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Making 1/2 Sheet Cake, have some questions!!
Posted: 04 January 2009 05:50 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I am new to cake decorating, and I have learned a lot by reading, researching, and watching other people. I am getting better every time I do another cake, but this time I am a little worried. I have to make a 1/2 sheet cake (12 x 18 x 2) for a birthday party and I have never made a cake of that size.
Here are my questions….

1) in order to do a half yellow/half chocolate cake, can I just use aluminum foil in the center to seperate the colors as I am pouring in?? Also, how do I know how much batter to make?
2) if i want to do say a pudding filling or something, should I torte the cake? If I freeze it, will it be possible to work with the layers easier, or is there a better way?? (I once saw a guy at Wegmans cut a cake horizontally and then filled the middle, and he was throwin the cake around like it was rubber! I have no idea how he did that…)
3) Do cakes of these size come out of a pan of this size easily?
4) Does anyone know a recipe for the right batter amount for this size pan??
5) Does anyone know a good buttercream frosting recipe that will cover a cake of this size? I Have tried many many buttercreams and have yet to find one that I love. Sometiems they aren’t sweet engouh for my taste, sometimes they taste like crisco…frankly, the wegmans buttercream is the best recipe but of course, they won’t give it to me lol.

Sorry for all the questions- this is how I learn!

Thanks so much

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Posted: 04 January 2009 06:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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SKIWEAVER#9
  Good afternoon. Wecome to our culinary club. If you post the recipe amounts of the ingredients I will do the culinary math for you to fit the 1/2 sheet pan.

  Same with the buttercream. I would suggest Miss Rose’s buttercream recipes in her “TCB” edition. Many to chose from.
  Good luck to you & enjoy the rest of the day.

  ~FRESHKID. grin

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Posted: 04 January 2009 07:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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ooh thanks. i dont even have a recipe yet though lol. when i get one ill let you know

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Posted: 05 January 2009 01:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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welcome.

as freshkid said, we are all fans of the cake bible and the buttercreams within.

in order to get your cake safely out of the pan i would be sure to line it with parchment or waxed paper. let it cool a bit before flipping as a hot cake with tear more easily

putting a foil separator sounds like a recipe for disaster to me. make a chocolate cake and make a vanilla cake and put them together before crumb coating. to get them to fit together, trim the edge of each cake so that they meet with a flat edge.

you have to be confident with your cake or it will break on you. instead of torting (cutting it horizontally down the center) why not make thin layers and stack them. this will also work for your bi-flavor theme. make one thin vanilla layer, cut in half vertically, fill and stack. make one thin choc layer, do the same and press both together to make your finished sheet cake. crumb coating and chilling before assembling the final cakes will make them easier to handle.

if a frosting tastes like crisco it usually means that it is made with crisco. avoid these if you can. shortening melts at a higher temp than butter, creating that greasy layer on the roof of your mouth when you eat it. try one of rose’s cooked buttercreams. if they aren’t sweet enough for you add more flavoring. you will never find a better, more delicious product than real italian buttercream. i guarantee that the frosting at wegman’s is made with more synthetic products than you can imagine. they won’t give you the recipe, because there isn’t one. it comes out of a 5 lb bucket from a food manufacturer.

i usually do the thin layers when it comes to a sheet cake. i don’t measure the batter (i’m one of the unscientific ones around here) i pour in batter until it is slightly taller than the finished cake that i want. so for a one inch layer i pour batter until it is 1 inch high and just a little bit more. i also lower my baking temp by 25 degrees in order to avoid a dome in the middle of my cake. any leftover batter i just make into another cake and freeze for another time.

good luck. hang out here for a bit. there is lots of good advice to be had. get a copy of the cake bible from the library and see if you like it.

jen

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Posted: 05 January 2009 03:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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great answers club!

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Posted: 05 January 2009 09:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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jen68 - 05 January 2009 05:32 AM

welcome.

as freshkid said, we are all fans of the cake bible and the buttercreams within.

in order to get your cake safely out of the pan i would be sure to line it with parchment or waxed paper. let it cool a bit before flipping as a hot cake with tear more easily

putting a foil separator sounds like a recipe for disaster to me. make a chocolate cake and make a vanilla cake and put them together before crumb coating. to get them to fit together, trim the edge of each cake so that they meet with a flat edge.

you have to be confident with your cake or it will break on you. instead of torting (cutting it horizontally down the center) why not make thin layers and stack them. this will also work for your bi-flavor theme. make one thin vanilla layer, cut in half vertically, fill and stack. make one thin choc layer, do the same and press both together to make your finished sheet cake. crumb coating and chilling before assembling the final cakes will make them easier to handle.

if a frosting tastes like crisco it usually means that it is made with crisco. avoid these if you can. shortening melts at a higher temp than butter, creating that greasy layer on the roof of your mouth when you eat it. try one of rose’s cooked buttercreams. if they aren’t sweet enough for you add more flavoring. you will never find a better, more delicious product than real italian buttercream. i guarantee that the frosting at wegman’s is made with more synthetic products than you can imagine. they won’t give you the recipe, because there isn’t one. it comes out of a 5 lb bucket from a food manufacturer.

i usually do the thin layers when it comes to a sheet cake. i don’t measure the batter (i’m one of the unscientific ones around here) i pour in batter until it is slightly taller than the finished cake that i want. so for a one inch layer i pour batter until it is 1 inch high and just a little bit more. i also lower my baking temp by 25 degrees in order to avoid a dome in the middle of my cake. any leftover batter i just make into another cake and freeze for another time.

good luck. hang out here for a bit. there is lots of good advice to be had. get a copy of the cake bible from the library and see if you like it.

jen

ok that makes sense, but I guess what I am afraid of is baking time/temperature etc. If I do one thin layer of vanilla in a 12x18 pan, then how do I know how long to bake it for?  and if i do it that way, then technically, the cake will have to be baked twice (each flavor making it double long to make). 
Is it easier to let the cake cool COMPLETELY before taking it out of the pan?
I also have been reading a lot about this cooked buttercream…I am afraid to try this as well lol, what does it taste like?? Is it good for decorating as well as just covering a cake? (Ie. does it make good roses?)

Thanks for all this info I am really learning a lot!

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Posted: 05 January 2009 11:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Skiweaver, I’ll chime in, too.

I would skip the aluminum foil idea- I have tried a number of improvised heat cores, including weighted aluminum foil, and what generally happens is that they rise with the cake, allowing batter to seep underneath and ruining the shape where the foil is.  As Jen recommends, bake seperate layers of yellow and chocolate cakes and stack them with filling in between.  Your cake will likely be taller, which looks better in a sheet cake, and you’ll save yourself the trouble of slicing the layers horizontally.  If you have to have a different arrangement of layers, i.e. right half yellow/left chocolate, slice the layers into right and left halves after they are baked and stack each half on top of its same flavor, then place them side by side to re-form the rectangle.

To prevent sticking, spray the pan with Baker’s Joy, line the bottom with parchment and spray again.  To unmold, I usually run a knife along the sides, place the rack directly on top of the pan, then flip both together.  For stacking, a butter cake will be easier to work with if it is cold.  You can use pieces of cardboard underneath to transfer the cake from cooling rack to refrigerator to assembly, if you are worried about the large layers breaking.  As for cooling, follow the directions with the recipe- most do not recommend cooling completely in the pan. 

All this info and much, much more is in The Cake Bible.  The recipes are reliable, delicious and use quality ingredients, no shortening or chemical emulsifiers.  There are tables to help you alter a recipe to fit any size pan.  And it has the best-tasting, most elegant buttercreams, which pipe beautifully.

Good Luck!

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Posted: 05 January 2009 12:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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LOL ok, so i will make 2 cakes, one yellow, one chocolate, and then cut them vertically and stack them, then put them together to make 1 half sheet cake.  I think i am most worried about the cake breaking when taking it out of the pan. Although I haven’t used parchment paper on this type of cake, so hopefully it will work.

and for the buttercream….the cooked buttercream, does it take quite some practice to get this down? From what i am hearing it does….

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Posted: 05 January 2009 07:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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it will work, it will work! julie tell you exactly how to do it, how we all do it.

mousseline buttercream is easy as pie. well, i don’t make pie because i find it very hard, but this is easy!

start with neoclassic buttercream and then get a thermometer and do the classic and finally, the mousseline. you’ll never go back.

all the cakes on my website are frosted filled and piped with rose’s buttercreams.

i never have any trouble piping. my problems are all technique! i have better cakes but DH hasn’t put them up yet!
jen

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Posted: 05 January 2009 09:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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ok I just bought the cake bible lol. Im just going to give it a shot and try the mousseline next weekend. I have to make a cake for my boyfriends mothers birthday….so its ok if I mess it up and end up making regular buttercream.  Im scared lol.

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Posted: 05 January 2009 09:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Would a marbled cake work? Seems like that would be the easiest thing to do.  The cake bible will tell you everything you need to know for making cakes of this size, including how much buttercream to make.

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Posted: 05 January 2009 11:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Skiweaver, you can do it!  For the buttercreams, make sure you get everything ready and pre-measured before you start, and check the accuracy of your thermometer with boiling water.  If you are going to try the mousseline, search this forum for tips first.

Congratulations on your Cake Bible, and welcome to our world.

Good Luck!

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Posted: 06 January 2009 09:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Marbled cake won’t work. People need their choices….frankly I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t just want CHOCOLATE (I love chocolate).  I started the cake bible last night, theres a lot of information in there, haven’t gotten to where it says how much batter/buttercream to use for a half sheet cake

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Posted: 06 January 2009 12:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I made this size cake once fro my MIL’s birthday. My pans are 12x18x1 inch thick.  One full recipe of Rose’s All Occasion Downy Yellow Cake from her Cake Bible filled my pans right to the top when they baked, level as can be.  I baked two cakes and stacked them, it was perfect.  I can’t advise on a chocolate cake, I have not made one in the large pan.  Good luck!

MrsM

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Posted: 06 January 2009 02:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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rose’s master chart on page 513 states 4.5 cups to frost and fill a 9x13 cake and 6 cups for a 18x12 cake.  Do yourself a favor and make 8 cups (two batches of frosting) so you have enough to really coat the sides—especially on your chocolate cake which sometimes needs more frosting to cover, and freeze any leftover.

if you are going to use a different filling, like cookies and cream or a curd, you still need enough frosting to make a dam around the edges of the cake to keep the filling from leaking out. this is very important since buttercream won’t stick to your filling and enable you to cover your cake. to create the dam fill your piping bag with buttercream and use your coupler with no tip. pipe the buttercream all the way around the outside of the cake layer. fill your cake to the top of the dam, stack the next layer, and crumb coat entire cake.


jen

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Posted: 08 January 2009 07:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Ok heres’ another question for you all (that have been soooo helpful).

I am making 2 cakes, one yellow one chocolate i decided, and then will cut them vertically and stack them.

1) Will the frosting on the cake completely cover the “crack” down the middle of the cake?? I dont want it to look weird, which is why i was considering just torting them, but you all say its hard so i wont lol.
2) How much ahead of time can i make these layers WITHOUT freezing them? Should I put them in the fridge if i make them ahead of time? Should I wrap them in plastic wrap and leave them out? Will they get dry??
3) If i frost them, how long will they stay good frosted?? (I am planning on using mousseline if i can do it right). Should they again stay refrigerated? Since the cake is bigger than usual I dont have a cake caddy thingy, so Im gonna have to put it in a cake box.
4) THe regular mousseline…what color is it?? Is it White, or off white??

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