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Jan 30, 2010 08:30 PM

baking a sheet cake instead of a tall cake

I am trying to bake a bunch of little cakes for a kids birthday party. i'm want to make this one:

I wanted to make a large sheet cake in my 12*16 sheet pan and cut the (hopefully leveled) sheet into 4" rounds. do you think this is doable? i am not looking for an very tall cake- as these are such small cakes and are stacked. do you think i should:

1. lower/ increase temp?
2. use/get heating core?
3. reduce flour by a Tbl. (for leveling
)4. add baking time?
5. use 12*8 pans instead.

We are having girls coming to decorate these mini cakes, which will be already filled with chocolate frosting and pre-coat with Swiss M. Buttercream.

lots of work, but i hope the kids have fun...

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  1. You can prepare a sheet cake from a layer cake recipe by following the same instructions except that the baking time will not be exactly the same. Usually, I find the sheet cake takes a few minutes longer to bake than the individual layers but I typically start doing the toothpick in the center test about five minutes before I expect the cake to be done must to be sure. I don't change anything else.

    1. You're cutting 4" cake rounds out of a 12 x16 sheet cake, right? Do not lower/increase baking temperature. Do not change recipes in any way ("reduce flour".)

      The only thing that will change is your baking time. A thinner layer of cake batter, such as you're doing in a sheet pan, rather than the 9" rounds called for in the original recipe, will bake faster as it has more exposed surface, so be mindful and start checking for doneness much before the 35-40 minutes given in the smitten recipe. If your cake appears to be browning faster than you want, you may reduce the temp by 25*, but reduce only in that case.

      Have you considered the amount of batter your recipe is going to produce and what a 12 x 16 pan can hold? 9" rounds hold aprox. 4 cups of batter, a 12 x 16 pan holds aprox. 6 cups, so you may have batter left over, based on cake pans normally being filled with batter to half full or as stated in a recipe, up to 2/3 max.

      By using the sheet pan, you're not using a deeper pan than the original 9" rounds half full, or a 9 x 13, so no heating core is required. You can use a 12 x 8 x 2 pan for this recipe, as it is very close to the 9 x 13 suggested in the original but you'll get a thicker layer than with 12 x 16 pan.

      Save the rest of the cake trimmings for crumbs or trifle. They can be frozen as well.

      4 Replies
      1. re: bushwickgirl

        Thank you thank you!!

        the cake batter capacity is very helpful. I will be making double batches of this and will def have batter leftover.

        i'm baking this tonight and hopefully everything is level enough so i don't have to level and slice freehand (i suck at that). if all else fails, we'll have cupcakes =)

        1. re: bushwickgirl

          Have you tried to find small cake pans? I know that Michael's has a 6 inch round cake pan.

          1. re: bushwickgirl

            oh! just looked at Wilton's website and they have a set of 3 four-inch cake pans for $5.49

            1. re: janetms383

              i had to make 15 little cakes, 30 rounds of cake in all. it is simply too much work to use those little cake pans individually. I used a 4' cutter/ring mold and cut frozen sheets of the cake instead.

              because the cakes are so small, leveling isn't a big issue +kids are just happy to have cake anyway... =)

          2. You can also bake in cleaned tuna cans which would be easier to frost than cut layers of cake. I've also make little cakes in giant muffin tins. It's a nice shape w/ slightly sloped sides and easier than using tins. The timing for both is like baking cupcakes. I've done this little cake and, although small cakes take as much time as large ones to frost, so it was time consuming, very cute.


            8 Replies
            1. re: chowser

              It just occurred to me to make little cakes easily, you could use Reynold's aluminum tins in fun shapes. It would be cute to use heart shaped ones for little girls. I did the above w/ the giant muffin tins and made them like little wedding cakes and it was far more work than I thought it would be.


              1. re: chowser

                the tuna can deal is a great idea. next time, i'll get people to eat some tuna beforehand...

                I think this project is getting a bit too nutty. I was going to make 15 little cakes for a cake "decorating" party for some kids. I did not, at the time, consider that frosting 15 mini cakes will take away my apres-dinner/ TV time. I really don't know what i was thinking!

                Anyway, i'm going to do my best - and chill the entire sheet cake before cutting and frosting...


                1. re: jeniyo

                  Are they decorating, as with pastry bags and tips? 15 girls??? I recently did it with 8 girls, made regular sized 8" cakes for them all to take home. I was cursing myself the whole time I made/frosted the cakes, then as I showed them all how to do scrolls, roses, etc. and for about a month after as I cleaned up pieces of buttercream from the carpet. They had a great time, though!

                  The hard part I find with frosting little cakes is keeping them still as I spread/level the frosting on them. Thinner frosting helps but the cakes are so light that any pressure moves them. But, you can do it in front of the TV so it doesn't take away from TV time! Good luck with it. I'm sure your daughter and friends will love them!

                  1. re: chowser

                    Thanks for the encouragement. Yeah, they will be decorating with tips, candies and fancy valentines sprinkles. I don't know how to make a rose myself but probably do borders, pipe words or drop flowers.

                    1. re: jeniyo

                      It really was fun, as much as I like to joke about the headache it was. The girls had a great time, took home tips and the cake and families raved about the cake and how well they did. I had a lot of the moms tell me they want to do it, too. I used regular buttercream to frost but used Crisco buttercream for them to decorate with. I find it much easier to control and it didn't melt in the heat of their hands as they did the decoration. It took them a long time and I can't imagine what butter would have done. Oh, rubber bands or clips around the end of the bag prevents the frosting from coming up and out the sides. That was kind of a mess to begin with. Let us know how it goes!

                      1. re: chowser

                        hi there, I'm just reporting back that the party was such great fun.

                        The cakes turned out great. it was a bit of challenge to frost all 15 little 4' cakes, it took me a good chunk of time and they are not "perfect". not to worry because all those colors and sprinkles covered it up! the kids helped themselves with the piping before i was able to show anyone techniques. oh well, kids are kids... pink was a popular color.

                        pizza was a hassle to do since there were so many of them. next time will me mac and cheese or cream puff sandwiches...

                        1. re: jeniyo

                          They did a great job on those cakes! I'll bet they had a wonderful time, too. Good for you!

                          1. re: jeniyo

                            Glad to hear it worked out and that it was fun. I bet the kids loved it!

                2. Rather than leveling your batter, try to get the batter in the center to be a little concave, and thicker toward the edges. This may help the finished cake to be more even (like when you press a dimple into the center of a beef patty so the finished burger isn't domed). If the top IS too curved, invert half the rounds so the filling layer is between the "bottom" and the "bottom" of the two rounds. That will give you an even thickness of filling. Usually having the curved surface on the bottom isn't noticeable once it's on the plate. The weight of the layers and frosting compacts it somewhat.