The only thing better than cake is more cake. And that’s a mindset pastry chefs and home bakers across the country are embracing with the slab cake.

Essentially a layered sheet cake, slab cakes have been appearing everywhere: at weddings, dinner parties, birthdays, and even family reunions.

In Brooklyn, baker Clio Goodman of ByClio Bakery makes swoopy, psychedelic cakes with bold colors and dramatic frosting, like this chocolate tahini and blackberry sheet cake she made for a recent customer birthday. Philadelphia-based Noelle Blizzard serves up retro-inspired sheet cakes through her micro bakery New June, adorning them with elaborate, frilly piping ranging from pretty pastels to attention-grabbing neon. Meanwhile, at Quarter Sheets Pizza in Los Angeles, star cake baker (and creator of this spectacular Princess Cake recipeHannah Ziskin is serving a weekly rotating slab cake often inspired by fruits and botanicals; past options have included strawberry-rose geranium-vanilla, passionfruit-bay leaf-olive oil, and yuzu-lime-ginger.  

Fellow Los Angeles baker Sasha Pilligan is creating vibrantly colored, flower-topped slab cakes of her own, like a recent matcha, milk chocolate, and whipped cream cheese cake for Easter that she topped with frosting squiggles and purple flowers. “Something I love about slab cake is that’s it’s endlessly adaptable and can be as much of a showstopper as a traditional circular cake,” says Sasha. “I really love a rectangular canvas to decorate — I can make it maximalist or use all the negative space and decorate minimally.”

“They are incredibly sturdy, stable, and easy to transport, which is why I love making them,” says baker and slab cake enthusiast Julia Gallay of Gallz Provisions. “Not to mention, they aren’t as intimidating to cut in a large party setting.” Julia notes that there’s a nostalgic element to these cakes, as well. “Growing up I would always have a sheet cake at my birthday parties. So I wanted to hone that nostalgia feeling I had growing up, but obviously in my own way.” 

For all of these reasons — sturdiness, decorating potential, nostalgia, and, well, because we can’t get enough cake — we were inspired to develop our new recipe for Raspberry and Honey Sheet Cake Layer Cake,  essentially a super-sized 13" x 18" two-layer cake that you can treat as both a centerpiece and a canvas. Make it when you need to feed a crowd — it serves four to five dozen people! 

Sliced raspberry honey sheet cake layer cake Photography by Rick Holbrook; food styling by Sheila Jarnes
Our new Raspberry and Honey Sheet Cake Layer Cake is designed for a crowd.

Here's what you need to know to make your own layered sheet cake

The basic building blocks of a sheet pan layer cake are the same as any other: cake, filling, and frosting. And technically the process is also the same: stack, fill, and frost. But Senior Recipe Developer Molly Marzalek-Kelly, who developed this recipe, knows this giant cake can look daunting, and she stresses that if you’ve made a round layer cake before, you can make this. (In fact, you can do so without some of the specialty tools necessary for decorating round layer cakes, like a turntable or cake rings.) Molly developed this recipe to be as approachable as possible, and here are her key tips to ensure slab cake success.

Prep ahead

Like most layer cakes, it’s easiest to prepare your cakes, frosting, and fillings on one day, then assemble and decorate the next. It cuts down on stress, ensures the cakes have cooled properly (making them easier to move, especially important with such large layers, and to frost), and gives you time to prepare a large, clean work surface and gather the necessary tools to decorate. If you want to really get ahead, the cakes can be made and frozen for up to a month in advance, while the frosting can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to one week or frozen for up to two months.

A half-sheet pan sized layer of hot milk cake Photography by Rick Holbrook; food styling by Sheila Jarnes
Each cake layer is baked in a half-sheet pan.

Bake your cakes in batches

Since you need so much batter for this large-format cake, this recipe calls for two batches of Hot Milk Cake. Instead of doubling the batch, Molly recommends making two batches of batter and baking the cakes one at a time for the most consistent results.

The cakes are baked in a half-sheet pan

We’re all about more cake, remember? Baked in a half-sheet pan (which makes them easy to line with sheets of parchment paper, so removing the cakes from the pan is a breeze), each of these cake layers are a whopping 13" x 18". The layers will also be thin and flat enough that you don’t need to worry about leveling them before stacking.

That said, it’s OK if the cakes are a little wonky

The cakes will be mostly level, but they may not bake up exactly flat. And when you flip the cake out of the half-sheet pan, a corner may break off, or the cake may split in half. But seriously, don’t worry. Once you stack and frost, the cake will even out. And just stick any broken bits together when you assemble the cake; no one will be able to tell, we promise.

Sheet cake layer cake, with one half of top layer of cake placed over filling Photography by Rick Holbrook; food styling by Sheila Jarnes
Cut your cake to make assembly easier.
For easy assembly, cut (or freeze) your cakes

The one downside to such large layers? They’re hard to wrangle. To make building your cake easier, cut the second layer in half so it can easily be stacked and centered while building the cake. (Told you it was OK if the layers broke in half.) Or, instead of cutting the cake layers, you can freeze them. After freezing, they’ll be stiff and sturdy enough to stack without having to cut them. Just make sure to give them enough time to defrost before serving!

Stacked, unfrosted sheet cake layer cake Photography by Rick Holbrook; food styling by Sheila Jarnes
Ready to frost!

Customize your own sheet cake with (almost) any recipe

Molly’s recipe makes a yellow cake that’s filled with a fruity raspberry filling and frosted with honey-flavored buttercream; it’s perfect for spring and summer celebrations. But you don’t need to stick to just these flavors. You can apply this basic formula to any cake, filling, and frosting recipes to customize your own creation. Here’s the equation, plus some recipe suggestions to get you started:

2 half-sheet pans of cake + 4 to 4 1/2 cups of filling + 7 to 9 cups of frosting = the cake of your dreams


Note: Cakes may bake more quickly than the time listed in the recipe because they’re thinner in a half-sheet pan; start checking for doneness 5 to 10 minutes early.



Brush up on your cake skills with our everything guide on How to Bake Cake.

Cover photo by Rick Holbrook; food styling by Sheila Jarnes.

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Raspberry and Honey Sheet Cake Layer Cake
Raspberry and Honey Sheet Cake Layer Cake
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 Reviews
1 hr 20 mins
one 13" x 18" layer cake
Filed Under: Tips and Techniques
Rossi crimping pie crust
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About Rossi Anastopoulo

Rossi Anastopoulo grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, which is how she fell in love with biscuits. She didn’t have any bakers in her household (with the exception of her grandmother’s perfect koulourakia), so she learned at a young age that the best way to satisfy her sweet tooth was to make dess...
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