Sheet cakes are wonderful because they can serve a crowd much more easily and efficiently than any other shape of cake. Most home sheet cakes are rectangular – typically 9×13-inches or so – and the size of a sheet cake can make it difficult to handle when it comes time to serve your dessert. Unlike smaller cakes, which are easy to turn out of the pans that they are baked in, sheet cakes are not always sturdy enough to handle being moved around a lot.
As a result, most of the time that we bake sheet cakes at home, we serve the directly from the pan that they are baked in. And while it is easy to carry a pan to the table, it isn’t always easy to get pieces out neatly. Fortunately, these tips will help you get both individual slices and whole sheet cakes out of the pan without too much fuss.
How to Cut A Sheet Cake in the Pan
When it comes time to serve your sheet cake from the pan, you’ll need a sharp knife and a small spatula. Lightly score the cake into the slices that you intend to cut (4×6, for instance), then cut the cake along those lines. Cutting the whole cake at once, wiping excess frosting off the knife as you go, tends to result in more even slices. Starting with a corner piece, cut the slice in half. This small piece will be a sacrifice piece, even though it will taste as delicious as the rest of the cake. Slide the small spatula (or even a butter knife) under the small corner piece and lift it out. Repeat the process with the second small slice. Now that you have a clear corner, you can slide the spatula under the next piece and serve the remainder of the cake just as you cut it.
How to Get a Whole Sheet Cake Out of the Pan
If you want to get the whole sheet cake out of the pan, you’re going to need a wire rack and a large cake platter. It would also be best if you greased your pan well and lined the bottom of it with parchment paper. After the cake has cooled, place the wire rack on top of the pan and invert the cake onto it. You can use a cutting board in a pinch, but I much prefer a wire rack because the cake is less likely to stick to it. Next, re-invert the cake onto a large serving platter. Now, you can frost the cake as desired and easily cut slices in any size you’d like.
Do not frost the cake before removing it from the pan if you are planning to take the whole cake out to serve. Even if you line the pan so that you can lift it out (with parchment paper or aluminum foil), which I often recommend for brownies and smaller cakes, the cake will likely bend in the middle as you lift, leaving the frosting looking less than picture-perfect.