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Cakes Sizes… “What size pan is a half sheet???”

What Size Pan???
pans squareThis has got to be one of the most argued/debated/heated discussions I’ve heard decorators get into about cakes.  You may agree with what I have to say or not, and I’m okay with knowing that there are some of you out there who will say “oh, she’s wrong!”… and I will just be quiet about knowing that I’m not! (just kidding 🙂
The most important goal of this discussion… after reading this, whatever pan size you chose to use…. STICK WITH IT!!!  The worst thing you can do is get your customer base expecting one thing and changing mid-stream without telling them.

I believe the best piece of advice you could take away from this little ‘blurb’ – ask your customers how many people they need to serve rather than just taking an order for “a _____ size sheet cake” and having them upset that they have way too much or not enough cake.

What sizes I use:
1/4 sheet – 7×11 – 1 mix
        1/3 sheet – 9×13 – 1 1/2 mix
1/2 sheet – 10×15 (or 11×15) – 2 mix
2/3 sheet – 12×18 – 3 mix
full sheet – 22×15 – 4 mix
Why I use these sizes:
“Back in the day” when bakeries used to actively use the tin foil disposable pans, the full sheet pan held 4 mixes.  (*Yes, I know this for fact after helping with a fund raiser at my kids elementary school years ago and they used said pans…)

So, here’s where the whole debate came into play… those pans are 24×18 (I used to sell them in my store and literally measured one so no one can email me and say I’m giving false information! 🙂  So, why not make a full sheet cake that same size???  It’s simple… those disposable pans are not two inches deep, they are closer to 1 1/4″ deep so while the actual size may be the same, the depth is not.  In essence… when giving a customer a two inch tall 12×18 for a half sheet, or two 12×18’s for the full sheet, you are giving them 50% more cake than they used to get.

My next “point of argument”… I have yet to see a “full sheet box” from any manufacturer that is large enough to hold those two 12×18 cakes that some people insist are a full sheet.  I’m not saying it’s not out there somewhere – just that the four different companies I order boxes from don’t have such a thing. If that was really what a full sheet was supposed to be, there would be 22×28 boxes readily available – at least in my ever so humble opinion. 🙂

(This is a single 12×18 sheet, with just a few random cuts stacking
the cutaway pieces ‘here and there’ to create hills…)
DCF 1.0
Again, at the end of the day… use what size pan you want to use – just remember these two things:
   – make sure you are providing the number of servings your customer needs!
   – stick with decided size for your ____ (half, qtr, etc…) cake to avoid confusion with your customers.
Also… even if you use a 12×18 as a half sheet – this doesn’t mean you can’t still sell an 11×15 cake if your customer only needs 30 servings (just say something like “my half sheet is quite a bit more cake than you need, but I have a smaller pan that would be perfect.”)
Happy baking!
Di 🙂
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  1. Sheila on May 24, 2016 at 11:04 pm

    So how many people will the 2″ tall 12×18 half sheet serve? Because Cortho claims their full sheet serves 76.

    • diane on May 25, 2016 at 4:16 pm

      If you use standard serving size of 2″x2″, then you get 54 servings from a 12×18 pan. If you do larger “party size” servings (3″x3″), then you would get 24 servings from that pan size.

      Hope that helps!
      Diane 🙂

  2. Lisa on May 24, 2018 at 9:04 am

    Where do you get the pans shown above?

  3. Karen on January 27, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    Sometimes I get so confused about sheet cakes. I use a 2″ deep cake pans and when they order a cake they are thinking of the cakes you get in the store that are 1″ deep. I like to give them enough cake and their moneys worth. But them they complain there is too much cake. So what would you suggest? Another thing did you ever bake two 1″ cakes and layer them instead of baking a 2″ and cutting it in half?

    • diane on February 5, 2019 at 6:12 pm

      This is exactly why there is such confusion about what sizes are needed. It’s always best to ask the customer how many they need to feed and advise them toward a good size based on that.

      I always bake in 2″ pans, and cut the cake in half if needed.

      Diane 🙂

  4. Karen McDonald on January 27, 2019 at 12:14 pm

    The 7″x11″ will feed how many?

    • diane on February 5, 2019 at 6:10 pm

      Hi Karen,
      The 7×11 will feed up to 15 (if you cut 2″x2″ pieces, you will get 15) The larger the pieces are cut, the fewer it will serve.

      Diane 🙂

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