This fluffy, versatile layered sheet cake can be easily turned into a spectacular dessert by filling it with Chantilly cream and fresh fruits. It’s a cake for any and every occasion, from birthdays to just-because.
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I hesitated for a long time before I decided to share this recipe. It’s such an easy cake, I wondered if people really need another sheet cake recipe. But it’s my go-to sheet cake recipe, and I figured I must not be the only one who went several years without a go-to recipe.
After jumping from one recipe to the next, I finally perfected my own sponge cake recipe when I wrote my first e-book, Sweet Spot. I wanted to create an easy and versatile cake base I’d be able to use for any and every occasion, from birthdays to just-because. For my e-book, I tested and perfected many variations, from flavors, such as vanilla, chocolate, and coffee, to form, such as layered cakes, jelly roll cakes, and cupcakes. This cake base could do everything, so I knew I had a winner on my hands.
I soon figured out I could use that same cake base to make a huge layered cake in a flash. By baking the cake mixture in a baking sheet, the way I did for making a rolled cake, I’d be able to slice it in half, then whip up an easy filling and stack the two pieces on top of one another to create a delicious and impressive, yet supremely easy, cake. Add in fresh, seasonal fruits, and you’ve got a dessert sure to please everyone.
To make this Layered Sheet Cake, I updated my original sponge cake base recipe to give it more volume. When making a rolled cake, you want the cake to be thin enough to roll well and hold its shape. But when I turned the recipe into a layered sheet cake, I thought the dessert would benefit from a more impressive height. To create this height, I separate the eggs and whip the egg whites separately, then fold them into the cake batter at the very end. This produces a fabulously airy cake that looks festive when assembled and is also easy to slice.
Helpful Tips for Making Layered Sheet Cake
Use the right type of baking sheet: This recipe is made for a standard half-sheet pan, which measures 13 x 18 inches (33 x 46 cm). My preference is to use commercial-type aluminum baking sheets as opposed to nonstick ones because baking sheets that are lighter in color allow cakes to bake more evenly and prevent excessive browning. The baking sheet should be 1 inch (2.5 cm) deep to allow the cake to rise properly.
Don’t skimp on parchment paper: Greasing and lining your baking sheet with parchment paper will ensure you’ll be able to unmold the cake in a snap. Save yourself the frustration from a cake that remains stuck in its pan!
Play with berries—and with other fruits, too: This Layered Sheet Cake is equally delicious made with raspberries, as photographed, strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries. I’d also swap in juicy and ripe stone fruits such as apricots and peaches in a heartbeat. See the recipe below for substitution tips.
Be creative with your garnishes: I like to add some rose water to crushed raspberries and garnish the layered sheet cake with rose petals. Switch it up to create a delicious pairing with the fruit you choose to use. Here are some ideas to get you started:
This fluffy, versatile layered sheet cake can be easily turned into a spectacular dessert by filling it with Chantilly cream and fresh fruits. It's a cake for any and every occasion, from birthdays to just-because.
In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt, then whisk to mix the dry ingredients together. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, if using a handheld mixer), beat the egg yolks and sugar together until the mixture is pale and fluffy and falls from the beater in ribbons, 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl, then add the milk and vanilla and whisk to incorporate. Add the dry ingredients and fold with a spatula to incorporate.
In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Transfer the beaten egg whites to the bowl with the cake mixture, then gently fold to incorporate.
Pour the batter into the prepared baking sheet and even out the using a spatula. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center each cake comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature.
While the cake cools, prepare the Chantilly cream filling: Pour the heavy cream in a large mixing bowl, then add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Beat until soft peaks form, about 3 to 5 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
Unmold the cake: slide a sharp knife all around the edge of the pan, then use a spatula to help you lift the cake out of the pan. Invert to a large cutting board. Using a serrated knife, slice off the uneven edges of the cake (these make a great snack!), then slice the cake in two to create two even rectangles (each rectangle should measure about 12 x 8 inches / 30 x 20 cm).
Prepare the fruit filling: Measure out half of the fruits (keep the remaining half to use as topping). If using berries, transfer to a shallow bowl and roughly mash the fruits with a fork so they break down a bit and release some of their juices. Mix in the sugar and flavoring of your choice. If using stone fruits, dice the sliced fruits, then transfer to a shallow bowl and roughly mash the fruits with a fork so they break down a bit and release some of their juices. Mix in the sugar and flavoring of your choice. (It’s best to prepare the fruits right before assembling the cake because they will keep on releasing juices upon sitting.)
To assemble the cake: Set one of the cake rectangles on a large serving plate, a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, or a cutting board. Cover with half of the Chantilly cream, then spoon the mashed fruit filling over the cream. Cover with the second cake rectangle. Slather on the remaining Chantilly cream, then top with the reserved fresh fruit and garnish of your choice.
Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to two hours before serving. This cake is best enjoyed the day it is made.
Tell me how you liked it! Leave a comment or take a picture and tag it with @foodnouveau on Instagram.
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