Cake Calculator

Following some basic guidelines will ensure that a slice of cake will be available for all of your guests.

Large Round Birthday Cake

The most common item found at birthday parties around the globe is cake. It's the common link from the 1st and 2nd toddler birthday party, to the 95th grand gala birthday celebration. Knowing how to order the right amount will help you avoid a birthday party debacle in which you order too much or too little. Order too much and you end up throwing out or eating too many costly leftovers. Order too little, on the other hand, and you might find yourself dealing with the distressed child who had saved their appetites for that one slice.

Guest list

Before all else, decide on the number of guests you are having at the party. Depending on this number, you may find yourself experimenting with different ingredients available in bulk or opting for a smaller, more elaborate cake. Write this number down or ensure that it is integrated into all of your birthday party planning.

The round cake

Round cakes can range in size from 5 inches to 12 inches and can be a single layer or many layers. If you are planning on making or buying a layered cake, you should realize that a single 12" cake will yield approximately 25 servings, while it will usually take about three 10" cakes for 50 people to each have a slice. However, if you are planning a big party of around 100 people, you will need at least six 10" cakes.

The sheet cake

Sheet cakes are readily available at most grocery stores and warehouse outlets. Here are some of the most common options for sheet cake. Keep in mind that serving sizes vary a bit depending on how big you cut the slices.

  • Quarter sheet cakes are, just as the name describes, approximately one quarter of the size of a full sheet cake. The dimensions are generally 9 X 13 inches and may come in single or multiple layers. Quarter sheet cakes are typically rectangular making them a great choice on which to add graphics or messages.
  • The half sheet cake is approximately 11 X 15 inches in size and typically one layer that serves 30 to 40 people. Half sheet cakes are great for any birthday celebration and are also easily decorated with creative messages or graphics.
  • The full sheet cake is approximately 18 X 24 inches in size and typically one layer. The full sheet can serve 70 to 80 people and is a wonderful centerpiece at any grand celebration.

Additional desserts

If you plan on serving any other desserts besides the cake, make sure to decrease the size you need accordingly. If you will be having cookies and ice cream in addition to the birthday cake, lower your cake size to reflect that most people will not come for seconds, or will prefer smaller pieces.

Take home

Consider investing in a few disposable take home boxes to put in leftover cake and desserts. This will not only keep the cake from winding up on your waistline, but ensure that everyone had a chance to sample of the delicious desserts.

Make any birthday party a sweet success and keep everyone one happy and satisfied by knowing how much cake to order.

Need some cake inspiration?

Check out our cakes photo gallery or leave a comment below.

Cake recipes for your celebration

Italian love cake
Low-fat coffee cake
Lemon cake recipes



Comments on "How much cake do you need?"

Daisy October 24, 2013 | 8:32 AM

My Daugther wants to bake her sweet 16 cake , we are having about 100 people on jan 2014, you said for 100 people we need 6 10" cakes is that just single layered or double layered ,she wants to make it round and different sizes, her sweet 16 theme is Alice in wonderland and also I believe we should make the cake the morning of the party or the night before .. I'm alittle nervous I want this to come out good Thank you daisy

Food Editor November 01, 2012 | 9:30 AM

Hi Heather, I'm sorry about the omission. You bake the Italian love cake at 350 degrees F for about one hour. I have updated the recipe as well. Thank you!

Heather S October 31, 2012 | 7:32 AM

Dear editor, the Italian Love Cake says to bake for 1 hour but does not give a temperature. gpedulla: I hope you have a huge fridge, or this cake will have to be made right before the party. You can't leave this one out.

SheKnows Food Editor September 13, 2012 | 9:21 AM

Hi gpedulla, Based on the information above, you would need to make (or buy) a full sheet cake. A full sheet cake is approximately 18 X 24 inches in size and typically one layer. It can serve 70 to 80 people. If you are aspiring to make this at home, it would be the equivalent of four standard 9 x 13 cake pans (one standard cake pan is a quarter sheet cake). A fittting recipe would be the Italian love cake featured here http://www.fabulousfoods/recipes/italian-love-cake

gpedulla September 12, 2012 | 3:19 PM

I am making an engagement cake for about 70 people. What is a good receipe and how big does this cake have to be to feed these many people?

janet mckenner August 18, 2010 | 11:15 AM

We dont really have sheet cakes in the UK - wonder why not and should I be the first to offer them outside of the supermarkets

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