Greetings all! I'm making my first sheet cake (1/2 sheet, that is) for my 8-yr-old DD's birthday this Friday. Basic box cake & basic buttercream icing. I've worked out a design (she loves pink & hearts), but I've never baked a cake so big. I am WIDE open to any tips, reminders, things to watch out for, etc.. I've got the whole day before off so I can prepare. Please share your wisdom with me!!
Thanks! ..... Julie
(P.S. -- My experience level is novice; completed Wilton courses 1 & 2 and am a decent baker & cook.)
I don't have a lot of experience, but what's worked for me on larger cakes is to lower the temp to 325 and put a few upside down greased/floured flower nails in the pan to help it cook evenly w/o a dome or anything. I'm sure others with more experience will chime in with helpful advice. Good luck!
I make 1/2 sheets all the time - the upside down flower nail and lower temp are pretty much the best things you can do to get a nice cake! Good luck and have fun!
When you say "1/2" sheet are you talking about a 12x18? (that's what I call a 1/2 sheet)
If so ... I reccommend using 4 box mixes with Bake Even Strips (BES) wrapped around the out side. I have learned though (the hard way!) that white & white based cake mixes can overflow while chocolate ones don't (density?) So if you're doing white or even 1/2 white, then I would cut back to about 3 1/2 box mixes.
you will want at least 10-12 cups of icing to give the cake a good covering plus have enough for any deco & borders. I use Indydebi's dream whip icing & make 2 full batches.
I STRONGLY reccommend that you skip the standard cardboard cake board & use a foamboard instead. I buy a 20x30 sheet of white foam board at Hobby Lobby (usually by the framing dept) for about $1.99 and cut it to fit. The foam board is way stronger, won't bend & flex under the cake & is almost weightless. The foamboard won't add any unnecessary weight to your finished cake. (important for moving around such a large cake) also the f/b won't sag when placed on your turntable.
I use a 12" "painters edge" to smooth the top of the cake. you can get one at most any hardware dept. I think I got mine originally at Wal-mart, but it's a pretty basic tool. I attached a pic so you can see what I'm talking about.
I think that's most of the Tech stuff about making a cake of that size. I'm sure you'll do great. Let us know if you have anymore questions. =)
Amen to ALL that Ayanami said. I made my first 12x18 cake in December and tried a regular cake board and the crazy thing bent as I was carrying my cake out with the candles. So birthday boy had to hold on while I got the cracks out of the icing! Yikes! Gotta get a good strong board, bake even strips, flower nails and 325*!! Good luck!
Thanks to all! Ayanami, GREAT information! Ladies, I never would have thought of the flower nails! Yes, the 12x18 is the size I'm making. For clarification, with that size a cake, how many Bake Even Strips (I have one set, and need to know if I should pick up more), and how many flower nails? Also, do you all normally do the sheet cake as one layer or two?
I'm going to check out the icing recipe you mentioned, Ayanami. It seems to be pretty popular! Greatly appreciate all info from my fellow, more experienced bakers! Thanks!!!
You do realize that a 1 layer (2" high) 12x18 serves 50 and a 2 layer (4" high) serves 100...
Prterrell, see that's the kind of stuff I need to know. No, I wasn't aware of that. Thanks for bringing that to light!!! (I'd end up with WAAAAAAY too much cake otherwise.) Many thanks!!!