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Birthday Sheet Cake


I have been a cake baking fiend lately.  In addition to my Perfect Party Cake [2], and my Cinnamon Blueberry Cakes [3], I now present: a birthday sheet cake.  About a month ago, a friend had a monumentally important birthday coming up, and I volunteered to make the cake.

And what a cake it would turn out to be.  Knowing that my circular cake pans wouldn’t make a big enough cake for his party, I opted to bake it in one of my larger baking pans, a 9″ by 13″ pan with 2″ tall sides.  I was incredibly lucky, I think, because I sort of made up the ingredient measurements as I went along, and (miraculously) the amount of batter I created fit the pan perfectly.

Let me explain what I did to (humbly) improve the other cake recipes I’ve posted here.  First of all, many recipes call for lots of egg whites in the cake, and even more egg whites in the frosting.  I love creme anglaise and homemade mayonnaise as much as anyone, but there is no way I will use up six or eight egg yolks before they spoil (and they always turn gross when I try to freeze them).  So I made yellow cake — extra egg yolks in the cake batter, egg whites saved for the meringue buttercream frosting.

I also wanted a sweet, sweet, sweet frosting, so I increased the amount of sugar pretty significantly.  My one problem with using sweetened whipped cream as a frosting, like I did in the blueberry cakes, is that I can never get it sweet enough — this one is tooth-aching, in a good way.

Maybe my friends were a little tipsy by the time we cut into it, maybe the appeal of a homemade cake just overwhelmed them, or maybe I really did a great job.  Either way, this cake got rave reviews, and I definitely recommend it!


Birthday Sheet Cake

For the cake:
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 stick of butter, softened
1/4 tsp of salt
1/4 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup water
3 large egg yolks
1 whole egg
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

For the Buttercream:
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 large egg whites
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Food coloring

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, beat together butter sugar, salt, cream, water, egg yolks and one whole egg until smooth.  Add 1 cup of flour and baking powder, beat until combined.  Add remaining 1 1/4 cups of flour, beat until combined.
3. Pour batter into a baking sheet or cake tin and bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out smooth.  Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting.
4. For the frosting, heat the egg whites and sugar on a double boiler and beat until hot and tripled in volume.  Remove from heat and beat in the vanilla and butter slowly, one or two tablespoons at a time.  Once the butter is fully incorporated, refrigerate for about 30 minutes,
5. Beat the cooled icing again, adding food coloring for your desired color.  You can separate the frosting into several bowls to mix different colors.
6. To frost the cake, spread the buttercream over the sides and top of the cake.  Use two coats — one light bottom coat which will inevitably be full of crumbs, and another, smooth top coat that’s entirely buttercream.
7.  Use a pastry bag to pipe any decorations onto the top of the cake.  Serve!

Serves about 18-20.