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Discussion Forum

Topic: 12x18 in sheet pan
jenniferagarner 06/09/2008 8:21 AM
Hey guys, what is the best way to evenly bake a cake in a 12x18 in sheet pan? Should I use 2 bake even strips to put around it? Or 3? Should I put some flower nails in it? I keep seeing people talk about using flower nails to help bake your cake even, but how does it work? Do you put them with the head of the nail down or before you put your batter in or what? Also, does anyone know how much box mix they use for this? It says 14 cups... which would be a little over 3 boxes of mix, but I don't want to waste any batter. It would just be something I make for fun for my family so it doesn't need to be a certain size or anything..... wow, I'm rambling...
Tracey1970 06/10/2008 9:02 AM
For a cake that size, I'd use as many bake even strips as it takes to get around the cake. I would also use at least three flower nails. You grease those as you would grease the pan, place them in the pan flat side down (nail part sticking up), and pour batter in around them. They do shift a bit, but you can always adjust them once the batter's in the pan and before putting the pan in the oven. A standard, undoctored cake mix usually makes between 4.5 and 5.5. cups of batter, depending on the brand. You could use a little less than three maybe, but without much left over - I'd make three myself.
pudge 06/18/2008 3:25 PM
I made that size several weeks ago and used 1 flower nail (head down) in the centre of the pan - no bake even strips. The cake came out beautifully. Beforehand I prepared both the pan and flower nail with "scratch" pan dressing. It works like a charm and is so easy to make. Set your oven at 325 for best results (i.e. even baking/no crowning) and after your cake is baked let it cool for 10 minutes only - then turn it out to finish cooling. This is a method that yields consistently good results for me.

jenniferagarner 06/20/2008 11:15 AM
i attempted to make a cake using a flower nail in the center of the pan. when i went to invert the cake to cool after letting it sit for 10-15 minutes in the pan it fell apart in the middle where the nail was. am i doing something wrong?
Ayanami 06/23/2008 8:24 AM
I make this size cake all the time. (it is my most used cake pan) I use 3 box cake mixes if I am going to be carving the cake (I carve cakes into animal shapes & such) or, if I am going to be using it as just a sheet cake, then I use 4 cake mixes. It looks scary when it's baking (like it's going to overflow all over your oven) with 4 mixes in there, but this will give you a perfect, "full" 2" height on you cake.

Coat your pan thoroughly with cake release (wilton or homemade) Do not use the Spray Pam for Baking. This will not perform well on a cake of this size. Make sure your BES are soaking wet when you wrap them around the cake. Use safety pins to pre-hook multiples together if you have to. Make sure the BES is very, very snug around the cake pan & then use a binder clip to hold it all together. (binder clips are the best thing to keep BES tight on the pan)

I let my cakes cool for about an hour in the pan to reduce the risk of hot cake parts falling apart. Then I let them cool over night before decorating. (I work 6 ways a week, so I can only do cake stuff after hours)
mamajaejae 06/23/2008 8:31 AM
I use this size pan a lot.
It takes 3 cake mixes....sometimes I marble the cake....example: 2 French vanilla cake mixes and 1 orange cake mix (or chocolate or any other flavor).
I use the easy bake strips all around the pan.
I bake it at 350 degrees but watch it after 30 minutes...checking every few minutes.
I had the same problem with the flower nail as you did so I just don't use it. My cakes have come out fine...evenly baked with no dome at all on them.
Hope this helps.
Jeanne G 06/23/2008 8:55 AM
Jenniferagarner, how do you turn your cakes out? The safest way is to place the cooling rack, feet-pointing-up. on top of the cake pan. The nail will easily poke through a space in the grid. Turn cake and rack together. The cake has only a fraction of an inch to fall, minimizing the risk of cracks. When you remove the pan it is easy to remove the nail.

Did your cake have a dome?

Did it crack as it came out of the pan, or after it was sitting on the rack a while?

I've never had a nail cause a crack.
Carpentergirl 06/24/2008 8:03 AM
Boy don't I feel like the odd ball here. lol Doesn't anyone use parchment anymore?? I use the pan grease recipe and then line the bottom only of the pan with the parchment paper. THen I never ever worry about the cake sticking to the pan. Also, I never use the bake even strips. When I pull the cake out of the oven, I smoosh the dome down with a clean hot pad until it is all even with the rim of the pan. No wasted trimming of the cake, and it is exactly 2 inches every time! Plus the cake is really moist and sturdy for carving as well....Just my two cents!
Jeanne G 06/24/2008 3:35 PM
No, Carpentergirl, you are not an oddball. We each do what works for us. If something isn't working then we like to see what other people do and try those methods out until we get something that does work.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. My cakes never stick, so using parchment for me would be fixing something that ain't broke. I do gazillions of cakes in shaped novelty pans. It is not possible to use parchment in them, so I've learned how to have cakes that don't stick without parchment. If it works in a Mickey Mouse pan it works in a sheet pan, too.

I use the press-down-on-the-dome method when the cake comes out of the oven if there is a slight dome. The larger the dome the more you have to compress the cake and the bigger the change is to the density of the cake in that spot. I don't like the results with large domes.

Different recipes and different mixes rise differently. I suspect that the same batter may even rise differently in different ovens. If you can get by without bake-even strips or flower nails, more power to you! For those of us who have some problems with unacceptable levels of doming those techniques are very helpful. I guess that we are all oddballs -- doing what we learn through trial-and-error what works for us.
jenniferagarner 06/29/2008 8:21 PM
Sorry it has taken me so long to respond. I actually did not think to put the cooling rack over the pan and flip it. That could be a major issue. Jeanne, when you do 4 mixes do you mix them all together, or do 2 at a time and pour them in? I am going to attempt to make an American flag cake for my family for Inedepence Day. Hopefully it comes out
Jeanne G 06/30/2008 8:01 AM
My mixer bowl handles 2 mixes very well, so I stick to that. It is really important that batter not sit around once the wet and dry ingredients are mixed, so I make sure everything is ready to go for the second batch before I start the first one. In fact, I've purchased a second bowl to make double-batching easier.