Birthday Sheet Cake

Total Time:
45 min
15 min
30 min

1 (12x18-inch) cake

  • For the cake:
  • 18 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces (about 1 cup) sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • For the frosting:
  • 24 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Chocolate candies for decorating (recommended: M&M's)
Watch how to make this recipe.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 12 by 18 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan.

To make the cake, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. On medium speed, add the eggs, 2 at a time, then the sour cream, vanilla, and lemon zest, scraping down the bowl as needed. Mix well. Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir just until smooth. Finish mixing by hand to be sure the batter is well mixed. Pour evenly into the pan, smooth the top with a spatula, and bake in the center of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan to room temperature.

For the frosting, place the chocolate chips and heavy cream in a bowl set over a pot of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chips are completely melted. Off the heat, add the corn syrup and vanilla and allow the chocolate mixture to cool to room temperature. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the chocolate mixture and softened butter on medium speed for a few minutes, until it's thickened.

Spread the frosting evenly on the cake. Have the children decorate the cake with chocolate candies.

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3.6 107
I used orange zest instead of the lemon zest....anytime there is chocolate involved, I prefer a hint of orange and I always add a small amount of instant coffee to enhance the chocolate flavor. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Made the birthday cake following all the steps and the frosting as well-baked it for 25 minutes and the cake was dry when cut?? What happened?  I will try it again and underbake it --20 minutes! Never had this happen before! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I was a bit nervous about making this cake after reading some of comments. I followed recipe using 2tsp of zest from one lemon. Cake is a bit dense, lemon was not overpowering. I had about 1/4cup batter left in bowl and cake did not overflow while baking. I baked the cake for about 23min, rotating pan halfway through. My sheet pan measures 13x18x1. Frosting is yummy! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I thick the recipe looks good but i don't know what it taste like i know i should try it. item not reviewed by moderator and published
The cake itself was dry. If it were moist, the flavor would be good. Followed the direction of others by putting 3/4 the amount of baking soda. Frosting is divine. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Oh how the kids love this. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Flop. I followed the recipe exactly, and have a mess in my oven and smoke in my house. It didn't overflow a little, it overflowed a lot. And what's left in the pan is not salvageable - some over-cooked and some raw -- what a waste of ingredients and time. (So I didn't even proceed to the frosting part) item not reviewed by moderator and published
I really like this cake, especially for medium to bigger crowds. It can be a little dry if you don't watch it during the baking process. I actually found that by adding 1/2 cup of cream to the liquids, it made for a moister, richer cake. Plus I baked it until JUST done - where a cake tester in the middle mostly came out clean. This helped with the dryness and made for a really nice birthday cake. My new go-to. :-) item not reviewed by moderator and published
DO NOT MAKE THIS CAKE. While not an absolutely horrible cake, this is in no way a birthday cake (way too dense. Although some actually gave this a good review, please spare the time and expense and choose a different recipe. This is not worth the trouble. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have to say it is the BEST cake recipe I have made. Since this was a cake that needed to feed the masses, I doubled the batter, divided it in half and kept one part vanilla and added coco powder to the other half. It mixed beautifully, baked perfectly, was a nice and thick batter, and tastes great! Now, I am not a novice baker and have some training in culinary and I think that the people who had problems need to revisit it and take their time. I also think that if it didn't turn out right, make sure you know how to properly do each step. Creaming the sugar and butter together is so important. It needs to be creamed until it is a pale yellow and fluffy and airy. Don't over mix (same goes when you add in the flour mix but make sure the consistency is correct and you should have no problems. DON'T LET THE NEGATIVE REVIEWS DETER YOU FROM THE RECIPE BECAUSE IT SO VERY WORTH YOUR TIME AND EFFORT! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I saw this recipe on air yesterday for the Pooch Party. Definitely mixed reviews. :-/ I decided to divide the recipe in half, and actually make cupcakes. It yielded about 26 of them. I actually put the oven on convect, and baked them ( while keeping an eye on them because I was straying from Ina's direction for 17 - 18 minutes. They came out perfectly light golden brown, and yummy. Mind you, I actually tasted the batter before I baked them, being as there are quite a few reviews saying that they just "threw it out." The frosting came out just right too! Thank you Ina, for another recipe to add to my "Barefoot" arsenal of recipes! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is my go to yellow cake, AND my go to chocolate frosting. I've made the batter, without changes, but have used as cupcakes, layer cakes etc. Always turns out moist, and light. The Frosting is really my favorite. I had been searching for good chocolate frosting that wasn't buttercream. For others who don't like to use corn syrup, I have successfully used brown rice syrup that I found at Whole Foods. I have also made this recipe using white chocolate chips with great result as well, although its a little odd colored if you use brown rice syrup with the white chips... I recommend using corn syrup in that one! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Dry. Crunchy in the corners. Afraid it was because of my gas oven, but everyone else has complained of same things. Used an 11x17 pan. Everything worked out perfectly. No overflow in the oven. Cooked in 25 minutes. Let frosting cool at room temp for an hour before mixing in butter. Icing is not very sweet - but just right for my taste buds. Lemon and chocolate flavors clashed. Testing this for upcoming birthday party. Birthday boy loved it - but he's 6 and he loves cake. Will NOT make this again. Next, trying the old fashioned chocolate sheet cake from my friend's grandmother. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This time I made Beaty's chocolate cake from Ina instead of making the yellow cake. The frosting was out of this world! It was the perfect texture and consistency was perfect.Once I put it on the cake and let it chill in the fridge it was just right I will absolutly be making this again! item not reviewed by moderator and published
If there was zero stars... I would have given it that. This cake was terrible. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have been seeking a good yellow cake recipe for sometime now. This one is it. Ina, God bless you for this wonderful recipe. It will be the primary use for all my sheet cakes now. This recipe is simple and finished product is delicious. The cake is moist, delicate and has much flavor. I did alter the recipe a little, but overall it's great. Thanks Ina. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Totally disappointed with this recipe especially since it's Ina's. Won't be using it again! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This cake is dense and delicious. item not reviewed by moderator and published
My husband thought this great was very good and rich. I thought it was fine because it tasted a bit like baking soda. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This cake turned out great!!! I baked two batches to make two layers of a 12" square cake (it formed the bottom tier of my daughter's birthday cake. It was the perfect texture to ice and decorate and everybody loved it! I think I found my new go-to yellow cake recipe! (I used a different recipe for a vanilla buttercream though item not reviewed by moderator and published
This cake was a real disappointment for me! This was the first "Ina" recipe that was NOT good. The cake was heavy and eggy tasting and I will not use the recipe again. Sorry, Ina! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I just made this today for my son's birthday party. It was enormous!! It would feed at least 25 to 30 children. Anyway, it was very easy to make, moist and the icing is soft and very tasty. I think next time I would probably make a different recipe though...I have tasted better sheet cakes; not sure why that is but I just felt it was lacking flavor somewhere. But hey, these are kids and they loved it! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is a great cake It's moist and flavorful. I made two batches, for a large layer cake for my son's 1st birthday, and cut it into the shape of the number 1. I lined the pan with parchment, and they came out perfectly. Only used the zest of one lemon for both batches, I divided it equally. I also used just shy of 1 tsp baking soda. I didn't use the frosting recipe, instead I used a Martha Stewart fluffy chocolate buttercream recipe. I am guessing those who said the cake was dry may have baked it too long, I baked it 25 minutes. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have made this cake just as I saw on Barefoot Contessa, and yes, it is absolutely lovely! Tender and moist, and the chocolate icing is very yummy. It is definitely a cake to make for a childs birthday party covered with cookies and candy, or for an adult birthday covered in strawberries. Try'll be glad you did! item not reviewed by moderator and published
dry...horrible item not reviewed by moderator and published
I didn't make the cake as it doesn't really interested me but I did make the frosting and I loved it. I used it for a fudgie chocolate cake that I wanted to be OTT in chocolate flavor and this frosting delivered that. I used a Cadbury's plain chocolate bar instead of chips and golden syrup instead of Karo syrup because I live in England where that is the closest match. It was rich, shiny and smooth. I loved the super glossiness of it and it made my cake look and taste really decadent. For those who find their frosting is way to runny... whip the chocolate mixture with an electric mixer to cool it down fast, add the butter and mix it in thoroughly then put the whole bowl of frosting in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. Use the electric mixer again to whip it till thick and creamy. Chilling the fat in the frosting makes it thicken up nicely and then whipping it makes it much creamier and firmer then trying to simply whip it at room temperature. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Seventiessmiley: If you used a 1/4 or 1/2 sheetpan, did you use a baking element? Look at Wilton if you didn't. It's a small cone that goes in the middle to bake the center without drying out the edges. I forgot to say, this recipe holds up to fondant pretty well, it's durable enough item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this cake TWICE and was very disappointed both times. Made it exactly like it said and the cake sunk in the middle. The middle was too moist and dense while the outside edges were hard. The cake did have a very good flavor (I liked the lemon), but everything else about it was a flop. The icing was too runny also. I love chocolate icing but not with this cake. The flavors clashed. I ate a piece and the rest went in the trash. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I am not sure why all the negative reviews, I tried this recipe out and it was fantastic!! I would say make sure to use EXACTLY the ingredients Ina says to use, and make sure your flour is fresh; I have found that makes all the difference. Also, because I had read the reviews before I tried this recipe, I made sure to pay extra attention to how much I mixed the batter, at what speed as well as how to add in the ingredients. I know a lot of the negatives stated the followed the recipe to a T or "tea" but I think as long as you are really careful, this is a great cake. I made it for a dinner party (very casual obviously) and it was a hit! One note about the frosting, I kind of improvised because it seemed a little runny. I think I did not let the chocolate cool enough before I added the butter which was my fault, not the recipe, so I added powdered sugar until it had the consistency I wanted and it was great. item not reviewed by moderator and published
The recipe looked so good on TV, although they didn't really show a good closeup since it was on the beach. I followed the recipe to a T and it was not good at all. The cake was so dry and very lemon-flavored, which didn't go well with the chocolate topping. The toppied dried fairly hard and was easily just peeled off the pieces, rather hard to cut well. I ate one piece and my husband ate one bite. Just not good for so much work and so many ingredients. One positive, it fits in the reoommended pan perfectly. I'm taking all the leftovers to work...they eat anything. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Mmmm, looks so good I wanna get up and make this right now. But my comment is that the first thing I thought after looking at the picture and reading the size pan, was that it looks more like an 18 x 24 x 1 1/2 inch pan to me. I'd try that to avoid the spills in the oven. Just a thought! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Like Ina herself, her recipes are straight forward, and unassuming while being uniquely wonderful. This cake is great, and the lemon and chocolate are genius together. It's fresh and subtle not at all overpowering. People who are getting bad results should check all their ingredients for freshness,kitchen equipment(including ovensand their own technique. Also they should save the passive aggressive whininess for their poor friends and family who have to put up with their awful attitudes. A critique of ANY recipe should be constructive, &instructive, we don't need to know you're going to Costco because you're afraid to try something new, or because you let others opinion guide your choices. Get a life, negative unhappy reviewers. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I loved this cake. I did not put the lemon zest in because I didn't want it, so this was a moist and tasty yellow cake with rich and delicious chocolate frosting. Perfect for a big party. Easy to make too. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was the worst birthday cake I every had in all my life. I did not like the lemon and vanilla flavors together for one thing. The texture was dry. My mother made this cake for me before she lost her eyesight. She was a ggggrrreeeaaattt cook she could have been a chef. It was a disappointing birthday because of that cake. I wouldn't even save any for my brother in law to try. I wouldn't even let the dogs try it. We threw it out and I never got a decent cake that year. The chocolate frosting was okay but it didn't go well with the lemon flavor either. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Ok, per the other recommendation, I used 3/4 tsp. instead of the full 1tsp. baking soda. And I didn't even add all the batter to the pan... STILL A BIG SMOKEY SPILL OUT:( This cake tastes perfect. Perfect Crumb. Perfect Flavor. Just too much for the pan. Next time, I'll add less batter and make a few cupcakes too. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I love the cake, but the icing was lacking something to me. So I added powdered sugar to make it a little sweeter. But everyone loved it. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I crossed all my "t's" and dotted all my "i's" for this cake and yet it was not good enough to eat. I didn't throw away this huge cake, my mom ended up dunking it in her coffee like donuts. I feel as if it was a waste of a lot of ingredients. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I followed the directions to the "T", baked according to directions in a brand new pan, but found the cake kind of dry. Otherwise, it had good flavor and texture. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this cake for my family, and everyone loved it. It's huge, but I have a big family and we didn't have any leftovers. I used milk chocolage chips in the icing, and I liked the added sweetness because this is a denser cake. Plus, I really love milk chocolate. Overall, I loved the cake and will make it again. item not reviewed by moderator and published
i made a pineapple cake out of this recipe & it was superhit .i added baking powder too.also added pineapple & almond essence & pineapple juice with chunks.i made 3 half sheet cakes for 70 people birthday was excellent,wonderful cake.thanks ina,u gave me a hit recipe, item not reviewed by moderator and published
I followed to a T Ina's frosting recipe and it tasted way to dark/rich. It looks like milk chocolate frosting in her pictures/video, but didn't come out that way. I was surprised the recipe didn't call for an egg yolk and/or powdered sugar. After I made the frosting, the consistency was not thick enough to spread on a cake and tasted too rich/dark, so I wound up adding a bit more cream and powdered sugar and then refrigerated the frosting for a while. It was better, but still not great. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this cake today and was thrilled with the results. I followed the instructions word for word and had a perfect result. I did have to buy a 12 X 18 jelly roll pan, and the new pan may have contributed to the success of the cake. The volume of batter fit into the pan perfectly, and it baked right up to the edge without spilling over. The frosting was delicious, and I decorated with 2 inch fancy cutout alphabet sugar cookies to spell happy bd. A perfect cake for a big casual family party. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I do not understand the mixed reviews on this recipe. I made this cake, and got an incredible response to it. It is awesome. I did use 3/4 of the baking soda. I had no spillage. Perfect size for the pan. It was moist, and the frosting was incredible. Strongly recommend that you try it yourself, before you considder the non-positive ratings. Ina, you did it again! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I just made this for a big family party. I followed the recipe exactly except for only using 3/4 tsp baking soda as per previous reviews and substituting orange zest for lemon (I prefer orange and chocolate to lemon and chocolate). It baked up beautifully, was a dream to frost. I used a different frosting recipe, because I have one with cream cheese, butter and cocoa powder that is insanely delicious and made for a delicious tangy contrast to the moist, buttery, orange flavored cake. It got rave reviews by all the guests, and I will certainly make it again anytime I need a cake to feed a crowd. I had over 30 people at the party, everyone ate cake and I still had leftovers. item not reviewed by moderator and published
the icing was delicious but i would like to try vanilla buttercream icing. anyone have a good rdceipe? item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this recipe this past weekend with a few tweaks as per some other posts. I used 3/4 tsp. baking soda and the zest of 1/2 lemon, baked two 9-inch round layers and 15 regular-size cupcakes. Baking time was 28-30 minutes. For the frosting I used 1/2 semi-sweet & 1/2 milk chocolate chips. The flavor was good but the consistency soft and I was worried about using it on a layer cake so I added 1/3 cup powdered sugar and chilled it for a while. It became like a soft fudge and easier to use on the cake layers. I also made a white buttercream and used that in between the layers and the chocolate on the outside. I liked the denseness of the cake (reminded me of pound cake almost). My family liked it. It's not the worst cake I've ever had but it wasn't the best either. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I'm a huge Ina fan!!! I love her!! And this cake she made on "pooch party" looked delicious. So I decided to make it for our Christmas Eve celebration. I followed the recipe to the T down to the pan size. Well it happened to me too that happened to a lot of others. It over-flowed and fell to the bottom of the oven burning the drips. And it was raw in some spots and over baked in others. So I tasted it and it tasted delicious!! So I've decided to re-do the cake and next time I won't put the entire batter into the sheet pan. I really don't have the time to re-do another cake because I have a brand new baby, but I'm the one bringing the dessert so I have no choice. Thanks for the recipe Ina. But I shouldn't of put the entire batter into the pan. Better luck next time :( item not reviewed by moderator and published
I've been looking for a good scratch sheet cake recipe and this one is excellent...made a few modifications: followed the recommendation to cut the soda to 3/4 tsp (which kept the cake in my 1 inch high sheet pan) , didn't have sour cream so I threw in 1/2 cup ricotta instead, used orange zest instead of lemon...came out great, I was surprised by how much orange taste it had...then I turned it into a jello cake using a large box of orange jello mixed with 2 cups of hot water that I poured over the cooled cake...topped it with vanilla buttercream icing and sprinkles...Will definitly make again...really moist and flavourful. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This cake was wonderful. I made it for my husband's birthday. Instead of making it in a sheet pan, I made it in three layers. It was dramatic and everyone thought it was delicious. I will make this cake again. Thanks Ina. I always enjoy Ina's show and her recipes. She's real and cooks recipes that are for real people. Sandra V., Hudson FL item not reviewed by moderator and published
I thought the cake had a nice taste but there was something missing from this and i couldn't believe how many eggs it took. It was ok but i doubt i cook it again item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is an easy, tasty recipe! I made it for when my nephews came over and everyone enjoyed the boys got to decorate it with m&m's! I read a lot of posts on this, and seriously people...get a clue. If you change crucial parts of the recipe for whatever reason, don't criticize it because it came out bad. And who makes a new recipe for an important event without trying it out first? I usually just read the comments and move on, but some of these low rating/comments were truly undeserved. You don't like chocolate, so you give it a low rating...hello people, it's a chocolate frosted cake. Sorry for the rant, just tired of stupid people lowing the recipe ratings. I almost didn't make this because it only got 3 starts...but after reading those lame reviews, and relying the people that actually followed the recipe, I gave it a try. Good thing I did. Good job on this one Ina! I'll definitely make it again! And thanks to all the honest posters that actually have clue. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this for my boyfriend's birthday. I followed the recipe exactly except that I halved it because it was just for the 2 of us. It was very easy and so so good! The cake had a nice taste and texture and the frosting was rich and delicious. My boyfriend loved it. He had seconds right away. I would definitely make this again. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I gotta admit, I was hesitant to make this recipe after reading such mixed reviews, but I decided I was gonna try it. After all, I watched Ina make it on TV and it looked marvelous. So I followed the recipe to a t, except I was a bit impatient on waiting for ingredients to come to room temp so I used them at whatever temp they were after sitting out for a few minutes. I lined the sheet pan after reading the lady's post who complained that it spilled in her oven. I reserved maybe a 1/2 cup of batter because my half sheet pan looked full and my daughter and I licked the bowl clean. The cake cooked up in 26 minutes exactly, didn't overflow (despite me lining my 2nd oven rack with foil just in case), is golden brown, smells like heaven, and I am waiting on it to cool now, but I already KNOW it tastes like it too. For the people it didn't turn out so great for all I can say is recipes vary by oven. If you know your oven and can adjust a recipe accordingly, it should come out just fine. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I'm not normally a cake person, but this cake is fantastic. Very moist and the lemon gives it a fresh taste. Chocolate frosting is divine. Don't shy away from trying it. It's a fun, casual and refreshing option for a birthday. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I think this deserves more than 3 stars. I too did it in a 9x13 pan and it came out very moist and a favorite to all those eating it. I was making a themed cake so I needed colored icing but I imagine the chocolate would be dynamite! No compliants at this birthday party, see my yummy cake at item not reviewed by moderator and published
People should really test a recipe before they make it for a special event like their sons birthday party. Ina didn't ruin your party. YOU did! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Ina, you did it again!! I made this for my husbands birthday yesterday and it's fantastic!! Not having the correct pan I used a 13x9x2 and just baked it a little longer and just followed the recipe, it just that simple. This is a moist, rich and so delicious. Thanks!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
The cake is still in the oven. So, why am I writing a review? Because a nice portion of the cake in sitting on the bottom of the oven generating the smoke that I am now trying to dissipate. For heavens sake, where does Ina find these pans? I've searched all over and cannoat find a half sheet pan that is 1 1/2 inches high. Writing to foodtv was no help either. I can't eeven comment on the outcome. Bakers beware...this can balloon into a mess (and I didn't even try to adjust the recipe as I was working). Perhaps I was too generous with 2 stars. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I want to make a large sheet cake (for 25 people) for my son's birthday. Any one have any suggestions? I've searched the internet and all I get are suggestions to make 2 or more cakes, which I don't want to do. I'd like to be able to decorate it as Spongebob (hey, it's for a 2yr old!) so a rectangular shaped pan would work best. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated! Btw.. I have not made this recipe and will not due to poor reviews. I gave it a rating of 3 stars because that's what it was rated when I read the recipe. So don't get on my back about screwing up the rating system! I thank you (and so does my son) for any help! item not reviewed by moderator and published
The cake was good, but cooked much faster than her suggestion. The frosting was very rich and with the flavor of the cake was awful. item not reviewed by moderator and published
the taste of the cake was nothing special at all. however the frosting was great. i would have expected a better presentation out of Ina. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this cake to take to a dinner club group after watching Ina make it on TV a few days earlier. I love citrus and chocolate together and thought I'd give it a try. The cake batter did fill the 12x18 pan and I cooked mine exactly according to directions - in 21 minutes mine was done. After reading the frosting ingredients I realized it would not be very sweet so I used 1 bag semi sweet chips and 1 bag milk chocolate chips. Everyone commented on the delicious frosting, although my kids thought it was too chocolatey. The next time I make it (and I will make it again when I need to feed a large group) I will use 2 bags of milk chocolate chips since they are a bit sweeter and not so strong tasting. The cake was just barely moist enough, but I am going to take the advice of other reviewers and use less baking soda next time. My 10 year old daughter helped me make the cake, and even through doorbells ringing, minor disturbances and getting a few ingredients added WAY OUT OF ORDER, it turned out well. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made 4 of these sheet cakes for my mother's birthday party. I did read all the reviews but decided to use this recipe because I trust the Barefoot Contessa. I followed the recipe instructions, creaming the butter and sugar for 5 minutes and adding extra large eggs 2 at a time. Also important was not overmixing once the flour was added. I did decrease the baking soda to 3/4 teaspoon as that is all that is needed for 3 cups of flour. I did not add the lemon zest. The cake is moist, dense and delicious. I baked the cakes on greased parchment paper and simply lifted them from the pan so I could reuse the pan for the next cake. I did not use the the icing since I wanted a tinted frosting. This is the recipe I used: 3/4 c butter, melted 6 cups confectioners sugar 6 tablespoons of evaporated milk 1 tablespoon of vanilla Mix the milk and vanilla in a cup. Place the melted butter in a mixer and add the sugar along with the vanilla milk mixture. Mix until smooth and the texture is correct for mixing. Frost cake. This is excellent for a large party. Thanks for the recipe. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I will not make the cake recipe again. It was very average. The frosting was exceptional and I have already used the recipe several times. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I always love Ina Gartens recipes and this was a hit too. I just omitted the lemon zest in the cake recipe, followed the rest of the recipe and it came out super. I followed my own recipe for chocolate ganache and it complemented very well with the sheet cake. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This cake cost me alot to make and was really awful. It was very dry and tasted awful. I though that the frosting was not good either. I was really disappointed in this cake. Most of all I was embarresed that I served this for my husbands birthday. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have made this cake several times and while it always came out good it was always a tad dry. I always thought that i was just doing something wrong, but after reading Shirley Corriher's BakeWise, I re-looked over and noticed that the flour to baking soda ratio is not correct. This recipe calls for one teaspoon of baking soda, which is too much for the amount of flour. One teaspoon of baking soda is enough to neutralize four cups of flour, thus the baking soda should be reduced to three fourths a teaspoon to ensure a lovely, moist cake. There are a few other little tweaks I have made to improve both the cake and frosting recipe. In the cake I leave out the lemon zest because I personally do not like the slight citrus taste. The frosting is fabulous the way it is if you prefer a darker chocolate, though if you are like me and prefer a milder taste, use a mixture of milk chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate chips, or emit all semi-sweet and just use milk chocolate. I have gotten rave reviews about the frosting each of these ways. You can also make turn this cake into a layer cake. The batter also works flawlessly with three eight by two inch pans. Overall this recipe is wonderful, and I plan on making it time and time again. item not reviewed by moderator and published
i dont know what all u people did wrong , but this was a great recipe... the frosting was great.. and even without it it tasted really good.... i ve tried to make sheet cakes before and none turned out like this one.. i got so many compliments... i loved the recipe and are going to use it all the time.....the barefoot contessa know what shes doing.... thanx ina...... item not reviewed by moderator and published
I reduced the recipe by a third because I didn't want to make such a large cake. I also replaced all dairy ingredients (except eggs) with vegan substitutes, because our family is allergic to dairy. The cake came out beautifully, soft and fluffy. I am so grateful for this cake recipe as it is not easy to make a fluffy non-dairy cake. I did not think the hint of the lemon zest distracted from the frosting. I may fold in some fruit next time. Again, great great recipe. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made cupcakes and I have to say they turned out very moist. I went easy on the lemon zest which I think was a good call. But the frosing, oh my gosh, was horrible. Way to sweet and somewhat gritty. Will I make the cake again? Doubt it. And the frosting? You've been warned so save your money. item not reviewed by moderator and published
There was way too much lemon zest in this recipe. Next time I think I might avoid it. The combination of the lemon in the cake and the chocolate frosting was not very good. For some reason it tasted minty. Not what I was looking for. :( item not reviewed by moderator and published
The lemon cake had a good flavor but was a little dry. Chocolate icing just didn't taste right with the lemon cake. Next time I would use a lemon glaze or vanilla icing. It wasn't a hit at my party. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Too bad, I love Ina's recipes but this was not a keeper. I think I would add the milk chocolate chips like the other readers have suggested. Too dark chocolate flavor. My 5 year old could not lick the spoon he actually returned it to me. Oh well, I love all of her other recipes... item not reviewed by moderator and published
delicious! i love the dogs! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is a good birthday cake. I made in it the suggested pan, but it almost overflowed, so be careful to watch it during baking. It tasted good and refrigerates and freezes well. It's the kind of cake that you can eat with your hands. I didn't use the suggested icing as others had commented on the sweetness. I used the icing recipe on the Confectioners Sugar box, added a little salt to cut the sweetness and added less sugar. It came out perfectly. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I make cakes all the time but I was looking for a new recipe. This one is not it. It looked great, but it was very dry and very citrus tasting. More like lemon cake than yellow cake. It was edible, but I ended throwing over half of it away. Just too dry. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Seriously, I doubt she has ever made this recipe. It doesn't make a sheet pan! Only half that. It is cooking at over double the recipe time even so, and it's still gummy in the middle but crispy dry on the edges. And it's not chocolate either (as came up in the search)!!!! So disappointed, and yes I have over thirty years of baking experience. Thanks for ruining my son's birthday party, contessa. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I first saw this recipe when I was at the hospital after a surgey. I could not eat anything and I told myself that at my son's birthday, I was going to make that cake. I did, and it was fabulous! A big hit! The cake is extremely moist. THe frosting is very smooth and delicious. I added pineapple extract to the frosting, for an exotic flavour, and it was phenomenal. Thanks for the best cake ever!!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I thought the cake was good, but not great. My husband wasn't especially thrilled with it. Neither of us liked the frosting though. I thought it was too thin, kind of chalky tasting, and not nearly sweet enough. I love dark chocolate, but I have now discovered, not as a frosting. item not reviewed by moderator and published
If you like a lemon tasting cake, this is the receipe for you. item not reviewed by moderator and published
The frosting was delicious and had a great spreading consistency. It is not overly sweet and has a rich chocolate taste. Delicious! It has a slight dark chocolate taste. If serving it to kids I might use half milk chocolate chips and half semi sweet chocolate chips. I will definitely make this again! It frosted a layer cake with over a cup left over. It turns into a delicious fudge when stored in fridge! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I chose to make this cake for dessert for my family's Thanksgiving. What a mistake... I do love to cook so was excited about Ina's recipe. We threw away the entire cake after the first bite. Sometime must be wrong in the frosting ingredents. The icing was so strong of semisweet choc, no one could even eat a piece. I love dark choc but no way was this good. I came home and checked out the recipe again thinking I must have misread the recipe but I did not. I have never been so disappointed in a cake recipe and also it was expensive to make. I wish I had my $12.00 back... Next time I will stick to my own recipe for cakes... It was no Happy Thanksgiving for my family when it came to dessert time..... item not reviewed by moderator and published
Wow what a great cake. For me and my oven the baking time was about 40 minutes but my pan was sized a smidge smaller than 12x18. The cake came out golden. The frosting was decadent. I used a mix of milk and semisweet chocolate. And I was so proud my chocolate didn't seize. I have never made a cake with cornstarch so that was unusual but didn't make a taste difference. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this cake for my son's birthday last year. I was looking for a sheet cake recipe. I found this one. I served to my in-laws,kids,husband brothers-in-law and sister-in-law. Everyone raved about it. My in-laws even saved some and gave it to there friends. I did not make the frosting,but followed the cake recipe to a T. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was so yummy. The cake is light and fluffy and the frosting is great, not too bitter and not too sweet. It was pretty easy to make. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This cake was horrible. The actually cake wasnt bad but it never cooked through all the way. The center was gooey and gross but if it was left in any longer the edges would end up dried out. The icing tasted like you put a chocolate bar on top, nothing like icing should taste. item not reviewed by moderator and published
very good. I substituted milk chocolate for half of the semi sweet. The cake had a wonderful texture, a bit more dense then the usual. loved it! And will make again! item not reviewed by moderator and published
It was ok. I personaly don't like chocolate, but if I did I had to say it was good. I got terribly sick after I ate it, though. I think that Ina's recipies have way to much fatening ingredients, that can be haserdous to peoples health. Like people with cholesterol; they would love to try it, but the ingredients can raise thier number by a hole lot. I think you should try margerin, and not whole milk, and /or heavy cream just low fat items. Many more people would enjoy the show, and even buy more of the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks. Ina would make a lot more money! -Theresa, Mt. Carmel, CT. item not reviewed by moderator and published
The cake is moist, but that is because there is SO MUCH fat in there. It is actually oily. I had leftover batter and baked it in muffin tins. I tried a cupcake without the icing and picked it up. There was so much butter in the cake that it left my fingertips feeling greasy. It tastes good, but it's very rich. I love chocolate. However, I do prefer the cake without any icing. There's already a huge amount of sugar in the cake, itself.(But, that's just me. Someone who loves lots of icing on their cake would enjoy the combination. I enjoyed it for the first three bites and then it was just too rich for me and I couldn't eat any more of my cake with icing.) item not reviewed by moderator and published
The frosting was runny and not sweet enough, even using milk chocolate. The lemon did not mix well with the chocolate. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was a fabulous cake. Just a reminder to those who might plan a real 'pooch party' should be careful about dogs and chocolate. Chocolate is highly toxic to dogs and can kill them. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made the cake today and it was amazing!!!!! love it!!! Chef Ana Gil item not reviewed by moderator and published
I wonder why anyone who is a seasoned baker would not be able to look at a recipe and not know what to expect. It is what it is. item not reviewed by moderator and published
So far I have made three of these for family parties since January 2007. Not only is it a big hit, but fun to make. I plan to make a lot more, the frosting is just too delicious. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made is cake for my sister's birthday yesterday and it turned out wonderful. The cake was moist and flavorful, maybe the secret is mixing the butter and sugar together for 5 minutes. I cut the recipe in half and wasn't sure how it would turn out but it turned out great. The frosting looked beautiful on it and I also liked that the frosting was too sweet and that it complimented the cake. I'll definitely will make this cake again. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Make this cake for company! The lemon zest adds a subtleness to this cake. The icing is exactly want I needed for my daily chocolate fix. I covered the cake, and the next day my husband stated it was moister than the day I made the cake. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I cut the size of the cake by half and cooked it in a 9x9 pan. It is one of the most delicious cakes I have made. I found the frosting was just right - I love the flavour of the orange cake with the dark chocolate. Ina, you are fabulous. item not reviewed by moderator and published
5ytr item not reviewed by moderator and published

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Everyday Celebrations