Wedding Cakes – How many portions do you need?

This is by far the most common hurdle when deciding upon the size of your wedding cake and it’s often assumed that you’ll need a slice of cake for every guest (and you really don’t). Shocker, there are some people out there that don’t like cake! And, I kid you not but there are some people living amongst us who don’t like any desserts at all. I don’t say this to upset you but it’s just the plain old truth. But, this isn’t even the main reason why you’ll not need a slice of cake for every guest. So, let’s discuss why you really don’t need as much cake as you think and how to realisticly plan for the size of your wedding cake.

Do I need a slice of cake for each guest?

99.9% of the time, no you do not. Most weddings these days are catered affairs that include a dessert course in the menu. This means that the cake is often served as part of an evening buffet, usually with other items both sweet and savoury. By the time the cake is served in the evening some guests with young children may have left, some will be quite full from the dinner and some will be too busy “dancing like no one’s watching” to notice the buffet. Not to mention guests that will opt for savoury over sweet when indulging in the buffet. I always suggest to my couples that they plan for the cake to serve 60-70% of the guests. And that number can be less if you are adding other sweet items into your buffet. However, if you are serving the cake as the dessert course then definitely plan for a slice for each of your guests.

I want a large cake but I don’t need the portions

This is extremely common because, as we have discussed, you don’t need as much cake as you think. But, if a little two tier cake is all you need portion wise then what do you do if you’ve always dreamt of having a much larger wedding cake? Well, fear not because you still can have your big, beautiful cake and eat it too! It may be that you want the cake to be a large centrepiece or focal point, or you want a cake just a bit bigger than the portions you require, or the venue you’ve chosen is quite grand with high ceilings and a small cake just wouldn’t look right. Whichever category you fall into, we can add false tiers into the cake to add height without adding portions. Polystyrene dummies are used to replace actual cake tiers and decorated the same as the rest of the cake. You would never know looking at the cake that it wasn’t all cake inside and the caterers are briefed on which tiers are real so no one is trying to hack their way through a false tier.

Preventing food waste

There is nothing that saddens me more than food waste. We can all take for granted the ease and availability of food on our shelves and in our supermarkets but it is a very precious commodity. To prevent waste I always suggest to my couples to plan to serve 60-70% of their guests and to really think about the other items they’re offering. If you’re providing your guests with more than the standard three course meal, perhaps four or five courses, as well as an evening buffet then the chances of each guest partaking in everything offered is quite low. Some couples love having extra cake left over as they plan to offer it as a tea time treat to family the next day. This is a fantastic way to use up leftover cake and extends the celebratory vibes past your wedding day. You can also encourage your guests to take items home by providing lovely little takeaway boxes at your buffet. If you find you have extra tiers completely uncut you can give those cakes to local homeless shelters. Let your catering staff know that you wish to cut the cake slowly, and only replenish slices when they seem to be running out. This way, if you have cake leftover, it’s uncut and stays fresher so it can be gifted easily.

Final thoughts

It may seem counter intuitive for me to suggest to my couples that they don’t need as much cake as they think and seemingly talk them into a smaller cake. But, it’s important to me to be honest and not try and sell anyone more cake than they need and probably more cake than they actually want. No one wants to hear that the catering staff threw away an entire tier of cake because it was cut and never eaten. So that’s why I work with my couples to ensure they end up with the perfect amount of cake for their needs.