Back in my bakery days, I would answer this question each and every day while taking orders for clients who were not sure how big of a cake they should purchase for their event.
As cake artists and salesmen, it is our responsibility to ensure that the client does not have too much or too little cake.
One thing I have learned in this process is that each persons perception of what a cake is……. is very different.
I find that in this day and age, when there are so many different stores selling cake, there is lots of room for misinterpretations.
I would always stress this pit fall to my staff upon training them in How To Take Cake Orders.
Many people think of a Sheet Cake as one of those supermarket or superstore discount cakes that is basically just one layer of cake with some icing smeared on top, a few flowers thrown on and some writing.
So when I told my customers that my Half Sheet Cake serves almost 50 people, they were so happy I warned them before they went home with this monsterous cake for their party of 15 people!
All of my specialty Sheet Cake orders were 2 layers of cake, a layer of filling and then the icing.
Once a cake of mine is built and iced, it measures over 5 inches tall!
My round cakes are even taller because I use 3 or 4 layers of cake in the 6″, 7″, 8″ and 10″ rounds.
As you can see already, due to the height of my cakes, the WIDTH of the slice is naturally going to be smaller which will ultimately yield more servings.
I use the “Two -Finger” rule in cake slicing. If you put your Index Finger and your Pointer Finger together, this is the guide in how wide to cut the slices.
Here is a guide based on my style of building cakes. (That would be the 5″ tall approximation cake height style!)
Feel free to modify your own chart as you wish.
This is simply the guideline I used at my bakery to ensure the client is not left with tons of extra cake. (although whoever said tons of leftover cake was a bad thing?)
But in business you do not want to come across as over selling.
You also want to be sure that everyone gets their slice and they do not run out, so it’s wise to have examples of what your particular cake style may be, so the customer can get a visual of what to expect, and then they can make their own decision for the size that best suits them and their guests.
Gretchen’s Bakery Guide to Cake Servings
6″ round 6-8 servings
7″ round 8-10 servings
8″ round 14-16 servings
10″ round 25-28 servings
Quarter sheet 12” X 9” 20-25 servings
Half Sheet 18” X 12” 45-50 servings
Full Sheet 18” X 24” 90-100 servings
**Remember also, that the cake board and box that you will deliver your cakes in, will add another couple inches to the dimensions of the cake.
It is wise to ask what type of refrigerator accommodations your client has (if their cake requires refrigeration).
I feel it is our duty as cake designers to make sure our customers cake experience is as hassle free as possible.
This can only mean repeat business for us!