After lots of trial and error in my own home bakery, today I'm sharing the best sheet cake pans and giving you an explanation of sheet cake sizes and how many servings they have. Over the years I've owned a dozen different brands of sheet cake pans in every size and brand you can imagine.
After many years in the cake decorating business, I've come to know which ones I love and consider the best sheet cake pans. With all the pans I've bought, they've varied from super cheap pans from the dollar store to really expensive, heavy-duty pans.
For an actual sheet cake that's typically decorated and sold in grocery stores and by cake shops alike, you're talking about a 9x13x2 inch pan (or larger). The pans are usually 2 inches deep (also sold in 3-inch depth).
For my business, I don't use the terms half sheet, quarter sheet, full-sheet, etc. because I've found that these sizes aren't always uniform in the baking community. But I'm going to do my best to explain what I've found in research.
I'm sure there's a correct size for a \"quarter sheet cake\" but there's some conflicting information out there, so I just say the actual pan sizes: 9x13 or 10x15 or whatever. Then I give my clients the number of servings for whichever size I'm talking about and go from there.
Anyway, for traditional \"sheet cakes\", I love Parrish Magic Line Pans. Actually, this is my favorite brand for all traditional cake pans (round, square, and sheet pans)! They're quality pans that bake evenly and beautifully.
With our recent move, I've had to split cake work between the new house and the old one. I didn't have all of my sheet pans in one place to take pics for this post, so I only have the one size pictured.
The three sizes I hear most often mentioned are quarter sheet cakes, half sheet cakes, and full sheet cakes. I'll share the pan length and pan width for each of the sizes I talk about. For all of my examples, I'm referring to a 2-inch deep pan.
In my experience, 9-inch by 13-inch pans are almost always called quarter sheet cake pans. Once I saw someone refer to a 7x11 inch pan as a quarter sheet or quarter pan, but that was literally one time.
The size of a half-size pan varies depending on who you talk to or where you buy the cake from. A half sheet cake is usually a 10-inch by 15-inch sheet or an 11-inch by 15-inch sheet. I'm not sure why there are varying widths with those two sizes but I think it depends on the brand you buy.
Typically a full sheet cake is an 18-inch by 24-inch cake. This size is common for corporate events or large graduations. Not many home bakers have the oven space to bake a full sheet cake (including me). So when I was asked to do a sheet cake with around 200 servings, here's what I made...
As with most home ovens, mine was not large enough to bake that size sheet cake, so I baked 4 (yes, four) 12x18 sheet cakes, then I stacked them for a double layer of cake and pushed them together for a huge 24x18 cake, It was also a tall cake - almost 5-inches in height. That cake was a beast.
Okay... aside from traditional cake pans, these Nordic pans are also called sheet pans. These are not usually used for tiered or layer cakes - but rather for things like jelly roll cakes or petit fours.
The Nordic Ware sheet pans are different from the Magic Line pans in that they don't have straight up and down sides or sharp corners and they're only about 1 inch deep vs. 2-3 inches. Nordic Ware Sheet pans also come in quarter sheet, half sheet, and full sheet sizes, but I'm going to give you the dimensions in inches.
But first, if you have this type of pan and don't want to invest in the typical cake pans, you can buy a sheet pan extender to convert your pans into cake pans. I've never personally used one of those, but I think it's a brilliant idea!
Who knew there were sheet pans that tiny and why had I never seen them I'm a sucker for all things tiny and was completely obsessed with these pans. I might have even asked the server if I could slip one in my purse For the record, she laughed and said no, so I fought my urge to steal one... haha.
Since I bought them, we've mostly used them to heat things in the oven. For instance, I hate microwaving leftover pizza. I much prefer to warm it in the oven and get the crust all crispy again. So that sheet is the perfect size for a big slice of pizza.
The Alphabet Pan an incredibly versatile pan that you can use for letters and numbers. But additionally, you can use it to make odd-sized rectangles, like for this tractor cake. I have a full tutorial with pics here.
And that's that - the best sheet cake pans in all forms (that I use). I'd recommend having at least a couple of these sizes and varieties on hand for your orders. Unless of course, you choose to not do sheet cakes... then ignore this whole post. Haha!
Did I forget anything I'd love to hear it if you have thoughts on other varieties of sheet cake pans. And if you have different \"favorites\", leave me a comment and tell me which ones you prefer!
Rose Atwater is the founder and cake decorator behind Rose Bakes. She is baker, cake decorator, author, wife to Richy and homeschooling mommy to 6 wonderful kiddos! Her work has been featured in American Cake Decorating Magazine, Cakes Decor, Pretty Witty Cakes Magazine, Huffington Post and Cake Geek Magazine. Learn more here...
I too have a mini pan. Mine is 8x12 and has a metal rack. I can't remember where I got it since it has been mine for many years. I can't think of a time I have used it for cakes--but yes, for small batches of biscuits, a square pancake project (on top of the griddle), and with the rack, for small roasts and pork tenderloin. I've used it as a tray for small things in the kitchen many times.
Oh boy can I relate to that Bank of Franklin cake. But I have say, i have you beat, I had to do not one but TWO that size cakes for a very odd baby shower FOR my FIRST real commission as a cake decorator after finishing Wilton classes which my mother got me in to. I had done lots for family but not others. But you know mothers. I told her later that was payback for when a kid I was ALWAYS volunteering her to do things. Here is the deal. My mother on staff at a nursing home. The head nurse was having her FIRST child, age 40. She was person who felt any fuss made over her was appropriate. She had married a year before. The nursing staff had the \"shower\" (another name for \"suck up to me big time or pay) They had it at our family retirement community in the large community bldg. I got to observe this first hand. When baby was announced it was decided to have the \"shower\" at work. (She wanted gifts from ALL 3 shifts of staff) Therefore the cake to last for three shifts (plus some patients will managed some of course). Its a big place. I ended up making TWO cakes of what you show PLUS added on the top a one layer cake of Wilton's baby carriage cake. The cakes were SO heavy my dad had to make cake boards from plywood which I covered in the stuff Wilton sold for that at the time. It took two STRONG people to carry each cake. Thank heavens my folks have a GMC Suburban to haul them. I had the big community room a disaster working in it. I lost track of the buttercream made that day. My mom and I had baked the cakes the day before at her house where she has 3 ovens and access to 2 more on the farm. This was almost 10 years ago. My mom FINALLY retired from the home in the fall. That head nurse was fired about 4 years ago. My mom had only been working on call (age 75). Last week she said they called and asked her to come back. She said no. I will NEVER forget that cake experience. Talk about a baptism by fire. I was never so glad to see the back of any cake in my life. I don't know about anyone else but when I finish a large cake (usually tiered) I run, not walk to a hot, soapy, glorious bubble bath. I always feel so gross and so covered in sugar I can't stand it. Honestly, I don't care if I EVER do a cake that large again. Yours seems a better memory than mine.
I agree about the ads...pretty overwhelming for sure. I have a question...I've been doing cakes for a while but still struggle with getting a smooth finish..it's driving me batty! Any tools or tricks to helpThanks.
Hi Rose, Thank you for posting so much and answering question for bakers just starting to get customers. It is so helpful most will not help others. I do have a question about the large cake you did. I was on short notice to get a half sheet pan its ordered but, really not sure it will get here in time you said you put 2 cakes together after baking 4. Could you put 2 9 X 13 X2 to make almost the same size half sheet cake. I have the 9 X 13 X 2 pans and if it would get me out of a jam. I wouldn't mind at all doing 4 of those I just thought how would you slide them together side by side without your buttercream sliding where they come together maybe be a silly question but, I do want it to come out very nice. Did you just place them side by side then decorate or seal the edges with buttercream or something Thank you so much for your help and your champagne cake was beautiful. And thanks for the tip about the gold sheets.
Thank you Rose for your quick response. The pan came, now if I can just get it decorated so they will like it. Never did a cake this big it has a half sheet cake on the bottom and a smaller rectangle on top mostly for decorations.
When it comes to sheet pans, size matters. Typically, we recommend a half-sheet pan, or half-size sheet pan, which is about 18x13\" and is big enough for most home cooks but small enough to fit easily into your apartment oven. Unless you are a commercial baker, when you read a recipe that calls for a sheet pan, this is the size in question.
A full-sheet cake typically feeds around 52 to 117 people at any big event or celebration. This range varies depending on the size of the servings. A full-sized sheet cake can only produce around 52 slices if the slice is big enough. 59ce067264