How Much Cake Batter Per Pan?

Once you’ve decided what size of tiers you need to make, it’s time to figure out how much cake batter you need per pan.

There are a couple different ways to do this. This first is a simple calculation with cups. I include a chart below showing how many cups of batter you need to make different sized cake layers.

However, you need to know exactly how many cups one batch of the cake recipe you plan to use makes. This can vary drastically recipe to recipe.

The second method is a bit more math intensive, but I actually prefer it! I think it’s more precise, and less messy 🙂

baked cake layers for a tiered wedding cake

Method 1: The Cup Method

If you don’t want to do any calculations, this method if for you! It will quickly give you the answer you need.

In the below table, I share how many cups of batter you need per pan. It’s based on pan size and shape. My one caveat is that certain recipes rise more than others.

My vanilla layer cake recipe rises less than sponge cake recipes, so I’ve also included a column with the calculations for it as well.

Based on the recipe you use, you may want to use slightly more or less batter to make your cake layers the perfect height (once baked and leveled). This is why it’s important to test a recipe before making a large tiered cake.

Testing a recipe in advance helps you know the rise of the batter, so you can adjust as needed.

I’ve included the amount of batter you need for a 1-inch cake layer, or a 2-inch cake layer. Traditional wedding cakes are made with two, 2-inch cake layers.

However, I like to make my tiered cakes with three, 1-inch cake layers. I also add a very generous amount of buttercream between each cake layer (about 1/4 of an inch). This makes my tiers the perfect wedding cake height (4 inches tall).

adding cake batter to 12 inch cake pans for a tiered cake

The height of my tiers can vary though! The amount of frosting I use, how many cake layers I use, and how I level my cake layers all affect the height of each tier.

While a standard wedding cake serving is 4 inches tall, sometimes I make my tiers taller based on the the look I’m after for a cake. I also vary the height based on what the bride and groom request.

My Cake Batter Calculator

cake batter guide for different sized pans

One batch of my vanilla cake recipe makes about 10 1/2 cups of batter. If I wanted to make a round cake with four, 7-inch cake layers, I would need about 1 batch of cake batter (2 1/2 cups per 7-inch layer, x 4 layers = 10 cups of batter)

I highly recommend testing out a cake recipe ahead of time, to know how many cups of batter it makes, and how high it rises as it bakes.

You also need to account for the finished height of your cake layers once they’re leveled.

assembled semi-naked tiered wedding cake

If you’d like to learn more about serving sizes for weddings and parties, I highly recommend checking out my cake portion guide.

It walks through how many people different tiered cakes feed, and what size of cake you should make for big events.

Method 2: The Calculation Method

Now for the nerdier, more precise method. You can use math to figure out how much batter you need per pan!!

To do this, you need to know two important bits of information. The first is knowing how much batter 1 batch of the recipe you plan to use makes.

The second thing you need to know is the equation of a circle! Get ready to relive traumatic memories from high school geometry 😛

Using A Recipe You Know

If you have a tried and true cake recipe that you know and love, you can use what you already know about the cake recipe to figure this out!

I love using my vanilla layer cake recipe or my chocolate layer cake recipe for wedding cakes, because they’re incredibly moist and have great structure.

Image of 3 tiered wedding cake with edible lace

When I bake a batch of either recipe, they both make four, seven-inch cake layers that are roughly 1-inch tall (once leveled).

I can back my way into the amount of batter one batch makes by knowing this!

The Equation Of A Cake Pan

This is where math comes into play. It’s nothing crazy. It really just uses the equation of a circle, which is Pi (3.14) x radius squared. In this example with my vanilla cake recipe, I would first calculate the volume of one cake layer.

I’d take 3.14 (Pi) and multiple it by 3.5in x 3.5in (the radius of the cake layer squared). This would give me 38.5 inches squared.

I know that my 7-inch cake layers are about 1 is inch tall one they’re baked and leveled. With that in mind, the volume of the a single cake layer would be 38.5 inches squared x 1 inch, or 38.5 inches cubed.

Since one batch of batter makes four cake layers, that means it makes about 154 cubic inches of batter (38.5 cubic inches x 4 cake layers). With this number, I can now calculate the number of batches needed to make for any size of tiered cake.

Example – Calculation For A Three Tiered Cake

Say I wanted to make a tiered cake with 12 inch, 9 inch, and 6 inch cake layers. Each tier would be made with 3 cake layers that are 1 inch tall. I would make the below calculations:

  • General Formula for any sized tier: Pi (3.14) x cake layer radius squared x cake layer height x number of cake layers
  • 12 inch tier: 3.14 x (6 in. x 6 in.) x 1 in. x 3 layers= 339 cubic inches
  • 9 inch tier: 3.14 x (4.5 in. x 4.5 in.) x 1 in. x 3 layers = 191 cubic inches
  • 6 inch tier: 3.14 x (3 in. x 3 in.) x 1 in.x 3 layers = 85 cubic inches

This means in total, I will need 615 cubic inches of batter (339+191+85). Since I know one batch makes about 154 cubic inches, I will need to make 4 batches of batter.

Let Me Know Your Thoughts!!

I hope this helps you know how many batches of batter you need to make for tiered cakes!!

For those of you who just want to know how much batter you need for different sized pans, I hope you find this helpful too.

Let me know your thoughts, whether you use my cake batter calculator chart, or whip out your calculator!! 🙂

28 thoughts on “How Much Cake Batter Per Pan?

  1. Good Morning, Been Waiting For This Forever,This Is A Great Tool To Have, Can I Please Ask A Few Questions The Chart Above Is For Round Cakes Only? What Would Be The Calculations For The 10″ and 8″ Cakes? Some Times I have to Make Square Cakes 10,8,&6. Would You Be So Kind To Help Me Figure Those Pans Out.
    Thank You Soo Much !!!!!!!!!!!

    1. The chart has a section for round cakes, and then a section for square cake layers below 🙂 They do use different amounts of batter! Hope that helps, happy baking!

      1. Hi Chelsey! I noticed that you used a baking nail in the red velvet cake batter above, Do you always us a cake nail or do you only use it for certain kinds of batter? Thank you for the chart! Your cakes are amazing! Thank you! G

      2. I like to use flower nails (sometimes I use 2 in a pan in 10 inches or more) if I’m making layers larger than 8 inches! It just helps them bake so much faster, and more evenly 🙂 And thanks!!!

  2. This is AWESOME! Thank you!
    Do you have the same info for amount of buttercream? I feel like I’m always way under or have buttercream for the whole neighborhood!
    I love your cakes and you!

  3. I’ve recently started getting more serious about cake decorating and have been asked to do a few wedding cakes by friends and family and this has given me so much more confidence to start testing it out now so I have time to practice! Thank you so much! Also, your vanilla cake recipe is always my go-to starter base and such a crowd pleaser! I can fill it with anything and is so easy to manipulate to get what I’m looking for!

    1. I love hearing that Jessie! That’s what I love about it too, it’s so versatile and tasty! Best of luck with your upcoming wedding cakes, and happy baking!!! <3

    1. You can actually use the calculation method with CM! I don’t think it’d be helpful to share the volume/cup calculation with weight (grams), because cake batters can vary a ton when it comes to weight? It just wouldn’t be a very accurate gauge!

  4. OMG!!! thank you so much, I just started and I’ve been doing fine, but this just helps out so much more!!! I appreciate this and you are just a huge inspiration

    1. Haha I’m so happy to hear that Veronica!! It’s always a struggle to figure out, but I really do hope this will make life easier for us all 🙂 And you are too sweet, thank you!!

  5. Thank you so much! I agreed to make my brothers wedding cake in June and just made the 8 inch three layer vanilla cake as a test at the weekend and it was great! Had created my own excel sheet to work out the batter requirements for a 10 inch and 6 inch cake too, so very grateful that I can now double check if I’ve got this right (who doesn’t love a bit of nerdy spreadsheet action). Sending lots of gratitude from over here in the UK x

  6. This is so helpful, thank you! Will definitely give it a go when making my next tier cake. The naked sponges in your picture above look so great stacked on each other. How do you get them to sit so neat to the layer below? I use dowels but you can always see the join where the tiers meet. Thank you!

    1. I just add a little bit of frosting with a piping bag over the boards once they tiers are stacked, and smooth with a small offset! 🙂

  7. I love your tutorials! I have been asked to do a wedding cake for a a very special couple and want it to go well. I was wondering how you bake all of this in a regular size oven and keep them fresh? Thank you for any feedback!

  8. I love the calculation method! Thank you so much for sharing!!! I’m a big fan of your vanilla cake recipe. Have tried many others and none of them seem to be good enough. You are truly the best! Thanks again!

  9. Whenever I try out a new recipe I just try it out with 1egg and see how tall that rises in one 6inch tin and I weigh how much batter is made. I then use that to figure out how much batter I need to make per egg for each 8inch and 10 inch tin.

    1. But I love that you’ve shared with us a calculation and that you’ve explained it so clearly. I might give that a go if I have to go bigger than a 10inch cake. So thank yooouuuu

  10. Thought I’d posted but it’s disappeared. Just wanted to say thanks so much for this! I’m making my brothers wedding cake in June and just trialled the 3 layer 8 inch vanilla cake at the weekend (was great). Created an excel sheet to try and work out what I’d need for the 10 inch and 6 inch layers but now I have something to check against to make sure I get it right! Who doesn’t love a nerdy method and a spreadsheet?? Thanks so much again 🙂

    1. I’m so happy to hear that Kathy! And yes, excel all the way!!! Haha I really despise the cup method, but I know that not everyone loves math so I had to share it. Happy to hear you’re team math though!!! Happy baking!

  11. Thanks for the guide! I commented but I don’t think it went through. On average how many layers of cake for this guide? I’m making a horse cake for 25 people, so I need it on the taller side. If I do a 8in or 9in how many layers do you think it should be? Also, I bake eggless for allergy reasons if that makes a difference.

  12. This is amazing, thank you so much. If I wanted to make all 7 batched of batter I need then separate it out in the pans to bake, how do you keep the batter? Could I put it in containers and place in the fridge? Thank you again for all of your tips they are amazing, and this vanilla cake recipe seriously is the best out there.

Let me know what you think!