and heat until the butter melts. Bring to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling, remove from heat and add in the flour mixture. Let cool slightly before adding in the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly. Bake for about 23 minutes if using a jelly roll pan, and about 20 minutes if using a half sheet pan, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and the edges are just golden. Place pan on a cooling rack and cool completely.
  5. Make ahead: The cake can be made a day ahead of time. Store covered at room temperature.

Make the whipped cream:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment to beat the cream, sugar, and vanilla on medium high speed until stiff peaks form.
  2. Spread the whipped cream evenly over the cooled cake.

Grill the fruit:

  1. Meanwhile, preheat the grill using Kingsford Charcoal for direct cooking over medium-high heat. Thread the strawberries through skewers and place on a rimmed tray. If using wood skewers, be sure to soak them in water for at least 1 hour before using.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the melted butter and honey. Brush over both sides of the strawberries. Grill for about 2 minutes per side, or until grill marks form and the fruit is softened. Remove from the skewers once cool enough to handle. Cut the strawberries in half.
  3. Top the cake with the grilled strawberries no more than an hour ahead of serving.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Find Tessa on  

Leave a Comment & Rating

Add a Review or Question

*Please select a rating to complete your comment.

Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Elli — August 8, 2021 at 3:48 pm

    This would be a great recipe for my daughters 1st birthday cake. I am wondering if i can use raw cane sugar in place of the granulated sugar. I know you hateee substitutions. But i feed my baby only organic food and i cannot find any organic granulated sugar online

    • #
      Emily — August 9, 2021 at 12:29 pm

      Hi, Elli! We haven’t experimented with raw cane sugar in this recipe, so I can’t say for sure how it would turn out. Please let us know if you give it a try!

  2. #
    Janine — June 3, 2021 at 7:02 pm

    can i also use this recipe for layered cakes, like 8″ or 9″?

    • #
      Tessa — June 4, 2021 at 9:37 am

      I haven’t tried this sheet cake as anything else, so let me know how it goes if you experiment! 🙂

  3. #
    Vaishali McCarthy — March 16, 2021 at 4:37 pm

    Can I use a 9×13 pan? Adjust timing also?

    • #
      Tessa — March 17, 2021 at 9:50 am

      Avoid using a glass or dark colored pan, but a 9×13 should most likely work! You’ll have to watch the cake – it will likely take longer to bake since it will be in a deeper pan. Good luck!

  4. #
    Debie — July 25, 2020 at 4:01 pm

    First, I love your cookie recipes, I always have cookie dough in the freezer ready to bake.

    Can I use this white cake recipe in a 3 layered cake with buttercream frosting? For a gender reveal cake?? Or is there a better recipe to use?

  5. #
    Connie — May 23, 2019 at 3:33 pm

    I want to make this! But I don’t have a jelly roll pan, can I use a 9×13 pan and adjust the baking time?

  6. #
    Amansa — August 27, 2018 at 8:59 am

    Can this cake be made in a regular 9×13 pan? And topped with ur buttercream frosting?

  7. #
    Julie — July 4, 2018 at 8:38 pm

    I made this and it came out super dense. Almost like a tres Leche cake. The flavor was delish tho. Any ideas?

    • #
      Tessa — July 14, 2018 at 11:49 am

      Did you weigh your flour?

  8. #
    Erica Jakub — June 28, 2018 at 9:36 am

    Do you think this could be made into a 2 layer cake?

  9. #
    Teri — June 26, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    Anxious to try this – perfect for summer get-togethers. Long way from Texas – any recommendations for high altitude? And howdy from Wyoming! 🙂

    • #
      Tessa — June 27, 2018 at 11:10 am

      Hi, Teri! I’m sorry, I’ve only ever baked at sea level so high altitude is totally unfamiliar to me. If you end up giving it a try let us know how it goes 🙂

  10. #
    Becky — June 25, 2018 at 9:01 pm

    I would love to try this! The grilled strawberries are really intriguing. I know you recommend using real buttermilk instead of souring milk with lemon; but, I’m very interested in your thoughts about using powdered buttermilk & water.
    Thank you for yet another inspiration, Tessa!

  11. #
    Erica Jakub — June 25, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    Could you potentially make this into a layer cake?

  12. #
    Debbie Caraballo — June 25, 2018 at 11:19 am

    I love Texas Sheet cake, though I’ve never made it in a sheet pan! I’ve actually made this white version with a white icing, really love the idea of the whipped cream and fruit. I’ve never had grilled fruit so it’s interesting to me. Thanks for this great recipe and the chance to win the $100 Kroger card. I watched the video twice!

  13. #
    Maxine — June 25, 2018 at 10:21 am

    Wow, so easy to make. If it tastes like a chocolate Texas sheet cake, it will be amazing. Looking forward to trying this. Thank you again for a great recipe!!

Join the Handle the Heat Community

Cookie Customization Chart
Do you want a more delicious life?
Instead of digging through cookbooks and magazines and searching the internet for amazing recipes, subscribe to Handle the Heat to receive new recipe posts delivered straight to your email inbox. You’ll get all the latest recipes, videos, kitchen tips and tricks AND my *free* Cookie Customization Guide (because I am the Cookie Queen)!
As Seen On....
NPR People Time Glamour Readers Digest The Huffington Post BuzzFeed