May 7, 2014

The making of a Full Sheet Cake at home

What a month April had been...phew! Crazy busy and my oven had been baking cakes and goodies non-stop :-) Thankfully all my projects turned out fine and now its time to share them here there'll be back-to-back cakes and treats being posted here. Not a bad thing is it?

A cake as big as a full sheet deserves a full length coverage right? ;-) So here goes...

Earlier last month the regional community that Manish and I are part of conducted a fun competition event just for kids of various age groups. While deciding upon the food, snacks and drinks options I was asked if I could make a Sheet cake for the kids. I have to be honest when I say I just jumped at the opportunity ;-) And another honest fact, I have never even seen how big a full sheet cake is in real life! 
The event named 'Varnolsavam' had a logo competition for the kids for which several kids submitted their entries and one was finally selected as the winning logo and since I couldn't come up with any other interesting ideas I decided to draw the winning logo on top of the cake to symbolize the event. It was a tough call considering how poor an artist I am, but I went ahead with it. 
So today I'll share how I went ahead making a whole sheet cake at home and my fun experience at drawing on a cake. Ready?? :-)

Let's start with some measurement knowledge on sheet cake sizes. I'm talking about the sheet cakes that are atleast 2" high in thickness (not the thin jelly roll sheet cakes)
Quarter sheet cake - 9" x 13" x 2"
One-third sheet cake - 11" x 15"x 2"
Half sheet Cake - 12" x 18" x 2"
Full Sheet Cake - 18" x 24" x 2"

Our regular home ovens are big enough to support upto a half sheet cake pan. So I had to make two half sheets to get my full sheet cake. 

I baked the cakes a day in advance and made around 4 batches of my favorite rich & moist Chocolate cake batter for 1 Half sheet cake, so in total made 8 batches of cake batter for both the half sheet cakes :-) Once baked and cooled, I placed them on their cooling racks itself , wrapped them in foil and refrigerated them. 

Then I made a sturdy Cake base: Used a 2ft x 2ft plywood board and covered it in aluminium foil. Over that I taped together two half sheet cake boards and stuck it on top of the foil-covered plywood board.
The cakes were then carefully placed on the cake board and tightly pressed together (I din't use any buttercream to stick them together)

Then I made my favorite American Vanilla Buttercream. For a cake this huge I needed lots of buttercream. I just did a blind math and decided to make 5 batches of this recipe (Thankfully I decided not to torte and fill the cake....imagine the amount of buttercream I would had to make then!!) 

Buttercream and Cake was ready, now its time to frost this baby....

The below pic is just to show you how big this cake was to frost! It took me a good 1 hr or more to get it quite smooth and straight. I used my offset spatula and later a bench scraper along with hot water for this.

Later piped a neat border with a hot orange shade (mixed orange and lemon yellow gel colors into my vanilla buttercream until I got desired color)

Everything good so far....Next was the daunting task in front of me, paint the logo on this vast cake canvas! 

First let's hear a short-story on my art-skills ;-P
I remember in my 8th grade, we had a very strict arts teacher who was also our PT teacher. It was sure that we would all get negative grades in his arts class as he was never happy with anything we drew. 
But when the final scores came, he gave me the highest marks...ME!! of all the artistic kids in class!  Obviously the kids in my class went scrambling over my arts book to see what extraordinary pictures I had drawn to bag such high grades, and there was nothing even close to extraordinary.....just some colors and some shapes that remotely looked like human beings or cars or trees :-P 
When the kids in my class asked him why I was given the highest grade (now pls imagine me sitting in my seat, looking very very pink, firstly 'coz I was the happiest girl in class and secondly due to a slight shame as some of my classmates din't think I deserved it), he gave the reason that I was the only girl in class who was always punctual with my arts assignments and always neat & tidy with my work. Hmmmmm....nothing to do with my art work I know, but well, that was his reason for giving me the highest grades. My classmates went off mumbling under their breath, totally wanting to disagree with him...but hey, here I am today sharing my only proud 'art' moment...hehe. Otherwise I'm no artist at all and cannot even draw a bird properly! Anyways...

The original logo was beautifully drawn by a talented 12 year old girl, Namitha. The event being a kid's competition event on various activities like dancing, singing, essay writing, painting, coloring, malayalam and english speech etc for kids of ages 3-16 yrs. Namitha beautifully captured the entire essence of the event on her logo and I knew I had to do justice to this gorgeous visualization of hers.

Varnolsavam Logo - drawn by Namitha
I kept pondering a bit as to the best option to draw on a butercream cake , then it struck me...Glitter Gel colors! I din't have all the needed colors so off I sent Manish to get me all the colors on the logo...and he did just as told...hehe!
I used a toothpick to make very mild markings on the cake where each part of the picture went and colored inside it with the gel colors. This was how it looked in the end. Phew! This took me about 2 hrs, considering my drawing skills and the fact that I couldn't risk much ;-)

And just when we thought everything was good we realised that the large box Manish got from Costco to fit the cake wasn't sturdy enough and was too big to fit in our car trunk! Then came our friends to the rescue, they sat down with Manish and re-sized the box and gave it enough padding, converting it to a sturdy cake box, that could bear the weight of the cake and also fit in our car trunk ;-) Thanks to all who helped!!

All things were finally sorted out. Other than a hairline crack in the buttercream that happened while placing the cake into the cake box and finally into the car, there were no other issues and it landed safely at the venue.

The kids were super excited as they crowded around the cake waiting for the cake cutting and ofcourse their slice....Namitha insisted that I also join in the cake cutting and we cut the cake together. Some wanted the slice with orange cream, some wanted a slice with the gel colors , while other's just wanted a big slice ;-) It was a lot of fun and both kids and adults enjoyed the cake, me too! And there was enough cake for more than one serving. And my lil'Appu couldn't have given a bigger smile while enjoying his slice :-)
(below pics are courtesy of my friend Anjana, who graciously took most of the pics at the event)

In all it was super fun event and this experience of making such a large cake and then sharing it with the kids is what's going to stay in my heart forever!

Hopefully you enjoyed reading this post and now you know its not too hard to make a full-sheet cake at home!!

More gorgeous treats to follow, so keep watching out this space or my Facebook Page for updates.



  1. I am just gawking at the size of that cake!!! Huge... hats off to you for taking such challenges... it looks really so perfect... :)

  2. O my goodness, can see all your efforts and your talent for making this immense cake. Wish i could make frosting as much as prefect like you.

  3. Really adorable........Hats off...hats gorgeous ...............! no words to say.... :)

  4. wow for pulling it off. such a giant size yet so very delicate in flavours and design. well done.

  5. You are simply amazing!! I wish I was so confident in cake making as you are... well done!! Your cake looks better than any bakery cake out there. :)

  6. great efforts to bake this huge cake, your interest in baking..Beautifully done,keep up the good work and of course thanx for sharing the info on sheet cakes too :)

  7. You did an amazing job on this, it's beautiful!! Love the logo and how you recreated it. I can see why everyone loved it!

  8. Wow. Huge cake is just amazing. Great effort.


Thank You so much for visiting here. I would love to hear from you , please leave a comment or suggestion and Hope to see you again !