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Why You Should Make a Sheet Cake Instead of Pie This Thanksgiving

My Recipes logo My Recipes 11/16/2017 Antara Sinha

Here’s the unspoken secret about pie during the holidays: Not everyone is a fan, they can be finicky to make, and it can be a pain to make beautifully constructed pies for a large crowd. Not only do sheet cakes remedy all of these issues, but they can be made in creative, seasonal flavors, and provide just as stunning of a presentation as pies and tarts—with less time and effort. Convinced? Here are a few of the best to choose from.

Derby Cake

a slice of cake on a plate © Photo: Daniel Agee; Styling: Karen Rankin

This decadent, chocolatey, and nutty cake means no one will miss that sweet potato pie that ends up half-eaten at the end of the day. Browned butter icing with a bourbon kick is the real crowd-pleaser here, and an effortless candied walnut topping is way more forgiving than laboring over pie crust.

Texas Sheet Cake

a piece of cake on a plate next to a cup of coffee © Photo: Julie Bidwell; Styling: Stephanie Hanes

You can’t go wrong with fudgy cake topped with toasted nuts, and cinnamon adds a warm flavor throughout. Buttermilk keeps this cake moist, and the whole thing can be assembled in less than 20 minutes before sticking it in the oven.

Shortcut Carrot Sheet Cake

a plate of food with a slice of cake on a table © Photo: Kelsey Hansen; Food Styling: Karen Rankin; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

This sheet cake doesn’t skimp on any of the traditional flavors of carrot cake—we keep the essentials, like carrot, pineapple and walnuts. But this cake comes together in a snap because of our shortcut: packaged spice cake mix that makes dessert ready to serve in a fraction of the time.

Mississippi Mud Cake

a piece of cake covered in chocolate © Provided by TIME Inc.

This classic Southern sheet cake is ready in a pinch and has all of the indulgent flavors that will satisfy both the adults’ and the kids’ sweet tooth. Marshmallows, pecans, and a rich chocolate frosting will make this a new family favorite.

Red Velvet Cake

a blue and white cake on a plate © Provided by TIME Inc.

Red velvet cake is another dessert classic that no one will turn down—and serving it in sheet-form means that you don't have to go through the hassle of layering and icing each cake round. Our version of cream cheese frosting has a little Greek yogurt stirred in to help with a more spreadable texture and provide a little extra tang.

Chocolate Marble Sheet Cake

a piece of cake on a plate © Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine

If you’re looking to keep it simple for Thanksgiving dessert, a classic marble cake (yellow and chocolate cake batter swirled together) is the perfect addition to your spread. It still feels festive, but it’s a bit lighter than having to commit to a dense slice of pumpkin pie.

Grapefruit-Pecan Sheet Cake

a piece of cake on a plate © Provided by TIME Inc.

This citrusy, light, and indulgent cake can be assembled in less than half an hour and looks stunning if you serve it with slices of ruby red grapefruit. And there’s absolutely zero crust-crimping required.

Related video: How to Make a Sheet Pan Cookie Cake


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