Tuesday, April 21, 2015

My Big Cake Adventure - A Trio of Half Sheet Cakes Part 1

The basic ingredients for three half sheet cakes.
I updated the ingredient list on 4/29/2015. The cakes required another dozen eggs and one more two pound bag of powdered sugar.
For those of you who are new to my blog, I work at an elementary school. 

The annual state assessment testing is almost here. As an incentive, third through sixth grade students are served cake with lunch the day before testing starts. This year, my boss asked me if I thought I could make the cakes. 

Now, how did she know I had just bought a half sheet cake pan? Of course I agreed to make the cakes. I like to challenge myself with cake baking projects. Now I had to find out the answer to another question.

What I would need to make and decorate three half sheet cakes?
I am a home baker. I have decorated mini-cakes, 8 inch and 9 inch layer cakes, and even made my own wedding cake with spring form cake pans. (It looked like a tower of cake, but we were thrilled with it!) I am also familiar with 13 x 9 x 2 inch cakes that require one cake mix. However, I do not normally take a cake that size out of the pan, put it on a cake board, and decorate it. Plus, I needed to figure out how many cups of cake batter and  butter cream frosting I would need to frost and decorate the cakes. 

How many cake mixes would I need?
The directions that came with my half sheet cake pan said I would need three to four cake mixes per cake. A friend, who also has a half sheet cake pan, told me two mixes would be enough. Seeking to confirm the number of mixes I would need, I turned to an online search engine for answers. 

BettyCrocker.com is a very helpful website for a home baker. A Betty Crocker cake mix makes four to four and a half cups of cake batter. Plus, I found a list of how many cups of cake batter you need to make different sized sheet cakes. Yippee!  Fourteen cups of cake batter, or four boxes of cake mix per cake was listed to make one half sheet cake. I decided to go with three boxes of cake mix per cake.  

How much frosting would I need to make?
My online search also revealed the answer to my frosting question. Seven cups of frosting will frost a half sheet cake. My butter cream frosting recipe yields four cups of frosting. A double batch will give me a cup of extra frosting to use for piping borders. Okay, now to sit down and figure out the ingredient amounts.

Sallee's Ingredient List for Three Half Sheet Cakes

  • 12 - 16.5 ounce boxes of white cake mix
  • 1 - 48 ounce bottle of canola oil
  • 3 dozen large eggs
  • 6 - 2 pound bags of powdered, or confectioners sugar
  • 1- 48 ounce can of vegetable shortening
  • 1 pound of butter
  • 1 pound of margarine
  • 1 can of canola oil no stick cooking spray
Let the Baking Begin!
Actually, I will not be baking until Saturday. However, I am going to start making  the royal icing cake top decorations tomorrow, three days before I start baking cakes. 
ABP (After Blog Post lol...lol),  I changed my mind about making royal icing decorations. Instead, I chose to stay with a method that I am familiar with - home made, rolled butter cream fondant.