Friday, December 14, 2012

Cake Serving Charts Have Nothing To Do With Reality

Cake serving charts are a point of contention between bakers, which shows how boring we are. Yeah, admit it.

So as we debate how many servings are in this or that size tier, we lose sight of the fact that we have no control over how people cut the cake. We can talk until we're blue in the face, but if we don't personally cut the cake every serving chart in existence is only an estimate.

I've been to events where the person cutting the cake cuts it much thinner and wider than it "should" be cut in order to make it fit the dessert plates better visually. This looks nice on the plates, but it also means that the servings are much smaller than what I'm estimating they'll be. So you'll get more pieces out of the cake, but each piece will contain less cake than the standard serving.

If you need proof of this, here's a cake photo that a bride sent me in a group of pictures from her reception. I was horrified at how thin the pieces were, but this is pretty much how everyone around here cuts wedding cake. I've asked them about it before, and people tell me that they adjust the size of the pieces based on how many people want cake. If more people are eating it the pieces get smaller, and if fewer people want it the pieces get bigger.

I estimate 80% of the number of guests for the number of cake servings. Some people around here tell brides that they need 110% of the number of guests for the number of cake servings. However, the venue staff tells me that they always have entire tiers of cake left over when those people bring the cake. Looking at the size of the pieces, yeah, that makes sense. In the first place, not everyone has cake, and if the pieces are cut so thin you'll get more pieces out of it than we estimate.

It's worth asking the people at venues how they cut the cake. It can make a BIG difference in the amount of cake a bride needs. If you know that a venue cuts smaller pieces you can let her know that, and she can decide whether she wants to eat leftover wedding cake for the week after the reception or not.

 Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at and


Anna said...

Egads! You could read through that cake!

Audric Montuno said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Audric Montuno said...

***Edited for typo

At the few weddings that I've personally attended, most people are stuffed by the time that it comes to the cake and there's barely any room left over in the stomach to fit anything else. By then, they just want a taste and not much more than that. Others are health- or diet-conscious, so again, quantity is not the primary concern. Combine that with the fact that couples now often choose to have multiple kinds of dessert as alternatives and the emphasis on good-sized (i.e. larger) servings of cake decreases even further.

I personally try to reduce the thickness of the cake layers and increase their number so that even in a small slice the person gets to experience numerous layers of cake and filling. Less of more is more sometimes!

Kara Buntin said...

Audric, I totally agree with you. I tell every bride that there's no reason to have one serving per guest, because there are too many reasons why people don't always eat the cake. I know of people in my area who tell brides that they need at least one serving per guest, if not more, but I think that's just charging for unnecessary cake.

Audric Montuno said...

I'm wondering if there are regional differences at play. Or I guess cultural factors may be stronger. Some people just prefer the appearance of abundance (ex. "No shortage of cake here! Oh happy day!"). Or they're hoping to have the same cake on their 1st, 2nd, 5th, 10th, 20th, and 25th anniversaries (with one serving for each guest present).