This is the homemade version of the sheet cakes that are so popular in supermarket bakeries and purchased for kid’s parties and office events. This single-layer 13-inch × 9-inch sheet-style sheet cake can be made in your flavor of choice, covered with vanilla buttercream and decorated with a garden of roses (many birthday cakes of my childhood were topped with buttercream roses—and there was some fierce competition for those flowers!). Tint the buttercream any color you like for the petals. You will need a large, flat platter for this cake. If you do not have one, use a 15-inch × 11-inch foil-covered cake base, which can be found at cake-decorating and craft stores. Refer to How to Make Buttercream Roses and Basic Frosting Decorations for further decorating instructions.
Adapted from The Birthday Cake Book: 75 Recipes for Candle-Worthy Creations (Harvard Common Press, 2008) by Dédé Wilson. Photo by Melissa Punch.
- 1 recipe batter for Yellow Cake, Easy Chocolate Cake or Easy White Cake
- 1 batch Italian Meringue Buttercream, Vanilla Variation, soft and ready to use
- Gel coloring for roses and leaves (I used Wilton Burgundy and Moss Green)
- Pastry bag and coupler
- Ateco or Wilton tips #2, #8, #12, #21, #67, #101, and #104
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Coat the inside of a 13-inch × 9-inch × 2-inch cake pan with nonstick cooking spray, line the bottom with a parchment rectangle, then spray the parchment.
- Prepare the batter of choice, scrape into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the cake shows a few moist crumbs when removed (timing will depend on the flavor selected; begin to test the cake at 20 to 25 minutes). Cool the pan on a wire rack until the cake is cool to the touch. Unmold onto a platter or a foil-covered cake base and peel off the parchment. Cool completely. The cake is ready to frost. Alternatively, double-wrap in plastic wrap; store at room temperature if assembling within 24 hours.
- Smoothly frost the top and sides of the cake with vanilla buttercream. A small offset spatula is helpful in making the corners neat and smooth. Pipe a shell border on the top and bottom edges using tip #21.
- Tint a larger quantity of the remaining frosting the color you want for the roses and tint a smaller amount green for leaves. The placement of the roses is up to you. Place the roses first, then the leaves (tip #67) and tendrils (tip #2) here and there if you like. Flower buds can be piped with tip #101 directly on the cake. The cake may be served immediately, or refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving.