Why Do So Many Cc'ers Hate Sheet Cakes?

Decorating By alittlesliceofhaven Updated 10 Mar 2010 , 2:14am by splash2splat

alittlesliceofhaven Posted 5 Sep 2007 , 5:18am
post #1 of 38

I guess I am too new to caking. I have read in many threads how they refuse to make them and don't offer them. icon_eek.gif Is this only for weddings or always? I realize a round cake can be more smooth without corners, but is there more to it than that?

Please enlighten me - I just don't get it. Cutting would be easier - right? Technically, what is the size of a full sheet cake? I was assuming my 9x13x2 pan is like a 1/4 sheet.

Thanks - it has just been one of those nagging questions I have had icon_surprised.gif

37 replies
SugarFrosted Posted 5 Sep 2007 , 5:29am
post #2 of 38

A lot of people have said that sheet cakes are boring and lack creativity. And there is big disagreement about what is a half sheet or quarter sheet. Quite likely, you'll get a lot of different answers.

Here is my opinion:
quarter sheet = 9x13x2
half sheet = 12x18x2
full sheet = 18x24x2

Personally, a LOT of my business is sheet cakes. The rest is shaped character cakes. I have only done one wedding cake, just this year, in almost 2000 cakes over 20 years. I just started doing weddings after my son left for college last fall.

Also, I see sheet cakes as a big blank canvas with more room to do my art.

My clients want sheet cakes for the reasons you said, ease of cutting and getting the right number of servings.

smitakasargod Posted 5 Sep 2007 , 5:42am
post #3 of 38

I guess it is a personal choice. I am new to this whole thing so I am no expert but have seen some brilliant and beautifully artistic sheet cakes. I would love to try a lot of things with respect to decorating a sheet cake. Have a lot of ideas swirling around my head. I don't find them boring at all unless they are the typical grocery store variety with plastic toys on top.

ceshell Posted 5 Sep 2007 , 5:54am
post #4 of 38

I think it is harder to beautifully decorate the blank expanse of a sheetcake; a cake that goes vertical is more forgiving because you don't HAVE to decorate every bit of surface area. A tier on top of another tier is a decoration in and of itself -- you kind of get a freebie icon_wink.gif. I would never do a sheet cake (nevermind that I don't have the pans) not because I think there's anything wrong with them, but because I think I would have a hard time filling up the space. One decorator's "blank canvas" is another's "What do I do with this thing now????"

I've seen a few threads with links to some of the most amazing sheet cakes I've ever seen. There are some incredible artists here that would renew anyone's faith in the concept of a sheet cake, and they demonstrate some great artistry that can only be effectively accomplished on a nice big blank canvas... Check this out http://forum.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-337713-sheet.html+amazing

KimAZ Posted 5 Sep 2007 , 5:59am
post #5 of 38

I've wondered the same thing. I do a lot of sheet cakes myself but I am personally wishing I could do more tiers just for something different.

Maybe some people don't like them because that is pretty much the only shape you get at grocery stores or club stores. And it seems that fondant is the "in" thing and you rarely see a sheet cake covered in fondant.

Who knows?
KimAZ

BCJean Posted 5 Sep 2007 , 6:06am
post #6 of 38

IMO if you have a two tiered cake, like a 9" and 6"..you ice them nice...and add a border, you really wouldn't have to do anything else to it and it would look like a nice birthday cake. Some decorators put a bow on top and that is about it. A sheet cake, on the other hand, left plain...looks like a, "Plain Ole Sheet Cake".
This is what the people who hate sheet cakes miss out on....you can do soooo many things with that sheet cake. You can do a drawing on it, you can pipe figures all over it, you can airbrush a scene on it, you can carve it into an open book...... This is where all of those creative instincts just go wild.

Please do not take me wrong...there are many, many decorators who do beautiful work on tiered cakes. I just think for someone who wants to do up a cake without doing much decorating on it....a tiered cake works better than a sheet cake.
For me personally....give me a sheet cake and a bucket of buttercream and stand back...I'm going to do my thing.

alittlesliceofhaven Posted 5 Sep 2007 , 6:06am
post #7 of 38

ceshell - that is a great link! Thanks

I'm starting to understand - all interpretation and comfort level. Not to mention where you live and what the customers are used to.

Thanks for answering my questions icon_smile.gif

lillykaci1 Posted 5 Sep 2007 , 6:23am
post #8 of 38

I know that I enjoy doing my sheet cakes that I have done and sometimes I find that I don't have enough room to do the things that I want to do even with the sheet cake. I have two sheet cakes that I really loved doing and they were the ladybug cake (which when I was wanting to do this from the day the baby was born was going to be a 3 tiered cake but they wanted a sheet cake) and they spring cake for H-E-B with the rubber ducks. They are in my photos I could not get them on here.

I'm with all of you that think it's more to work with. I love them, but I also Love doing the tiered cakes. I guess like everyone has said It's just up to the baker. I can see where people don't want to get comparied to the stores...I have people that say how much are your sheet cakes and I tell them $X and they say I can get it here for less...well then by all means go there and get your frozen cake. I don't lose sleep over it!!!

CambriasCakes Posted 5 Sep 2007 , 6:42am
post #9 of 38

I don't like doing them because, due to the size of them, I can never get the layers to line up correctly once I flip the top layer onto the bottom one! I must be doing something wrong......!

diane Posted 5 Sep 2007 , 8:11am
post #10 of 38

[quote="SugarFrosted"]A lot of people have said that sheet cakes are boring and lack creativity. And there is big disagreement about what is a half sheet or quarter sheet. Quite likely, you'll get a lot of different answers.

makes it seem like the sheet cakes are alive with a mind of their own...they don't decorate themselves.

Here is my opinion:
quarter sheet = 9x13x2
half sheet = 12x18x2
full sheet = 18x24x2

that's my sizes as well.
icon_lol.gif

kelleym Posted 5 Sep 2007 , 12:52pm
post #11 of 38

I don't do sheet cakes for two reasons:

1. I don't like drawing, freehand drawing. I'm not good at it. The face of a sheet cake to me is like a big piece of paper sitting there mocking me, waiting for me to draw something on it. And since I don't enjoy doing that and feel like I'm not good at it -- then what is the point?

2. People get sheet cakes at grocery stores and Costco, so in their mind they compare the prices. "Well, I can get a half sheet WITH filling at Costco for $16, so you ought to be able to beat that, right?" My church coordinator almost fainted the first time I told her one of my half-sheets would be $40 - and that was with the church discount! She was used to buying cakes at Costco, but wanted to "give me some business".

If someone needs a cake for 30, I usually do a 9" and 6" stacked. It makes an impression. It LOOKS special. It LOOKS like something you spend $75 on icon_smile.gif And I enjoy it. So that is why I don't do sheets.

indydebi Posted 5 Sep 2007 , 12:57pm
post #12 of 38

I'm one of those who doens't mind sheet cakes. I do this for a business, not as much for my artistic expression, so if the customer pays cash and they love the cake, my opinion doesn't matter at all.

Usually a sheet is less work. A 12x18 is 3 mixes. Serves 54. A 10" round with a 6" tier is 3 mixes. Serves 50. You may have longer baking time for the round cakes (depending on the size of your oven). 2 small cardboards in lieu of 1 big one. 2 small boxes instead of one big one (I don't use boxes for 12x18's ... just cover in saran most of the time). I think it takes less time and less effort to get a 12x18 iced and smooth than it does for 2 round cakes. No doweling with a sheet. No dilemna on how to deliver .... assembled or not.

My sheets are single layers, so no concerns about lining up the two layers, as mentioned above. No filling costs.

All of these things are reasons that my sheet pricing is lower than my non-sheet pricing .... whether it's for a wedding, birthday or whatever.

And I don't see a difference in cutting a round cake vs. a square/rectangle cake. I cut them both the same way. See my website for the how-to: http://cateritsimple.com/_wsn/page19.html

OhMyGoodies Posted 5 Sep 2007 , 1:13pm
post #13 of 38

Most of my customers prefer sheet cakes because that's ALL they are used to... from the grocery stores... But this year they are branching out a little... my next order will be for a sheet cake with a monkey head on top... fully decorated and not leaving much plain blank space. Following that I have to do a High School Musical cake which she wants either an edible image or a laminated picture - haven't decided yet, and she wants HALF a 1/4 sheet cake lol... for her next party in January I've gotten a few different ideas going outside of sheets because I enjoy stacking and I enjoy doing the larger cakes a little more then sheets and plus it just feels like a total waste because a sheet cake takes more time to decorate because it's a blank canvas lol.

My sheet sizes are:
1/4 - 9x13x4
1/2 - 11x15x4
Full - 30x11x4 or 22x15x4 however they want it put together.

I just increased my prices in June because it wasn't worth it to be "close" to the grocery store prices when I was giving them a freshly baked cake and decorated anyway they wanted with filling weather it's butter cream or something else... every sheet cake comes with butter cream filling because I make two 2" layers instead of one big layer and trying to torte it... it's just easier lol None of my local stores offer two layer sheet cakes with filling so they think this is a good thing and are willing to pay more icon_wink.gif

msmeg Posted 5 Sep 2007 , 1:14pm
post #14 of 38

I tell people the size does not really compare a 9x13 is LARGER than a 1/4 sheet cake and a 12x18 is larger than a 1/2 because I bake in a pan not bake a sheet cake and then cut it into 4 pieces.

many brides have been told to save money with sheet cakes..... As long as it is a kitchen cake and not on the table I will do an undecorated cake for a bit less..... but I do suggest a 2 layer so the guests have no idea they got the kitchen cake.

for kids parties you have more room to create and it is easier to serve and even eat for kids. less frosting also whichis good for kids.

CarolAnn Posted 5 Sep 2007 , 1:22pm
post #15 of 38

I like doing sheet cakes. I use my large oval pan whenever I can. It uses the same amount of batter and gives the same servings as my half sheet pan and makes a very attractive, very different sheet cake. You can't get THAT at the grocery store bakery.

CambriasCakes, I don't flip my big cakes when I tort them. I level and tort, then I wiggle a piece of parchment the size of the cake between the layers leaving enough extra paper sticking out one wide side to pull it onto a baking sheet. Then when I'm ready to put them back together I slide the top off the baking sheet (and the parchment) right back onto the bottom. It's leveled already so I just press it down into the filling to level and ice as usual. Works very well for me.

indydebi Posted 5 Sep 2007 , 1:27pm
post #16 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by msmeg

many brides have been told to save money with sheet cakes..... .




This irritates me. One bride recently asked about this and I said "Sheet cakes are NOT cheaper for me to make." She pulled the 20-something-face-scrunch-"Really?" thing.

Example: Bride needs cake for 150. She thinks a wedding cake for 100 plus a sheet cake for 50 will be better.

I can bake a 14/10/6 for cake for 100 or I can bake a 16/12/8 for 150. Same baking time.

BUT..... if she wants the 14/10/6 and a sheet cake, then I have an extra 30-45 minutes baking time, plus extra cardboard, plus longer icing time, and I need add'l space in the van for delivery (space IS money!). So it's taking me longer to make the 3 tier AND the sheet cake and she thinks she should get it cheaper????? icon_confused.gif Not from me, she doesn't.

Also my sheet cake pricing does not include delivery and wedding cake pricing does. It seems pretty silly for me to deliver the wedding cake and make her come by and pick up the sheet cake, doesn't it? Which is why I do not offer lower prices for cakes at a wedding. Same amount of cake no matter what pan I bake it in.

I also sell cakes in a package (includes punch, cups, plates, serving, etc). I had a bride want to buy the package for 100 and then have "just cake" for 50. I said, "Sure! We can do that! Just let me know which 50 people get to drink from the water fountain and eat their cake from their hand and which 100 people get to have punch and eat their cake from a plate."

shanzah67 Posted 5 Sep 2007 , 1:43pm
post #17 of 38

I like to decorate sheet cakes. Especially if someone at the last minute (friends,family) asks me to make one. Quick and Easy icon_smile.gif

CourtneysCustomCakes Posted 5 Sep 2007 , 1:53pm
post #18 of 38

I can say I like doing both. But give me a sheet cake and stand back. I love drawing pictures and creating new things that people haven't seen, in this area. I can jet through a sheet cake like it was nothing.

That being said lately I have been trying to push different shaped cakes. Say for instance it is a Birthday cake. I can get the same amount of feedings out of a large round as I can a sheet.

Most of my cakes are sheet. But I always love a challenge.

cCc

justme50 Posted 5 Sep 2007 , 1:53pm
post #19 of 38
Quote:
Quote:

I do this for a business, not as much for my artistic expression, so if the customer pays cash and they love the cake, my opinion doesn't matter at all.




That's me exactly. I don't care what is they order as long as I get money for it.

I cover sheet cakes with fondant all the time. I actually find it much easier to cover a square or rectangle cake than a round one. On a sheet cake, I have 4 spots (the corners) that I have to work at getting smoothed. On a round cake every inch of it is a curve to work with. I also do a lot of sheet cakes with just the top covered in fondant...talk about easy! No worries about wrinkles in the fondant, no worries about a smooth top.

I do get a little irked every time I read someone talk about old, boring, no imagination sheet cakes. The only thing that makes any cake boring or lacking in imagination is the decorator, not the shape.

breelaura Posted 5 Sep 2007 , 4:37pm
post #20 of 38

I just have a height preference, that's all. Nothing against sheet cakes, all you fans out there, but I like some height. I'm sure there are all sorts of artistic reasons I can't explain, but it just seems more elegant and proportional. (Which is probably just a variation on the blank canvas theme - you don't actually have to put anything on the stacked cakes, and I tend towards a minimalist look, which really doesn't translate well onto a sheet cake.)

But I have to say, when it comes to the eating, I'm really not picky! icon_smile.gif

alittlesliceofhaven Posted 5 Sep 2007 , 4:39pm
post #21 of 38

Thank you all - I thought I was missing something. I don't mind doing my 1/4 sheets - I'm just starting to decorate so I haven't bought the bigger pans. My thought was you can still tier them, use any medium on them, carve them...To me there is still no limit. I just didn't understand why all the negativity.

Indydebi - good point regarding serving sizes plus or minus the sheet and the extra work.

I am getting so much more out of this thread than I expected!!

sccakelady Posted 2 Mar 2010 , 2:51pm
post #22 of 38

I want to know what to size pan you use to put together full size sheet cake.

Nytepyre Posted 2 Mar 2010 , 4:41pm
post #23 of 38
Quote:
Quote:


2. People get sheet cakes at grocery stores and Costco, so in their mind they compare the prices. "Well, I can get a half sheet WITH filling at Costco for $16, so you ought to be able to beat that, right?" My church coordinator almost fainted the first time I told her one of my half-sheets would be $40 - and that was with the church discount! She was used to buying cakes at Costco, but wanted to "give me some business".

If someone needs a cake for 30, I usually do a 9" and 6" stacked. It makes an impression. It LOOKS special. It LOOKS like something you spend $75 on And I enjoy it. So that is why I don't do sheets.




I tend to agree on this point! I do 1/4 and 1/2 sheets (and use the same measurements you guys do!) only when the client won't budge or that's the only thing that will support the design aesthetic (in my photos, Pacman, Hannah Montana, and Butterflys) I did have a client that would NOT answer "How many servings?" Just kept saying "Like the Hannah or the Butterfly cake", as she'd seen both of them. They were two different sizes! I finally got a number out of her and steered her toward a tiered round. Goodness this can be challenging sometimes!

I don't avoid them as an aesthetic, and I think they can be great tools, but that doesn't mean they're tools everyone wants in their tool caddy!

BakeLoveMom Posted 2 Mar 2010 , 5:02pm
post #24 of 38

It's not that I don't like sheet cakes...it's just, everyone has had a sheet cake before, especially for a birthday(The picture in my head is white frosting, with a white shell boarder...blah)...to me, if you want to give someone a extra special cake, like they have never had before, I would use any of the other cake shapes. When someone asks me for a sheet cake, I would rather them to go to their local grocery store...if you want a carved or stacked cake or any other shape come here. That is just my personal preference...I find it very hard to get creative with one, I dread it. Also, if I do do a sheet cake it is never a solid blob of cake...I always fill it...I think it is just the decorators preference. I have seen beautiful one's here with ideas that I would have never thought of...I don't know why, I just get a creative block when it comes to them.

sugarshack Posted 2 Mar 2010 , 7:56pm
post #25 of 38

sheet cakes don't have to be square either!

Do a sinlee layer round, hex, oval..... makes them more fun and interesting , and you don't have to ice the coners if you don't want to.

SugarFrosted Posted 2 Mar 2010 , 8:17pm
post #26 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by sccakelady

I want to know what to size pan you use to put together full size sheet cake.




In my neck of the woods, as we say here in the south, a full sheet is:
approx. 18x24 (or (2)12x18 or (4)9x13... iced together as one rectangular cake)
which has approx. 108 (2"x2"x2") servings.

Many here on CC dislike the terms full sheet, half sheet or quarter sheet because they can mean anything to anyone.
I do agree somewhat. Example:

Client: "I guess I need a full sheet for this order."
Me: "Oh, a BIG order this time, must be quite a party."
Client: "No, just around 15 people"
Me: "A FULL sheet serves 108"
Client: "OMG!" I had no idea."
Then I get to explain again how many each size serves, because most cake muggles (non-bakers) really have no idea.

Also:
If you decide to make a rectangle layer cake, you get twice the number of servings.
9x13 sheet = 24 (2x2x2) servings OR 2 layer = 48 (1x2x4) servings
12x18 sheet = 54 (2x2x2) servings OR 2 layer 108 (1x2x4) servings
18x24 sheet = 108 (2x2x2) servings OR 2 layer 216 (1x2x4) servings

Note: Layer and torte are NOT the same thing. Torting is splitting a single layer into 2, or more, thinner layers and adding a filling.

Kitagrl Posted 2 Mar 2010 , 8:18pm
post #27 of 38

I don't do them because they don't pay enough. I mean I do them...but an 11x15 single layer serves 30 people...my minimum is $3/serving...which makes a $90 sheet cake that most people aren't going to pay for!!!! I have one or two who will but that's it. To charge less will be to waste my time really.

khoudek Posted 2 Mar 2010 , 8:55pm
post #28 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleym

I don't do sheet cakes for two reasons:

1. I don't like drawing, freehand drawing. I'm not good at it. The face of a sheet cake to me is like a big piece of paper sitting there mocking me, waiting for me to draw something on it. And since I don't enjoy doing that and feel like I'm not good at it -- then what is the point?

2. People get sheet cakes at grocery stores and Costco, so in their mind they compare the prices. "Well, I can get a half sheet WITH filling at Costco for $16, so you ought to be able to beat that, right?" My church coordinator almost fainted the first time I told her one of my half-sheets would be $40 - and that was with the church discount! She was used to buying cakes at Costco, but wanted to "give me some business".

If someone needs a cake for 30, I usually do a 9" and 6" stacked. It makes an impression. It LOOKS special. It LOOKS like something you spend $75 on icon_smile.gif And I enjoy it. So that is why I don't do sheets.




I'm with CakeBoss on this. I have horrible handwriting and 9 times out of 10 they want something written on the sheet cake. I'd rather make a gumpaste figure for them. Less stressful to me!

cohen1 Posted 2 Mar 2010 , 9:23pm
post #29 of 38

I tend to make a ton of sheet cakes and shaped sheet cakes as well. I like them and like others think of them as a blank canvas.

Now, for writing on them, I have horrible writing as well so what I do is figure out what I want to write, type it up on the computer, size and print it.
Then outline it with a dark marker, flip it over, ice the outline and lay it on the cake. Gently rub over the outline and then gently lift up the paper. You should then have your writting message on the cake. I just go back over it with icing.

Barbara

khoudek Posted 2 Mar 2010 , 11:10pm
post #30 of 38

Barbara, I will definitely try that. Just like a piping gel transfer!!

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