Sheet cakes may be served as a single layer. They may be split horizontally and filled (calling torting) for two layers, or two cakes may be baked and stacked with a filling between them. (Stacking is not generally done with cakes 3" high.) Which approach you take depends on the look you are aiming for and the number of servings you need.
This link will take you to a Wilton Chart that lists info for all pan shapes and sizes.
If you layer sheet pan size its important to dowel well, use 2 cake boards between layers and if possible use a recipe with a firmer texture.
Whether layering or stacking, it is very important, as you point out, that the cake board can support the weight of the cake(s) on it without bending.
First, I have a 1/2" to 3/4" (?) thick piece of plywood for the cake board. I believe I got it cut approximately 14x20 (or just shy of that). I wanted to make sure it would fit into Wilton's BIG cake box! I cover it in wrapping paper then food-safe cellophane (the kind that you cover gift baskets with).
Second, I always use DUNCAN HINES cake mixes & I've gone onto their website & use their chart for mixing their cake mixes for this size of cakes (measurements slightly differ perhaps for better baking process). For 2 layers, I've always used 5 cake mixes total. Even after leveling I have PLENTY of scrap left over! I use TWO inverted flower nails spaced evenly apart & spray everything with the cooking spray that comes with flour already in it. I cook at 325 or SLIGHTLY under & I just keep my eye on it so I don't know how long I bake them for.
I let them sit for the 10 minutes before removing them from the pans after baking. Then I cover the cake with parchment, lay my largest cutting board on top & invert the pan & cutting board together at the same time. The cake comes out with NO problems. I do the same process to then invert the cake onto the cooling rack.
I level the layers after they cool. I set one layer onto the prepared plywood & apply the filling. Then I set the 2nd layer atop. I use simple grease-resistant cake cardboards well-dusted with powdered sugar to help move & stack the layers (I SLIDE them). I have never had any layer break. My first attempt yielded a slight crack across the middle before I got my method down.
As far as how much icing, it's hard to say. Check the wilton guide on that & make more. It's ALWAYS better to have too much than not enough!!
I typically use this size cake for 50 people. Around this area, you can hardly have too much cake!
Overall, to answer your question about this being too big as a 2-layer, I would feel weird making this cake as a single layer. Of course, perhaps again, that could be the area I live in...
I wish I had a better picture to share, but I'm not on my home computer so I had to use whatever I had on my phone. It's of the latest 12x18 2-layer I did. Yes, it DOES make a HEAVY cake to transport! LOL! This was a cake I did for my grandma's church's ladies' banquet. *Ok, I have to admit here that the eagle on the cake was done in all buttercream. I did each "feather" with a leaf tip. It was challenging but FUN! I actually got applauded by the church ladies for the cake! (wow)
I hope my LONG & detailed reply answers at least most of your questions!
Best wishes & have fun with it!
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The directions with the pan called for 14 cups of batter for a 2" high cake. I used Duncan Hines mix. I put 2 flower nails in the pan and used bake even strips. It raised right up to the top.
I torted it and filled it with chocolate mousse and fresh strawberries and wound up with a 3" high cake.
I was pleased with the outcome. Does anyone know how many servings this would feed
in "real life". The person I made this for was having approx. 50 people. I hope it was big enough.
Usually I'm making the large cakes to serve at church functions, so I want them to be easy to serve. And I want it to go far. So I normally make them just one layer. Although I thought about torting them, but I'm usually too lazy to mess with it!
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