Cake cutting is a serious business. If you aren’t prepared, it can be stressful and messy. Not to mention (no pressure), if you are the lucky person tasked with cutting a wedding cake, there are usually dozens of hungry guests waiting in front of the cake table as you frantically cut the cake. I’ve cut many wedding, special event and party cakes in my days, and I hope this guide and these recommendations help ease your stress in getting the right amount of servings out of each cake in the least messy way.
Choose how many servings to cut out of your cake based on the type of event:
Event-Style Servings or Wedding-Size servings are approximately 4” tall by 2” by 1” slices. Some people call these “party slices.” This smaller slice is still a nice size serving after a meal or finger food. This is the serving size I always recommend for weddings. If only dessert is being served and larger servings are desired, I recommend cutting servings twice as large (Generous Servings), or 1 1/2 times as large (Standard Servings).
Standard Servings are approximately 4″ tall by 3″ by 1 1/2″ slices. When ordering a party cake to feed a smaller group of less than 20 guests, I typically recommend standard size servings. (The more guests you have, the more likely it is that not everyone will want a generous slice of cake. So over 20 guests you are likely to be safe cutting Event-Style servings).
Generous Servings are approximately 4″ tall by 4″ by 2″ slices. These are traditional wedges cut out of 6″ or 8″ cakes. This is a good size slice but still a reasonable portion for one person. When we served cake by the slice at Amycakes Bakery, we would cut this generous size. This is the cake slice size I recommend for hungry guests, intimate gatherings, or if only dessert is being served (and larger servings are desired).
How to Cut Round Cakes (Event-Style Servings):
Measure two inches in from the cake’s outer edge (you can eyeball it or use your thumb as a guide). Cut a half circle halfway around the cake. Cutting a half circle instead of all the way around the cake will add stability and help prevent the other side of the cake from falling over. Cut 1″ slices from this outer edge until all of the outer half circle has been served. Follow with the other side of the cake, cutting a second ½ circle and cutting the remaining 1” pieces on the outer edge. Now that the outer edge of the entire cake has been cut, you now have a smaller cake to work with. For 10″ or larger cakes, you’ll move in another 2 inches, cut another 1/2 circle, slice 1″ pieces and so on until the cake is completely cut. Once you are left with a 6″ round or smaller cake on the inside, you can cut it into traditional cake wedges.
(A 6 inch cake is not pictured above, but may be sliced traditionally into 14 small wedges for event-style servings.)
Cutting Tiered Cakes: For smaller tiered cakes you may cut the tiers from the top down. There is a cake board under each cake, which will tell you when to stop your knife. After those slices are gone, you may remove the cake board and start on the next tier. Remove wooden dowels or cake supports as you see them (they should be hard to miss!). For taller tiered cakes, you may wish to remove the top tiers and cut them on the table.