How many people does a sheet cake feed? Well, it kind of depends on the serving sizes.
Oh, and the size of the sheet pan – because what I think is standard might not be for you, right? But in general:
A standard, full-size sheet pan (18×26 inches) will produce about 117 2×2-inch servings. A standard, half-sheet pan (13×18 inches) will produce about 58 servings. And a standard, quarter-sheet pan (9.5×13 inches) will produce about 30 servings. If the edges are trimmed, the servings will be less.
Sheet cakes are some of my favorite ways to feed a crowd. But how many people they feed is a tough question to answer.
You see, I use standard sheet pans like the ones you’d see in a professional kitchen.
But a lot of sheet pan recipes actually call for a jelly roll pan, which has different dimensions.
And then you have serving sizes. I don’t know about you, but a polite 2×2 inch square isn’t nearly enough for me and my family!
Luckily, if you’re wondering, “how many people does a sheet cake feed?” I have a simple method to figure it out.
Sheet Cake Sizes
Let’s talk about sheet pan sizes. Because you need to know how much cake you have before figuring out how many people it’ll serve.
Most bakers refer to these shallow pans as “full”, “half” and “quarter” sizes. And they are the standard in restaurants and bakeries to keep things simple.
I mean, it’s a good idea to know exactly what a “half-sheet” is from kitchen to kitchen, right?
That way, you know the recipe will come out the same no matter where you are.
Here’s the breakdown of the standard sheet pan sizes:
- Full sheet pan – 18 x 26 inches
- Half sheet pan – 13 x 18 inches
- Quarter sheet pan – 9.5 x 13 inches
Looking at those numbers, it’s clear how the standard measurements work.
The full sheet is 26 inches long and 18 inches wide. Meanwhile, the half sheet is 13 inches wide (half the length of the full sheet) and 18 inches long.
So two half sheets will fit side by side in the full sheet (more or less depending on the lips).
And each of these sheet pans is usually around 1 inch thick.
But then we also have the jelly roll pan. And that’s used in a lot of sheet cake recipes.
- Jelly roll pan – 10.5 x 5.5 inches or 12 x 18 inches
Confused yet? Yeah, me too.
And don’t even get me started on cookie sheets! They have all different lengths and widths.
But luckily, they’re not thick enough for sheet cakes.
So if your only “sheet” pan is only half an inch deep, it’s likely a cookie sheet and isn’t the right one for cake.
How Many People Does a Sheet Cake Feed?
So we’re back to the original question: How many people does a sheet cake feed?
Did the sizing help?
No? Don’t worry, I’m not done yet.
I mentioned above that a modest 2×2 inch square of cake isn’t enough for me. But the good news is, my little equation works for any serving size you prefer.
It’s not an exact science. But this will give you a general idea of how many people each size pan will feed.
Ready? Here it goes:
- Find the area of the sheet cake
- Find the area of the serving size
- Divide the pan by the serving size
Sounds easy, huh? Let’s put it into practice:
We’ll stick with the standard sheet pans – though you can easily use the equation with whatever size pan you have.
1. Find the area of the sheet cake
Let’s assume you don’t trim the edges – you slice it right from the pan.
A full sheet cake is 18 x 26 inches. So, to find the area, you just multiply the width by the length:
- 18 x 26 = 468
A half sheet cake is 13 x 18 inches. So, that would be:
- 13 x 18 = 234
A quarter sheet cake is 9.5 x 13 inches. So:
- 9.5 x 13 = 123.5
2. Find the area of the serving size
We’re finding the area again, so you just multiply the width by the length.
- A 2 x 2-inch serving size – 2 x 2 = 4
- A 2 x 4-inch serving size – 2 x 4 = 8
- A 4 x 4-inch serving size – 4 x 4 = 16
And so on.
3. Divide the pan by the serving size
The last step is simple. You need to know how many servings go into the pan.
So, take the area of the pan and divide it by the area of the serving size. Like this:
- Full sheet with 2 x 2-inch servings – 468 / 4 = 117
- Full sheet with 2 x 4-inch servings – 468 / 8 = 58
- Full sheet with 4 x 4-inch servings – 468 / 16 = 29
Does all that make sense? Here are a few more just to be sure:
- Half sheet with 2 x 4-inch servings – 234 / 8 = 29
- Quarter sheet with 4 x 4-inch servings – 123.5 / 16 = 7-8
- Full sheet with 6 x 5-inch servings – 468 / 30 = 15
Okay, that last one is kind of huge. But honestly, I’d manage a slice or two!
Obviously, you won’t be measuring servings exactly. So take these numbers as more of a guide.
More Factors to Consider
Before you get baking, consider the type of event you’re planning. That will make a big difference in the amount of cake you need.
Basically, think about who you’re serving.
- If you have 50 people coming for a party and they like dessert, you’ll probably need a full sheet.
- But if you have a kid’s party where they usually only eat a corner of the cake and scrape off the frosting, you’ll likely have enough with a half sheet.
- If it’s a fancy, black-tie dinner party, chances are most people won’t even have dessert.
When in doubt, it’s always better to round up. After all, extra cake is preferred to running out!
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