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 to make sure every guest gets a slice. That’s where this cake portion guide comes into play.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A single-tiered layer cake has a 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:
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.
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.
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 – Different Sized Tier Combinations
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 the one below! 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.
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.
Let Me Know What You Think of This Cake Portion Guide
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.
Friday 10th of February 2023
Do your serving charts include the small top tier (anniversary cake) or just the others?
Sunday 12th of February 2023
Great question! My serving charts do include the top tier. When I make wedding cakes I usually offer to make a mini anniversary cake for the couple because I hate the thought of people eating old, freezer-burned cake. However, if a couple is dead set on doing that, the serving sizes would need to be adjusted to account for that. Hope that helps, happy baking!
Friday 27th of January 2023
Hi Thanks for the great info. Just one question, for the chart what is the height for each cake size? For example for 4 inch round cake for party time what is the height of the cake? Thanks?
Sunday 29th of January 2023
Great question! The party/wedding servings column refers to tiers that between 4-5 inches tall. The tall cake servings column refers to tiers that are 6-7 inches. Hope that helps, happy baking!
Wednesday 25th of January 2023
Hi. Can you contact me please I’m Looking for some information on the cakes you have for an event at the end of feb
Sunday 29th of January 2023
Sadly I don't sell my cakes anymore! So sorry!
Monday 16th of January 2023
Hi. I'm making a wedding cake to feed 60 people and I'm thinking a 9 inch and 7 inch tier cake. My problem is working out how many layers i need for each cake to yield that many servings and to make it look nice, I'm adding fruit in between layers as well so I'm sure that will heighten the cake. Thankyou for any help.
Sunday 22nd of January 2023
If you want to feed 60 people, it might be safer to make a 10-inch and 8-inch tier. I always like to err on the side of having a few extra servings rather than being short. Also, some people like having seconds (I always go for a second slice at weddings if there's enough!!)
You could feed that many people if you made 9-inch and 7-inch tiers with four cake layers, so that each slice could be cut in half to give each serving two layers of cake and filling. However, if you're adding fruit between the layers, each tier would end up being quite tall! It would probably be easier to make slightly larger tiers (like a 10-inch and 8-inch) and make them each with 3 cake layers.
Hope that helps, and that the wedding cake turns out great!
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[…] you make a stacked tier layer cake. For a sturdy base, at least two-inch boards should be used. The cake layer diameter is larger than that of the base layer. It is easier to move a finished cake if the cake has a […]