In October of 2022 I made my first designed sheet cake and was FLOORED when all of you lovely people became just as obsessed with them as I was. Since then I’ve received SO many questions about this recipe and the process. This Master Guide is going to take you through every step of the process and clear up many of the frequently asked questions. I believe in every one of you who wants to make this on your own – no crazy artistic ability needed. Just patience and care.
Designed Sheet Cake Ingredients
Many of my comments were people absolutely losing their minds over the fact that this recipe contains 12 eggs. This cake resembles a sponge cake. The egg yolks keep it rich and lock in the moisture while the egg whites, which are whipped to reach stiff peaks, add the most fluffy and airy texture. By the end you’re left with a deliciously textured cake.
This cake is not extremely sweet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s sweet but in a subtle and balanced way. To amp up the flavor for all the sweet tooth’s out there, try adding in 1-2 additional Tablespoons of confectioner’s sugar in the whipped cream filling. Or add layers of fresh strawberries, nutella spread, cinnamon sugar – go crazy! Of course, the original recipe as it is, is so delicious.
Another ingredient that seemed to make a lot of heads spin was the vinegar added to the egg whites. Don’t worry, the 1 teaspoon of egg whites is not nearly enough to add a vinegar flavor in this cake. It does however, help keep our egg whites stiff and fluffy.
Drawing The Sheet Cake Design
I’ve never loved the term “baking is a science”. While yes, certain amounts of certain ingredients are pretty crucial to flavor and outcomes, I think it deters people away from baking too often when they think “Oh I couldn’t do that, this looks to complex”. Baking is such a joy. And it’s such a joy for me to be able to share my recipes and advice with you all.
This goes for the initial designing process of the cake as well. You don’t need your art hung in a museum to make this cake. If you follow these steps then you’ll be set up for success. Start by using an edible marker to trace 3 pieces of parchment paper to fit a 13″ by 9″ (1/4 sheet pan or cookie sheet) perfectly. Cut out the parchment paper around the traced lines then place it into the cookie sheet to make sure it fits in nice and snug.
You can see below that I created an image on my iPad then traced it onto my parchment paper. Look up and find a design that you want to use then trace it onto one sheet of parchment paper. You don’t need an iPad to do this. You can also print out the image you want to use and trace it the same way. Be cautious and aware when choosing a design that may be copyrighted, I drew the piece of cake on my iPad using procreate. The other two pieces of parchment paper can be left blank.
Preparing The Eggs
The first step in the baking process is to separate the 12 egg yolks from the whites. Be careful not to get any yolk into the white, as this could cause the egg whites to not stiff up the way we want them too.
Sifting In Dry Ingredients
While mixing the first half of the batter, the egg yolk mixture, you’ll notice that the batter becomes bvry thick after sifting in the dry ingredients. This is totally normal. Don’t panic. Simply use a whisk to mix this matter to get out any lumps.
Make Sure To Get Those Stiff Peaks!
Whenever I whip egg whites to stiff peaks I think of the Grinch’s cave on the top of the snowy hill. Basically, you want egg whites to be stiff enough to hold their own when you lift the whisk upside down. It should resemble the grinch’s house on the hill. See the image below to see what I mean 🙂
This is a super important step. The stiff egg whites are going to be the bulk of what makes this cake batter fluffy and thick enough to be able to pipe designs without the batter being to thin and just spreading. As long as they’ve reached stiff peaks, you’re a-okay.
GENTLY Fold In The Egg Whites
For those of you who watch Schitt’s Creek, I hope you’re smiling thinking about Moira and David trying to fold in broken cheese. If you’re not a fan or are unfamiliar with the show, let’s move on 🙂
This is arguably the MOST important part of the whole process. Don’t be intimidated, you’ve come this far in the recipe, you got this! Add the egg whites to the original egg yolk batter. Gently fold in the egg whites until they are evenly distributed in to the batter. It’s okay if there are still a few streaks in the batter. In fact, it’s better to under mix the batter and keep that fluffy, thick texture. Over mixing will cause the egg whites to deflate and make the batter thin and runny.
Coloring The Cake Batter
I use Americolor Food Gel anytime I need to color batter, icing, buttercream etc. It works amazing, a little goes a long way for bright, vibrant colors. A lot of people wondered how I actually create the design. Many thought that it was icing or colored candy melts. To make the designs we are simply coloring small amounts of the cake batter. You only need a small amount of each color but this all depends on the design that you are making so use your best judgement.
I use tipless piping bags for most of my recipes. They are thin, don’t require a metal tip, and can be knotted at the top so you don’t have to worry about batter spilling out while trying to make your designs. You can find them here.
Piping Your Design Outlines
Now that we’ve made the batter, colored it, placed it into piping bags and are ready to get piping, it’s important to get comfortable and be prepared. Have a paper towel next to you in case you need to clean up a spot of batter that dripped unintentionally, a pair scissors to cut the tip off of each piping bag, and good lighting to be able to see the image you traced earlier.
If you’re design includes words, be sure to place the image on facing down so the letters don’t come out backwards! For this cake design, I really wanted the cake to mirror so I placed the image traced side down. You can make the call for how you’d like your design to come out.
Finishing Piping Your Designs
As you can see in the image above, I started by outlining my design in black. Next I added on my sprinkle designs, then filled in every spot that needed color. Make sure to pipe in layers, for example if I piped the sprinkles on top of the batter, you wouldn’t see them once the cake was flipped over.
Adding The Top Layer Of Batter
Once your designs are completely finished, place the cookie sheet in the freezer fro 5-8 minutes to set the designs in place nicely before adding the batter on top. This will ensure that the designs don’t smudge.
Revealing Your Beautiful Design!
Right when the cake comes out of the oven, flip the pan onto parchment paper. The design will be facing up. While the cake is still hot, peel off the parchment paper to reveal your beautiful design. My hope is that all of you feel so proud and excited during that moment!
The leftover batter is used to create two more layers of cake in the same size pan, however, these two layers don’t need to be assembled as carefully since they don’t need designs.
Layering The Sheet Cake With Filling
Use the two sheets of cake that are not designed as the bottom and middle layer of this cake. Between each layer of cake is a fluffy and delicious whipped cream. BE sure that your cakes are 100% cooled before assembling.
Your Finished Designed Sheet Cake
Place the beautiful, designed layer of cake on top. While you’re at it, do a little dance cause these cakes are GORGEOUS and you just created it yourself. Trim off the edges of your cake for a more finished look. Slice into squares and enjoy your masterpiece 🙂
If you don’t have a 1/4 sheet pan (13″ by 9″) you can create a standard size cookie sheet cake made of two layers instead of three. So instead, the bottom layer of cake would be the undesigned sheet, whipped cream on top, then topped with the designed sheet cake. Just be aware that this final outcome would be a bit thinner.
Whipped Cream Filling
I used my traditional Whipped Cream recipe and added sprinkles in it to emphasize the birthday theme of this cake but you can of course skip the sprinkles and enjoy the recipe by itself. The recipe is down below but you can also find it here.
Easier Than You Think
I think that this recipe looks more intimidating than it is. I have so much faith in all of you to create this on your own. I hope that this guide helps answer your questions or concerns and that you go into this recipe with excitement and confidence. You better HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT TOO.
Storing Your Designed Sheet Cake
This sheet cake has no outer layer of frosting to keep the designed sheet cake from drying out, so it’s undoubtably best served fresh. If you’re making this ahead of time be sure to wrap the cake in plastic wrap to give it that outer layer & store in the fridge.Yum