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Urgent Sheet Cake questions (for 300)

Discussion in 'Chef's Lounge' started by esavvymom, Feb 15, 2012.

  1. esavvymom

    esavvymom CS Leader Staff Member

    Our Cub Scout pack has their Blue & Gold banquet coming up very soon. Due to the size of our group, we are going with just dessert (cake), and then our program. It takes TOO LONG to feed them dinner and still have our program/bridging, etc.

    My question pertains to the cakes. One mom priced Costco cakes and they told her a "half sheet cake" was about $18, served 48. She told me today they said that a serving size was 1.5" x 1.5". As my 10yr old said, "That's a CRUMB!" Based on those numbers, I calculate their "half-sheet" cake is really a 9x13", which is a quarter-sheet-cake in my book.

    There is another mom in our pack who used to bake and has the pans to make a half-sheet cake. I've got to verify with her the size of the servings, and her pans, but I believe she's more in line with what a standard half would be- about 12x18 or close to it. Her serving size piece, based on her email, I believe would then be about 2"x 2.25". Still small, but better. I could live with it.

    I would PREFER a 2"x3" size piece. It just means making a couple more cakes. I went ahead and bought a pan myself from Amazon.

    (1) Am I crazy?? I was thinking if she'll make 4 of them, I can make 3 or 4 and her sister (another scout mom) -makes 1-2 smaller sized. We divide and conquer.

    (2) What key things would I need? Cakeboards to put them on. And a good recipe. Anything else? I have the PC Spatulas for icing. We aren't decorating, since they'll be cut/plated before guests arrive anyway.

    I'll get HER recipes for her version of cake and frosting, but thought I'd ask if any of you have a great recipe?- that is easy, and allergy friendly (IE- I can buy a box-cake mix and doctor it up. I know of one brand of cakes that are "nut-free".)

    (3) and is a 2x3" piece of cake reasonable?? We're talking 300 people, but it just is crazy to do something less than 2x2 to me. Why bother?! Standard cake guides show 1.5" x 2", that's one bite more than the Costco...which should be called "Petit Four Mini-cakes", not sheet cake. Pppuhhhlleaaase.
  2. carlajanes

    carlajanes Gold Member

    those serving sizes are usually for wedding cakes which are double layer cakes......
    i've done cakes for over 30 years and when you just serve sheet cakes you HAVE to increase the portion size.
    If you add 1/3 c. flour and 1 t. vanilla to each cake mix you will have a better tasting cake.
    And usually for things like this it's best to make vanilla cakes because not everyone likes chocolate! sometimes people ask for marble cakes.....if you do a marble cake the ratio to use of white to chocolate should be 3 to 1....if you do half and half you will end up with a mostly chocolate cake because the chocolate over powers the vanilla.

    Good luck....I know it will turn out great!
  3. esavvymom

    esavvymom CS Leader Staff Member

    Yes. We were thinking of half vanilla, half chocolate (we are talking about 150 kids too. ;))...but definitely a simple mix. Thanks for the tip on a marble option though!

    So I'm not crazy on size....good. So when you talk about adding 1/3 cup flour, etc. How many cake mixes do you use to get a sheet-cake? 2 or 3 is what I'm thinking??
  4. carlajanes

    carlajanes Gold Member

    for a 12x18 pan.....2 cake mixes fill it....
    2 of those pans make a full sheet cake....
  5. ChefBeckyD

    ChefBeckyD Gold Member

    I've never seen a 9x13 cake at Costco - all of their cakes are larger than that. Their cakes are the standard half-sheet size (they would have to be - it's a bakery standard and they couldn't call them anything else), and Costco's cakes are tall too. Two tall layers with a filling of your choice in the middle. We use their cakes for all sorts of celebrations (and are getting them for our Blue & Gold Banquet next week too!) and you just cannot beat the price or quality, IMO.
  6. Sheila

    Sheila Gold Member

    Have you thought about just going the cupcake route? If you are not planning to do a boy scout design anyway and if you have the easy accent decorator, you can do a swirl of icing on the top of each one super fast (no spreading) and then sprinkle blue sprinkles on 1/2 of them and gold sprinkles on the other half of them. No cutting required! :D

    I agree, go vanilla on all of them! That way, you don't have to worry about chocolate allergies in the bunch or people who prefer one flavor not getting it because you ran out. LOL
  7. Sheila

    Sheila Gold Member

    I just went back & looked ... I got a cake for my daughter's birthday in Oct from Sam's ... 18X13 with 30 cupcakes around it, decorated for like $25! It was a LOT of cake! LOL
  8. carlajanes

    carlajanes Gold Member

    yes Sheila....cupcakes are a great option and are so popular now....

    yes Becky....12x18 are the half sheets and are usually what you get at a bakery unless you ask for a 1/4 sheet.....

    The problem Bobbi was having is for a single layer half sheet cake which is what she was going to serve a 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" slice is quite small. A double layer half sheet cake however is different and those proportion sized are just right.

    I used to own a bakery and catering business in Texas. Costco needed to specify that the cakes are double layer with a filling inside....it makes a big difference to the one asking the questions....can't just assume everyone knows....I didn't.

    9"x13" = quarter sheet cake
    12"x18" = half sheet cake
    24"x36" = full sheet cake......make that 18"x24" sorry about that :)
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2012
  9. Sheila

    Sheila Gold Member

    Seems like a quarter would be 6X9 if the half is 12X18 and the full is 24X36. Must be that new math thing again. LOL

    I saw this today in the sale ads that came in the mail:


    Apparently they seem to think that $9.45 - $1.46 = $2.99
  10. carlajanes

    carlajanes Gold Member

    hahahahaha sheila.....i blame it on the pain meds...


    and a quarter is 9x13....you only half one side....and it's 13 instead of 12 because that's the way they decided to make the pans....go figure....lol
  11. esavvymom

    esavvymom CS Leader Staff Member

    Now I'm really confused. ;) I think maybe I'll call Costco on my own. Not sure I trust this lady's "recon".
  12. carlajanes

    carlajanes Gold Member

    yes....make sure if it's a double or single layer cake they are offering....

    good luck!! i'll be glad to help if i can.....i'm winding down my cake business....mainly doing scupted cakes now....doing a Tow Mater birthday cake at the end of the month....love Tow Mater!! :D
  13. esavvymom

    esavvymom CS Leader Staff Member

    Couldn't get a hold of the Bakery department, but I did talk more with my friend who was going to help with the cakes. She's going to make 4 half-sheet cakes, I'm going to make 3 of them.

    She said she uses 3 cake mixes per box- so they are a bit thicker than they would be with 2. We won't be using filling, so they'll be single but thicker than a "normal" single I guess. I think Costco's numbers were based on DOUBLE-cakes (they use filling), but even my friend said 1.5x1.5 is too small. Her's is normally 2" x 2 1/4", but if we do it right, we might be able to get it at 2"x2.5". Anyway.....I'm kind of excited by the opportunity. I don't know why. Seems simple enough.

    Thanks for the feedback and help! :) It was helpful.
  14. chefheidi2003

    chefheidi2003 Gold Member

    This is a very good idea..I love the cupcake route. That is what we had for our wedding..and my bff and my family made all of them. Might be a great option. And we used the EAD to icing all of them. Because it is so much easier.
  15. doughmama

    doughmama Silver Member

    I agree. Costco cakes are very good and by the time you factor in your time, materials, oven usage, etc... I'd order the cakes. But good luck if you choose to bake them all!
  16. NooraK

    NooraK Gold Member

    I'm going to throw in another vote for Costco.

    Not only will it cost you for ingredients, take time for baking and cooling and decorating the cakes, where are you going to store them? Most people don't have the refrigerator space to store 3 or 4 half-sheet cakes. If you're concerned about not having enough cake, order an extra one or get some cupcakes. Paying $18 for an extra cake is a small cost to me to avoid the hassle of baking the cakes myself.
  17. esavvymom

    esavvymom CS Leader Staff Member

    Ok. So I know you all think I'm crazy, but the adventurous side of me took over.

    I made my first sheet cake today as a "test run". My neighbor practically proposed (we are both already married. He joked about starting a 'harem'.)

    IT WAS AMAZING! I used this recipe for a White Almond Sour Cream Wedding Cake (no almond extract, just used extra vanilla- because of nut allergies). And my friend gave me a frosting recipe - white chocolate, butter, shortening, vanilla, and lots of powdered sugar! My cake came about beautiful - I used baking strips, and cake nails for even baking/heat distribution. Perfect. I had used parchment paper so it flipped out onto the board with no trouble.

    Yeeehaaw! The hardest part was smelling the wonderful smell all afternoon. :love:

    My other cake-baking friend said I was crazy because of the mess, time, etc. But I spend days making jams, canning fruit/veggies, making my own breads (even grinding my wheat), shoot....I even make my own laundry detergent! Making some cakes and icing is NOTHING. ;) Just bigger than normal.

    Anyway....I'm loving it. And I know what exactly is in the cake/icing.

    When I make my "official" cakes, I may take some photos to post. :D
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2012
  18. wadesgirl

    wadesgirl Gold Member

    Glad they worked out! I thought my sister was crazy for baking 300 cupcakes for her wedding (and doing cute marshmallow flower decorations on top!) but they turned out great too.
  19. Sheila

    Sheila Gold Member

    I was hoping your update would have a photo! LOL Yes, please post photos after you are done. :D
  20. PampChefJoy

    PampChefJoy Gold Member

    For our Girl Scout events, our local grocery store will usually cut us a pretty good deal for sheet cakes, single layer no filling, plain frosting and they'll decorate however we want. We usually get sheets for $15 each and when there are little kids involved, 1.5"x1.5" is a pretty reasonable portion.

    We also have some regulations about serving prepared food vs. preparing it... liability for food poisoning, clean preparation, etc. They'd prefer to go with one purchased from a vendor...
  21. esavvymom

    esavvymom CS Leader Staff Member

    Cakes are made, iced, and ready to go on my dining room table. Quite a simple process (with a plan) actually. I started around 9:30am, done by 3pm with the cakes cooling. We went to the hockey game for the night. I iced them this morning with the most delicious, perfect consistency icing I've ever made. My DH said "You realize you'll never use a regular store bought cake or icing again!". he's so right. I have pictures, but haven't had a chance to upload yet...so I'll upload those to my blog site later and give you the link.

  22. kam

    kam CS Leader Staff Member

    Can't wait to see the pictures! What icing recipe did you use?
  23. cookinfletch

    cookinfletch Gold Member

    I would have to go with Costco, too. I live in Durham, & we get their cakes all the time. The cake is very thick & it really does go a long way, not to mention they are some of the best I've ever had!!
  24. esavvymom

    esavvymom CS Leader Staff Member

    Here is what I used:

    White Chocolate Buttercream frosting recipe:
    6oz melted white chocolate, (Baker's Chocolate brand was what I used- easy to find at most grocery stores)
    3 sticks butter,
    1/2 cup shortening,
    1 Tb vanilla,
    5-6 cps powdered sugar.

    Whip all ingredients except sugar until light and fluffy. (This was key! I just let my Kitchen Aid beat the tar out of it- and it was fluffy and perfect.)

    Slowly add sugar.

    This makes enough for a 1/2 sheet cake. For a standard size cake, just cut the recipe in HALF. :)

    I haven't tried it yet- but you should be able to use regular Dark or Milk Chocolate if you want a brown-chocolate Buttercream recipe.


    The attached pictures aren't great....but we didn't decorate them- just iced them, and cut/put on the tables. There was not a single piece left (and we had a full cake more than we needed by #s). I forgot to take a photo of the cake after it was cut to show you the texture- but think "Pound Cake" or "Wedding Cake". :D YUM.

    Attached Files:

  25. esavvymom

    esavvymom CS Leader Staff Member

    If we didn't have so many kids with nut allergies (The Costco cakes had allergy warnings), we probably would have. But it really wasn't hard.

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