Cake Portion Guide

This cake portion guide is exactly what you need if you’re making a cake for an event or a wedding. While the cake flavor and decoration are important components of a cake, one of the most fundamental aspects of a cake is its size!

When making a cake from scratch for an important event, it’s crucial that it has the right number of servings.

You want make sure every guest gets a slice. That’s where this cake portion guide comes into play.

image of a simple rustic wedding cake decorated with fresh flowers

What Is Considered A Serving Of Cake??

Throughout this post I refer to a serving of cake.

Generally, I mean a slice of cake that is 4 inches tall, 1 inch wide, and 2 inches in length. This is the standard size of a slice of wedding cake.

This post isn’t just about wedding cakes though. It’s also for cakes to be served at parties or events.

image of properly cut slices of wedding cake, in the standard size of 4 inches tall, 1 inch wide, 2 inches deep.

Strangely enough, the size of a cake serving for a wedding is smaller than a party cake serving! Cakes cut for parties are normally 1.5 inches wide.

While this is a small difference in size, it’s important to note that a slice of cake at a party is bigger.

This can impact the number of servings included below. To be consistent, I’m going to be referring to wedding cake portions throughout this post.

Impact Of Cake Height On Number of Servings

The standard size of a cake slice is definitely the golden standard.

However, my vanilla cake recipe makes a 7 inch layer cake that is way taller than 4 inches. In general, tall layer cakes have increased in popularity and are quite common nowadays.

This can make cutting and serving a cake a lot more challenging. The height of a cake can be influenced by a lot of factors.

It’s based on the number of cake layers used, the height of the cake layers, and the amount of buttercream between each layer.

Photo of a three tiered candy drip cake

If I make a cake taller than 7 inches, I cut it into thin slices (about 1 inch wide).

Then I cut each slice in half, horizontally. This means that out of each slice I make, I create 2 servings.

For tall cakes, I double the servings shown below, since those are based on a shorter cake (4 inches).

When trying to determine the right size of cake to make based on the numbers below, please refer to the far right column.

image of assembling a tiered cake and filling in the gaps

Standard Layer Cake Servings

Once you know the number of servings you need, you can start to think about what size of cake you should make.

If you don’t plan to make a tiered cake, things are quite a bit easier.

image of funfetti cake slices, cut and surrounded by pink frosting and rainbow sprinkles

A single-tiered layer cake has set number of servings. However, this can vary based on the shape of the cake.

For example, a square 8 inch cake will have more servings than a round 8 inch cake.

Round and square cakes are by far the most common shapes. With that in mind, I chose to focus on these shapes in the diagram below. It includes the number of portions, based on the cake layer diameter:

image of cake portion guide

If you want to make a cake that is a different shape, Wilton has a great chart that shares the serving sizes of a variety of shaped cakes.

Tiered Cake Servings

If you need to feed a large number of people, you may need to make a tiered cake. Tiered cakes have a lot more variety and flexibility in their number of servings.

Different sized tiers vary in serving size, and you can combine them in a ton of ways.

Photo of four tiered Tropical Inspired floral wedding cake

In the past, I’ve made a tiered cake with 10 inch, 8 inch, 6 inch, and 4 inch tiers that fed 84 people.

I’ve also made a cake with 12 inch, 9 inch, and 6 inch tiers that fed 100 people.

While we’re on the topic of different sized tiers, I have a wonderful cake batter calculator that helps you know exactly how much batter you need for different sized cake layers and tiers.

Part of picking the right size of cake comes down to having the right number of servings, but other factors can come into play. This decision can also be influenced by the look you’re after.

Some people want a specific number of tiers, or a cake design that requires extra space between each tier to add decorations.

Photo of a three tiered semi naked wedding cake

For example, sometimes I add fresh flowers to my tiered wedding cakes. When doing this, I like to have at least a 3-inch variance in the size of each tier (i.e. 12 inch, 9 inch, 6 inch).

This creates a 1.5 inch ledge between the tiers, which leaves me enough room to position and secure the flowers onto the cake.

Cake Portion Guide

To figure out what size of tiers you should use for a big event or wedding, I highly recommend reviewing a cake portion guide, like this! It shares the number of servings of different sized tiered cakes.

This cake portion guide also shows combinations of different sized tiers, which is extremely helpful.

Image of cake portion guide

It’ll help you see what options you have for however many people you need to feed. This will also help you determine what makes the most sense with the cake design you plan to make.

Keep in mind there are tons of other options for tiered cakes that aren’t included here, so don’t feel limited by this chart! These are simply the most common sized tiered cakes.

photo of chelsey white with her wedding cake

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you are making a tiered cake for the first time, I hope this cake portion guide is helpful. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!

Please let me know if you have any questions I didn’t cover, or if you have any other tips or advice that would be helpful 🙂

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80 thoughts on “Cake Portion Guide

  1. hello chels!! i have a request for a tall marble 2 tier wedding cake. do you think a 6″ and a 8″ tiers will be good enough? with four layers of cakes each? will it look good?? thank u!!

    1. Depends on how you plan to decorate it, and how many people it’s supposed to feed! I’ve done both 8″ and 6″, and 9″ and 6″. Both work!

  2. Hello chelsie, you are amazing! I live in belgium and here people likes more sponge cakes than normal cakes with butter.. I figure that the portions should be bigger for this kind of cakes. How would you portion a sponge cake from the same sizes?

    1. Hi Patricia! That’s a tough call, here in the US it doesn’t really matter what the cake type is, people just expect that size of cake slice at events or weddings. Maybe try 4 inch x 4 inch x 1 inch would be a slightly better portion?

  3. Hi thank you so much for this! I’m making my best friend’s weeding cake as a gift and it makes me even more nervous thank if it was for my own wedding I think lol! My biggest concern is getting it there! What did you have your cake on? A standard cake board?
    This video is super helpful!

    1. haha I totally could see that!! I had my cake on a thick cake drum (1/2 inch), you definitely need something thicker than a normal cardboard cake round to support it’s weight!! The transportation part is stressful, but if the cake is properly supported it should be just fine 🙂 Best of luck, I’m sure it will turn out great Maria!!

  4. Hi!! I was asked to make a cake that feeds 50 and it’s going to be tiered.. what is your suggestion? Thanks! Stephanie

  5. Hi! Someone asked me to do a tiered cake for 50 people. What sizes would you recommend. They want round shape? Thanks!

  6. Hi Chels!

    I’ve been asked to do a hand bag shaped cake for 20 people but have no idea where to start in terms of the cake size! Would you have any suggestions for the cake tin sizes to use? My worst nightmare would be to make a cake that’s too small ?

    Many thanks!

    1. Eek, that’s tough!! You’ll need to make a pretty big hand bag, I’d say maybe try 3 x 8 inch cake layers (baked and cut from a sheet pan) and use like 6 cake layers?! That’s similar to what I did for my spongebob cake, and he was pretty big. It also depends on the shape of hang bag you’re after! I have never made one, so I don’t have much experience when it comes to them :/ so sorry!!

  7. I’ll be making a 3 tier cake for a friends wedding. I’m going to do 12”, 9” and 6” for 100 people. How many batches of vanilla batter would I need please? Thanks ?

  8. you are awesome and have been sooooo helpful as my 57 year old self have learned how to make my own wedding cake by looking at your videos for over 3 months and next week is the day whereby if I can, I will post the result and YOU will receive all the credit for me being able to make my first 5 tier incredibly beautifuly wedding cake.

    1. Hi Glo,

      I am so happy to hear that!! Please let me know how it turns out <3 I am sure you’ll do an amazing job!!! 5 tiers is epic, I can’t wait to see it!

    1. Hi Suzzanne,

      That is for a 2 layer cake with 2-inch cake layers! Or with my cake recipe, a 4 layer cake with 1-inch cake layers. Hope that helps, happy baking!

  9. One great idea someone told me was to have a rectangular sheet cake in addition to the main wedding cake. The sheet cake is just for cutting extra slices, not for display, as portions get cut away from public view anyway. That way the display cake doesn’t have to feed everyone and you have no worries about not having enough cake.

    1. That’s a great point, and a wonderful idea if you don’t want to make a huge cake but you have a ton of guests to feed 🙂 Thank you for sharing Grace!!

  10. This is so sooooo helpful, thank you so much for sharing this! I usually just make cakes for family and friends, but one person asked me to make a cake for 100 people and I had absolutely no idea how to do that, this will be my first tiered cake for so many people, thank you for your tips and help, and thank you so much for sharing!

    1. I’m so happy you found this helpful Sue!! And that’s awesome, congrats!! Big tiered cakes can be a bit intimidating at first, but with the right preparation / planning they’re not too bad 🙂 Happy baking!!

  11. A “cutting cake” as described above is always a good idea to feed large volumes of people. With regard to the double height cakes I always put a slightly smaller board in between the two cakes that make up the tall tier, that way you just run a knife under the board and separate the tiers for cutting.

  12. Hey Chelsea!!!

    So with serving sizes, based on your chart it’s for 2-layers that are 2 inches, how should i calculate the servings is I’m doing 3- 2 inch layers. which makes the cake 6+ inches tall. And i consider my 4- inch layers to be tall what would the servings be on those?

    1. Hi Bryanna,

      It depends on how tall the tiers are! It’s easier if you do 4 layers, so that you can cut the tall slices in half to make two standard slices. A 4 inch cake is the standard height. I hope that makes sense!!

  13. Hi! If you want to add fresh flowers do you need a 1.5 inch cake size difference? I noticed on your wedding cake you didn’t and wasn’t sure how difficult it would be to add flowers without the 1.5 difference. Thank you!!

    1. Hi Rachel,

      You don’t have to, but it also depends on the style of decoration you want to use! my design worked out fine with a 2 inch difference between by tiers (overall, so 1 inch ledge), but if you have a different design in mind or want to use larger flowers, it’s definitely easier to do with more of a ledge between the tiers. Hope that helps, happy baking!

Let me know what you think!