Thursday, June 13, 2013

Dessert Bars & Cupcakes: How Many Do I Need?

Do you want to be the person who runs out of dessert?

I get asked all of the time: how many cupcakes should I order for 100 guests? How many pieces of dessert should I get for 30 guests?  Are you sure I need enough cake for 1 slice per person?

When I reply with a number-- most people say, "WOW, that sounds like a lot." To be frank...here's why you're wrong.

Recently, I was involved in a big event (let's pretend it was a wedding) and we created a fancy and fabulous dessert bar instead of placing individual trays on pastries on each table. Here's what happened: I recommended to the client that we figure on 3.5 - 5 pieces per person.  The client said, "WHOA--- that sounds like a lot." Their response was that when they place a platter of 30 pieces of dessert on a table- there's TONS of leftover-- My response was, of course-- you have to be polite at a table of 8 people when they put a tray of 30 pieces down.  You'll take one or two to be polite, so everyone gets some. Would you be the greedy one who gets the platter first and grabs 5 pieces? Probably not.

Now, that's switch it around, you're in a line of people at a beautiful and abundant dessert table - and there are 5 different choices for dessert -- what do you do? Try one of each?!?  Of course! Everyone will take one of each (5 pieces per person).

Begrudgingly, I settled on 2.5 pieces per person. GUESS WHAT??! They ran out.

My point is this: Do you want to be the person who runs out? Probably not.  So here's my suggestion when it comes to servings.

Cupcakes: 1 - 1.25 per person
Cake: 1 slice per person
Miniature Desserts:   Mini Dessert Only, 4-5 pieces per person.  Cakes and Mini Desserts: 3-4 pieces of dessert per person, .75 pieces of cake per person.

You may be asking where am I getting the fraction of a piece of dessert or cake from? Well, this is pastry chef talk for: some people will have 1, some will have 0...let's plan in the middle.

Don'ts for Dessert Bars, Cakes and Cupcakes:

DON'T: Plan on serving 1/2 slices.  This is the most absurd idea I've ever seen printed on TheKnot.com! First of all, the cake may be good, but your guests will want to know WHICH BAKERY plans on such tiny pieces of cake. DO: Choose a less costly cake or dessert option.

DON'T:  Have too many dessert options.  The more flavors you have, the more pieces you'll need per person. DO:  Limit the flavors to 2 types of cake or cupcakes, 4-5 maximum different flavors/types of dessert on a dessert bar.

DON'T: Be the person that thinks that no one eats dessert.  When it's free-- people will eat it! DO: Choose the appropriate number of pieces per person
Cupcakes: 1 - 1.25 per person
Cake: 1 slice per person
Miniature Desserts:   Mini Desserts Only, 4-5 pieces per person.  Cakes and Mini Desserts: 3-4 pieces of dessert per person, .75 pieces of cake per person.

DON'T:  Lie to your baker about your guest count to bring down the cost of your dessert bar or cake.  When you run out, the first thing you'll do is drop their name-- in a bad way. DO:   Tell your baker about your budget and dilema.  We're always happy to help a bride or groom who is honest and flexible.

1 comment:

Mary said...

As a baker beginner and a client this is the most honest post I've ever read. Thank you!

I'll take this as reference for my baby shower dessert table :D

Mary

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