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Sheet Cake Guide (Batter Amounts & Servings)

I get a lot of questions about sheet cakes, so I’m sharing this sheet cake guide to help answer them all!

It lets you know exactly how much batter you need for different-sized sheet cakes, along with the number of servings.

image of chocolate cake batter being poured into a quarter sheet cake pan

How Big are Sheet Cakes?

First, let’s talk about how big sheet cakes are. There are 3 standard-sized sheet cakes that most bakers use, and they are commonly referred to as quarter sheet cakes (9×13-inches), half sheet cakes (13×17-inches), and full sheet cakes (16×24-inches).

Some pans vary by an inch or two, but these are the most popular sizes of pans I’ve encountered.

How Many Cake Layers Are Used to Make Sheet Cakes?

Before we tackle sheet cake batter amounts and servings, we need to consider how many layers a sheet cake is made with. A standard sheet cake is usually made with two layers of cake, a layer of filling or frosting, and is then covered with frosting.

However, for smaller occasions or less formal events, they can be made with a single layer and are simply topped with frosting. I account for both of these options below.

If you make a sheet cake with two layers, you can probably opt for smaller slices (2×1 inches or 2×2 inches). Likewise, if you make a single-layer sheet cake, you’ll probably want to cut larger slices (2×3 inches).

How Many Servings Are in a Sheet Cake?

Next, we need to figure out how big of a cake we need based on the number of servings.

And a crucial piece of figuring that out is knowing the size of our cake servings!

What Is Considered A Serving Of Cake??

A standard slice of a wedding cake is about 4 inches tall (2 layers of cake with filling and topped with frosting), 1 inch wide, and 2 inches long.

image of a slice of dark chocolate tuxedo mousse cake on a plate

And before you are completely shocked about a sheet cake being a wedding cake, it’s actually a lot more common than you’d think! A lot of people have dummy cakes or small display cakes, and then they cut sheet cakes in the back to serve to their guests.

But this post isn’t just about wedding cakes! It’s also for cakes to be served at parties or events. Cake slices cut for parties are normally 2×2 inches or even 2×3 inches.

I wanted my chart below to work for a variety of slice sizes, so I’ve included all of these options!

How Many Servings Are in a Sheet Cake?

Below is a quick & easy chart to show how many servings are in different-sized sheet cakes based on different-sized slices.

image of a chart showing how many servings are in a quarter sheet cake, half sheet cake, and full sheet cake

If you have a slightly different-sized cake pan or want to cut slices that are a different size than I included above, fear not! You can use the following equation to calculate the number of servings:

((Width of pan * length of pan )/(cake slice width x cake slice length)

For example, the calculation for the number of large party servings (2×3 inches) in an 18×24-inch sheet cake would look like this:

(18 inches*24 inches)/(2 inches x 3 inches) = 72 servings

image of a piece of chocolate snack cake being held up to show how moist it is

How Much Batter Do I Need to Make a Sheet Cake?

Now that we know the size of cake we need, we can figure out how much batter we need to make! There are two ways to do this; one is more math-intensive, and one is a simple chart!

Method 1 – Calculating How Much Batter You Need With an Equation

This method is great if you love math, or if your cake pan size varies from the ones in my chart below. To figure out how many cups of batter you need, use the following equation:

((Width of pan * length of pan * height of layer)/ rise ratio)/cubic inches in one US cup

The rise ratio is how much the layer rises once it’s baked. My butter cake recipes have a rise ratio of 1x because they bake quite flat and don’t really rise much. A standard sponge cake has a rise of about 1.5x.

For example, to calculate the number of cups of batter I need to make a 2-inch tall, 13 x 18-inch sponge cake, it would look like this:

((13 inches*18 inches*2 inches)/1.5)/14.43inches3 = 22 cups

Method 2 – Sheet Cake Batter Chart Showing How Much Cake Batter Per Pan

If you’re not a big fan of math, don’t worry! I’ve included a chart below that does all the hard work for you.

My one caveat (that I mentioned above) is that certain recipes rise more than others. For example, my vanilla layer cake recipe (a butter cake that uses the reverse crumb method) 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 sheet cake.

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

image of a chart showing how much batter is needed to make a quarter sheet cake, half sheet cake, and full sheet cake

How Many Batches of Batter Do I Need to Make?

Now that you know how many cups of batter you need, the last piece of the puzzle is figuring out how many batches of batter you need to make.

To do this, you need to know how many cups of batter the recipe you plan to use makes.

If you’re not sure, you can also back into the amount using my cake batter calculator if you know the size and number of cake layers a recipe makes (i.e. 2, 9-inch butter cake layers use about 8 cups of batter).

One batch of my vanilla cake recipe makes about 10 cups of batter. So if I wanted to make a single-layer, half-sheet cake (16 cups of batter), I would need about 1.5 batches of cake batter.

image of gingerbread cake batter being poured into a quarter sheet pan

General Tips for Making the Best Sheet Cake:

  • Line the sheet pan with parchment paper to easily remove your cake once it’s baked.
  • Use flower nails/heating cores to help your sheet cake bake more evenly and quickly.
  • Properly measure the flour (spoon into the cup measure, then level) or use a kitchen scale to measure your dry ingredients.
  • Ingredients at room temperature mix together better. Set out any cold ingredients ahead of time.
  • Chill the sheet cake in the freezer for about 15 minutes before frosting the cake. This makes it a lot easier to frost.
  • If your cake turns out less than perfect, read my cake troubleshooting guide to see where things might’ve gone awry.

Making Sheet Cakes in Advance and Storage Tips

I highly recommend making sheet cakes in advance! It breaks the process up and lets you enjoy the decoration of the cake more. Sheet cake layers can be frozen for up to a month if stored in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.

Frosted sheet cakes can sit out at room temperature for 2 days (as long as they don’t have a perishable filling, contain fresh fruit, or use cream cheese frosting).

They can also be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to a month if stored in an airtight container or covered tightly with plastic wrap.

Let Me Know What You Think of This Sheet Cake Guide!

I hope you found this sheet cake guide 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.

Donna

Thursday 20th of June 2024

I love this I can’t Wait to bake my 1sts 1/2 sheet cake for a party we are having. The picture shows 2 fillings Can you tell me how they didn’t run together? Thank you for this great post

Lori

Thursday 6th of June 2024

Do you have a recipe for white cake? I have tried a few but I never like how they turn outs I am not a professional baker but I have 3 full sheet cakes & a 6” round cake for the bride & groom to bake. I’m scared of messing this up.

Chelsweets

Sunday 9th of June 2024

Hi Lori,

I have an amazing white cake recipe I love, my WASC (white almond sour cream) cake!! Here's the link: https://chelsweets.com/wasc-cake/

And here is the link to the small batch version which makes a perfect little 6-inch cake: https://chelsweets.com/small-batch-wasc-cake-6-inch-cake/

I also call it my wedding cake recipe! One batch of batter can be used to make one 9×13-inch sheet cake. Bake it at 350 F for 40-55 minutes and use flower nails or heating cores to help the cake bake evenly if possible! Hope that helps, happy baking!

Nielle

Saturday 1st of June 2024

Amazing and detailed

Chelsweets

Tuesday 4th of June 2024

So happy to hear you liked this guide Nielle!! Thank you for sharing :)

Brittany

Monday 29th of April 2024

I can't you posted this right when I need it!! Thank you!!! <3

Chelsweets

Sunday 5th of May 2024

yesssss!!! Perfect timing :) So happy to hear that Brittany!

Meg

Sunday 28th of April 2024

Love this! Planning grad party for mid June and dd wants me to bake?. This is a perfect guide?