Our essential guide to cake sizes and servings will help you calculate which pan to use for every guest count.
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chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream
Credit: Alpha Smoot

There's something about a beautiful homemade cake that screams celebration. Whether you're simply elevating Tuesday night dinner, hosting your child's birthday party, or bringing dessert to a backyard cookout, there's never a wrong occasion for a no-bake cheesecake, a lemon Bundt, or some other delicious cake. But while imagining all the types of dessert you could make is a dream, staring at all your cake pans—and attempting to figure out the number of servings you'll get from every type and size—can be a game of frustrating guesswork.

We spoke to baking experts to break down the different cake sizes and servings you can expect from the most popular pans. Keep in mind that the number of servings is subjective, dependent on the style of the cake, who is slicing it, and the size of the pieces guests request (wedding cake slices, for example, are smaller than standard sizes).

Cake Pan

Number of Servings

6-inch round

5-11 slices

8-inch round

12-16 slices

9-inch round

12-16 slices

9 x 13 sheet pan

15 large slices or 20 to 40 smaller servings

8 or 9-inch square

9-16 servings

Angel food pan

12-16 slices

Bundt cake pan

12-16 slices

Use the above guide on standard servings to make figuring out the cake size and pan you need so much easier—and read on, below, for more context.

chocolate vanilla pudding cake sliced
Credit: Lennart Weibull

Round Cake Pans

Think about cake and, chances are, a round layer option comes to mind. That's why round cake pans are some of the most popular iterations on the market, since they offer versatility in the number of layers.

Generally, a round cake—whether it is one, two, or three layers—will yield the same number of servings. The taller the cake, the thinner you'll likely want to slice, though. Based on cakes that are between 3 and 6-inches high, a 6-inch round cake will yield 5-11 servings; an 8-inch round will yield 12-16 servings; and a 9-inch round will produces 12-16 servings.

Kathleen Meisinger a certified executive pastry chef and instructor in Stonington, Conn., loves to use 8-inch three-layer cakes for birthdays and other special meals shared with family and friends. "They are pretty on the table and when cut," says Meisinger, adding that a two-layer 9-inch round is also an excellent option and offers more decorating space, but it will not be as tall.

orange poppyseed sheet cake
Credit: Con Poulos

Sheet Pan

For a large gathering, a sheet cake made in a 9 x 13-inch pan will likely yield the most servings. Depending on how you slice the cake, you can expect to get 15 larger pieces of cake or 20 to 40 smaller pieces.

"When in doubt about how many servings I need, I always love to bake an additional 9 x 13 sheet cake, since it will give me up to 40 additional servings on top of the cake already made," says custom cake baker Justin Ellen, the owner of Everything Just Baked!.

strawberry swirl bundt cake
Credit: Marcus Nilsson

Bundt Cake Pan

With their round configuration and hollow center, Bundt cakes offer flexibility when it comes to serving sizes. Expect to get 12 to 16 slices from a typical Bundt cake pan.

"A Bundt cake takes the guesswork out of portioning, as the geometry of the cake's design gives you nice slicing marks for equally sized portions," says Jennifer Dalquist, the EVP of sales and marketing at bakeware brand Nordic Ware. "Thanks to its scalloped repeating design, a classic Bundt provides the opportunity to cut narrow or wide slices with precision, letting you cater to the preference of your guests—including the one who requests, 'Just a super thin half slice for me!'"

angel food cake

Angel Food Cake Pan

An angel food cake pan is similar to the aforementioned Bundt, which is why you can expect to derive a similar number of servings from it—which should fall anywhere between 12 to 16 slices.

Chocolate brownie squares with walnuts on cutting board
Credit: GETTY IMAGES

Square Pan

Typically used for bar cookies, including brownies and blondies, an 8 or 9-inch square pan can also be pulled out for one-layer cakes. "An 8-inch square pan is my go-to for making gooey desserts for a family treat," says Meisinger. You can expect to get 9 to 16 slices from a cake or bar cookie made in a square cake pan.

The Most Popular Cake Pans

So, which cake pan are the most versatile—and which ones should you absolutely have in your kitchen? The answer depends on what you like to bake or what you bake most often. If you never make an angel food cake, for example, skip that pan.

Meisinger suggests stocking up on one 8-inch square pan, a set of 3 x 8-inch round pans or 2 x 9-inch round pans, and one 9 x 13-inch pan in your kitchen; each which will hold about 3 pounds of batter. "I keep only these pans in my home kitchen," says Meisinger, noting that this comprehensive set has her covered for just about any baking project.

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