Every parent’s worst nightmare is taking out their child’s homework and seeing a big reminder for Bakers Day the next day. It may have slipped your mind, and now you must rummage through the pantry and whip up something delicious. The question is, what to bake?
You need something simple and yummy. So, how about a half-sheet cake? After all, a problem halved is a problem shared.
What is a half-sheet cake, and are there any good tips for baking one?
A half-sheet cake is a soft sponge-like cake baked in a large rectangular, shallow cake pan. Unlike the large full-size sheet cake, the half-sheet cake is halved. These half-sized cakes are excellent for gatherings or a delicious snack at home.
If you’re looking for a cake that’s easy to make, tastes great, and will wow your guests, this guide will provide you with all the information you need on half-sheet cakes, including handy baking tips.
What Is a Half-Sheet Cake?
A half-sheet cake (also known as a slab cake) is precisely what the name suggests: it’s a sheet cake that is only half the size of a full-sized sheet cake. A sheet cake is a popular single-layer, flat-top, go-to cake for any occasion.
This tasty cake is baked in a flat rectangular cake pan and can be decorated any way you like. The fantastic thing about these cakes is that you can bake them in any flavor you want, from traditional flavors such as chocolate and vanilla to more exciting flavors such as Nutella crunch or pumpkin spice.
A Simple Half-Sheet Cake Recipe
There are plenty of sheet-cake recipes available. So let’s take a look at a basic vanilla half-sheet cake recipe:
- 2 ½ tsp baking powder
- 2 ¼ cups of all-purpose flour (gluten-free flour works well too)
- ¾ cup of unsalted butter (or a dairy-free alternative)
- 1 ½ cups of white sugar
- 1 tbsp of vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup of milk (or milk alternative)
- ½ tsp of fine salt
- 2 ½ tsp of baking powder
Baking Tip: Ensure that all your ingredients are always at room temperature to avoid making a lumpy batter or dough.
- Prepare a sheet cake pan with non-stick spray and preheat your oven to 350℉.
- Use a mixer to beat the sugar and butter until fluffy.
- Add the eggs, vanilla extract, and milk. Don’t overmix.
- Sift and mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Fold the dry ingredients into your butter mixture and spread evenly into your sheet pan.
- Bake for 20 minutes, and check that the cake has cooked through by using a toothpick (if it comes out dry, then your cake is ready.)
Baking Tip: Always let your cake cool completely before adding the frosting to avoid a gooey mess.
Benefits of a Half-Sheet Cake
Here’s a look at some of the benefits of baking a half-sheet cake:
- It’s more affordable to make as it uses fewer ingredients.
- The recipe uses minimal ingredients that you usually have at home.
- Unlike round cakes, a sheet cake can be cut into different-sized square pieces to suit your guests (for example, smaller portions for children).
- The flat top of the cake provides ample space to get creative when decorating. It’s also a great surface to write messages on for that special someone.
- The cakes can be served with a layered filling or frosted with buttercream.
- It’s easy to turn this cake into a double-layer cake and combine the two pieces with a tasty layer of frosting or filling of your choice.
- It’s the perfect cake for any occasion, such as weddings, baby showers, baptisms, birthdays, and bridal showers.
Baking Tip: If you don’t enjoy cake decorating (or don’t have the time), then edible pictures such as the Star Wars Darth Vader sheet cake edible image from Amazon are a hit with diehard fans.
How Big Is a Half-Sheet Cake Size?
In general, a half-sheet cake measures around 18″ x 12″ with a height of around 2″. However, it’s important to remember that the size depends on the manufacturer and design of your cake pan.
A sheet cake comes in different sizes. A full-size sheet cake measures around 18″ x 24″, and a quarter sheet cake measures around 9″ x 13″. Unlike regular cakes, a sheet cake is made in a shallow cake pan.
Some cake pans have rounded edges, while others have square edges, which also play a role in the size of the cake. Remember to take into consideration the thickness of the frosting you use.
Some people also like to trim the edges off (they can turn a bit too brown, dry, or crisp if left in the oven too long), which will also affect the size of your cake.
Most bakeries and grocery stores’ sheet cakes are usually slightly smaller at around 15″ x 11″ with a height of 2″.
Baking Tip: Before you start baking, always preheat your oven for about 10 minutes to allow your oven to reach the correct temperature.
How Many People Does a ½-Sheet Cake Serve?
How many people a half-sheet cake serves depends on the thickness and size of the slice that you serve them. Obviously, the bigger the size, the more servings you’ll get out of one cake. Typically, a single-layer half-sheet cake serves up to 40 guests.
Depending on the cake servings, you can serve as few as 35 people or as many as 105 people.
Baking Tip: If you don’t have the time to bake a half-sheet cake, you can always get a baker to make the cake for you. You can then decorate it in any way you want.
My Last Foodie Thoughts
The phrase less is more is applicable when it comes to a half-sheet cake. This diverse cake can feed as many (or as few) guests as you need. It tastes great, and you can dress it up or down, depending on the occasion.
Nothing goes down quite as nicely as a slice of homemade half-sheet cake. This is an affordable option, and you will often find all the ingredients you need to make this cake in your pantry.
Happy baking, and give it your all (well, half of it, at least when it comes to this cake).