Half Sheet Cake: Facts and Recipes You Should Know

half sheet cake

In the world of baking, nothing is as sought-after and popular as a half sheet cake. These beauties are perfect for large gatherings, and they will satisfy everyone, regardless of their taste in sweets.

Stay tuned for an all-encompassing guide on the half sheet cake. From sizes to recipes, here is all that you need to know.

What Is a Half Sheet Cake?


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A half sheet cake is shaped in a rectangle and is usually served at parties with many attendees. The shape allows for seamless and efficient cutting and helps ensure all pieces are of equal sizes.

The most common half sheet cake flavors are vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. However, these cakes can be of any flavor you want and like, which is another thing that makes them so appealing.

These cakes can either have one or two layers. A two-layer cake will definitely feed more people, so that is something you should get for really large gatherings, such as office parties.

Most of the time, half sheet cakes are decorated with buttercream frosting. However, that is always up to your personal preference. In essence, you can decorate it in any way you like.

What Sizes Are There?

Half sheet cake sizes vary depending on where you get the cakes. Most bakeries offer a few sizes, ranging from 15 by 11 inches to 16 by 12 inches.

Things are a bit different when it comes to homemade cakes. Most homes do not have big ovens, so these cakes are seldom bigger than 14 by 9 inches.

Differences Between Full, Half, and Quarter Sheet Cake Sizes


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Apart from half, sheet cakes also come in quarter and full sizes. Full sheet cakes are rarely homemade, as they can be as big as 24 by 18 inches, and most home ovens are much smaller. These cakes can feed up to a hundred people, which makes them a great choice for large birthday parties, weddings, and similar gatherings.

Quarter sheet cakes are the smallest of the three. They usually don’t exceed 13 by 9 inches, and they can feed up to 24 people. They are usually homemade, often for lowkey birthday celebrations.

How Many People Does a Half Sheet Cake Feed?

Depending on the size you go for, a half sheet cake can feed from 18 to 40 people. If you opt for a double-layer cake, you will have more to work with. So, they are a good choice if you need a bigger cake but don’t want to get a full sheet one or don’t need as much.

How Much Does a Half Sheet Cake Cost?

The price of your cake will depend on several factors, including its size, flavor, decoration, and whether it has two layers or one. Most one-layer cakes cost around $40, while those with two layers don’t exceed $65.

Still, prices vary from bakery to bakery, so you should do a bit of research if you want to find some more affordable options.

Half Sheet Cake Recipes

Though you can always go out and buy a cake, there is a certain satisfaction in baking it yourself. What’s more, you get to make it exactly the way you want and use ingredients of your own choosing.

If you want to bake a half sheet cake and need some recipes to get started, read on. The sections that follow will teach you how to make two classics: the vanilla and chocolate half sheet cakes.

Chocolate Half Sheet Cake Recipe


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Here are the ingredients you will need for the cake:

• 2 c. flour

• 2 c. sugar

• ¼ tsp. salt

• 4 heaping tsp. cocoa

• 2 sticks butter

• 1 c. boiling water

• ½ c. buttermilk

• 2 whole beaten eggs

• 1 tsp. baking powder

• 1 tsp. vanilla

First off, take a saucepan and put the butter sticks in it to melt on medium heat. Once they are melted, add the cocoa and stir. Add the boiling water to the saucepan as well, and let it boil for around half a minute.

In a mixing bowl, combine your flour, sugar, and salt. Then, add the boiling butter and cocoa mixture, and stir lightly to cool it.

Take a measuring cup and measure out your buttermilk. Add the eggs, vanilla, and baking powder. Once everything has mixed well, add it to your mixing bowl. Stir everything together carefully. Do it by hand rather than with a mixer, as that will make the cake fluffier and more moist.

Pour everything into a baking pan and bake it at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes. Those twenty minutes should give you enough time to make your frosting.

As with most half sheet cakes, the frosting/icing can be anything you like. You can melt some chocolate and butter, combine it with sliced nuts or pecans and pour it over the cake once it is out of the oven.

Alternatively, you can make buttercream or just use whipped cream and some caramel or chocolate topping. Just make sure your cake is cool first, if you plan on using any type of cream on it.

Vanilla Half Sheet Cake Recipe


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Here’s what you need for the cake:

• 2 sticks butter

• 1 c. water

• 2 c. all-purpose flour

• ½ c. sour cream

• 2 c. sugar

• 2 whole beaten eggs

• 1 tsp. vanilla

• 1 tsp. baking powder

Bring water and butter to boil in a medium-sized saucepan. As that is happening, mix all your other ingredients, starting with the flour and sugar, followed by the eggs, sour cream, baking powder, and vanilla. Finally, pour in the butter mixture and stir everything together until it’s smooth.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In the meantime, pour your mixture into a greased baking pan. After a few minutes, put the pan into the oven and bake for about twenty minutes.


This cake requires a special kind of icing. You can make it while the cake is in the oven. Here is what you will need:

• 1 stick butter

• ¼ c. milk

• 4 ½ c. powdered sugar

• ½ tsp. vanilla (or almond extract, depending on preference)

Combine the powdered sugar and vanilla/almond extract in a mixing bowl. Set it aside as you focus on the butter and milk.

Take a medium-sized saucepan and let your butter and milk melt, and mix. Do that on medium heat, as you’re not in a hurry. Once everything is melted and combined, pour it into the powdered sugar mixture.

Stir everything until it’s smooth. If you notice that the frosting might be a bit too thick, you can add some milk to rectify the situation. Still, as long as you can work with it and spread it over the cake, you’ll be fine.

It is important that you let the cake cool for at least twenty minutes before you put the frosting on it. Otherwise, everything will melt, and the consistency of the frosting will be ruined.

Once you put the frosting on, let the cake rest for another twenty minutes. Ideally, it should rest for at least an hour, but you can cut it after those twenty minutes if you are in a hurry or you have guests over. And just like that, your vanilla half sheet cake will be done and ready!

Gretchen Walker
Gretchen is a homemaker by day and writer by night. She takes a keen interest in life as it unfolds around her and spends her free time observing people go about their everyday affairs.