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

image of a wedding cake sized out using a cake portion guide to determine how many servings and what size of cake needed to be made

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.

assembled semi-naked tiered wedding 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  made as part of a cake portion guide to show how many people this cake will feed

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 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:

image of cake portion guide for square and round cakes

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 – 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.

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 sharing how many people it feed in her cake portion guide

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.

Emily Boyer

Sunday 4th of February 2024

I have a question. In the first picture of this post where did you find the greenery you used? Thank you very helpful information

Chelsweets

Tuesday 13th of February 2024

Hi Emily,

The greenery in the first picture was set aside by the florist of the wedding for me! Whenever I make wedding cakes for friends I ask them to have the florist save some flower for me, so that the cake will look cohesive with the rest of the decorations.

[email protected]

Friday 21st of July 2023

How tall are the tiers (wedding) cakes you make, 7inch? Do you make 3 or 4 layers for each tier? Thank you.

Chelsweets

Sunday 23rd of July 2023

My tiers are usually about 6 inches tall, and I usually do 4 layers per tier!

Jerrika

Thursday 6th of July 2023

Hi! I love this article. Thank you so much for taking the time to figure all of this out for us! I do have one question. I'm confused looking at the "tiered cake serving size guide" illustration vs the chart provided. The numbers don't match up? Which is correct?

Chelsweets

Sunday 9th of July 2023

Hi Jerrika,

Great question! I'd definitely follow the chart, as it's a lot more specific and takes into account the different heights of each tier. The illustration is much more of a general guideline and helps you get an idea of what combination of tiers might work best for the number of people you need to feed. Hope that helps, happy baking!

Kathi Cummings

Thursday 6th of July 2023

Hi Chelsey Can I message you? I need a tiered cake made of watermelon for 50 people and not sure where to start!

Chelsweets

Sunday 9th of July 2023

Hi Kathi,

That is a very unique cake!! I've never made a cake from watermelon before, so I'm not sure I'd have much advice to give :/ I'm so sorry!

Christal

Monday 12th of June 2023

If the standard size is 4 inches tall. Alot of your pictures show 3 layers? Are they torted at 1 inch each with 2 layer of filling? If you torte two layers..wouldn't you end up with 4 layers per cake?

My common cakes are 6 inch in height (3 x2 inch layers) does this affect servings? Or considered standard serving?

Chelsweets

Monday 26th of June 2023

Hi Christal,

My 3-layer tiers are usually made with cake layers that are a tiny bit taller than 1 inch, and then they have about 1/3 inch of frosting between the layers, making them right about 4-inches tall.

With taller cakes it is easier if you have 4 layers, so that you can cut each serving in half and have each piece have 2 cake layers.