How Big Is A Serving Of Cake? Maybe Not As Big As You Think.
(This article appeared on my blog and was mainly intended for cake decorators, but I think that it's important for clients too. If you're planning a party read this first!)
This subject comes up over and over among cake decorators, and even more often with clients. Nobody seems to be able to decide what cutting chart to use, how much cake to buy for their party, blah blah blah.
Considering that we've gotten used to having restaurants bring us a plate full of food that's probably two or three servings, our ideas of what constitutes one serving of anything has been twisted and inflated in the last 10-20 years. People think that anything they can eat in one sitting is considered one serving, but that isn't how it works.
Now...How big is 8 cubic inches of cake? I suggest that you print out this template and make an example for people to see. That's one serving of cake. If you eat a bigger piece than that, you're eating more than one serving.
If you're a client who's buying a cake, and you want your guests to cut themselves big hunks, and also have a lot to take home afterward, you'll need to buy more cake.
I recently had a client tell me that she wanted a cake to feed about 50 people, and that she had a budget of XXXX amount. I told her that I could do that, and that the cake would be small rounds. She responded that she wanted to be able to cut really big pieces and have a lot of cake left over for people to take home, and that she wanted three large square tiers. Okay, so that's not 50 servings anymore.
For the client, you can't use the amount that your guests will shove in their pieholes if you let them go crazy as the basis for how much cake to buy. Just because one person can eat half a cake, that doesn't make it one serving, and your baker isn't going to say "well sure, your guests want to eat way too much, so I'll just count that as how many servings you think it will be." There's a standard serving count per cake, and even if people cut it slightly differently the variation isn't going to be too huge.
For the bakers, we need to realize that people honestly don't have any idea about how big one serving of anything is anymore...Obesity, anyone? The discussion of that subject is obviously a hot one these days, and in my opinion one of the main reasons people are getting fatter is that we honestly don't have any idea about how big servings are anymore. It's a simple thing.
When people order a cake they're thinking that one serving is the same as the giant wedge of cake that they get served at dessert when they eat out. No, that's three servings worth.
So print out the template, make sure it's the right size, and show people what one serving is. If they want to buy more cake they can do that, but they need to know what they're buying before they can decide to buy more of it or not.
Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond VA