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cake for 30--recipe suggestions please?

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Somehow, having something to do with over earnestness, I find myself in charge of baking my son's birthday cake, instead of buying it from one of my many, fine, local Brooklyn bakeries.

Does anyone have any tested recipes they recommend for a sheet pan chocolate cake? Something rich in chocolate flavor yet light in texture. Hey, no need to chintz on quality just because my audience is made up of 4 year olds! I'm planning on serving 30, including parents.

Is there any reason I should be looking for recipes that specifically reflect the large number of servings? Or will any cake recipe do, if quadrupled?

Responses are much appreciated.

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  1. I love the recipe on the back of the Hersheys cocoa box. Very moist, chocolatey and EASY.

    2 Replies
    1. re: leigh

      If that's the recipe that has a cup of boiling water, it's my favorite, too. It's for a 9x13 pan, or round cake. Excellent. What about cupcakes as an option?

      1. re: JennBenn

        I'm making cupcakes for his classroom party (as we speak, actually). The friends party is on Saturday. In total, I think I'll have baked for 54 people! Mommy love fuels me.

    2. c
      Caitlin McGrath

      Beware of multiplying a cake recipe. Leaveners behave differently in larger cakes, so the amounts of baking powder/soda needed will be different than simply 4x your recipe, and multiplying won't work. Better to find a cake meant for many people, or bake multiple cakes (decorate and put candles in one, then cut and hand out the others as well).

      1 Reply
      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

        Caitlin--

        I've struggled with this issue. Is there any formula for increasing the leavening in baking recipes? If not formulas, rules of thumb?

        Any advice appreciated,

        Smokey

      2. c
        curiousbaker

        I've successfully done a 1 1/2 times batch of the Chocolate Stout Cake from Epicurious. It's a big cake to begin with, so a 1.5 batch made a big square cake (I can't remember if that pan is 14 or 16 inch), deep enough to split in thirds. No need to fiddle with the leavener.

        It's a rich chocolate cake, but not light in texture. I would say its texture is close to some chocolate bundt cakes I've had. It's not as dense as some really intense chocolate cakes, but it's a bit heavier than a standard box-mix cake. Moister, too, of course. It's my default chocolate cake, because it's foolproof and fast and everyone loves it (including the kiddies - the Guinness doesn't come through, just gives it some depth).

        1. look in 'the cake bible'. there are formulas for leavening and cakes feeding various numbers of people.

          1. Thanks, everyone, for their responses. Will consult the Cake Bible and Epicurious.