"Thirty ladies are invited to my milk-and-cookies baby shower. How many cookies do I need?"
"We're having a Frozen-themed tea party for my daughter's sixth birthday. Should I get regular cupcakes or Mini Cupcakes? How many?"
"Bob's retirement party is next week. How big of a cake do I need to feed his construction crew of 10 men?"
"Help me! How many cupcakes should I order for my wedding?"
Everyday Muddy's helps customers planning parties in the Greater Memphis Area with dilemmas such as these. We've noticed just how difficult the question of "How much dessert do I need?" is for most people, so decided to share our expertise on the topic with everyone out there on the interwebs!
Emily W. is the assistant manager of Muddy's Bake Shop, and she graciously sat down for an interview to help me in assembling the ultimate guide to "How Much Dessert Do I Need for My Party?"
According to Emily, the fast answer to this question, no matter the event, no matter the number of people, is (drumroll please)... "Plan on one serving per person. Plus a little extra."
Emily says, "Calculating servings is something we help people with all the time. Some will eat two. Some will eat none. It's a safe bet to count one serving per person. You're planning an event for 30 people? Order three dozen. That extra six is a good buffer. Fingers are put into icing, and cupcakes are dropped: don't forget to factor that in. And if you're on the fence about ordering two dozen or three, order the three. Trust me, they will not go to waste!"
What does a serving of a Muddy's Bake Shop goodie look like? For regular-sized cupcakes, it's a single cupcake. For most people, three to four Mini Cupcakes make a serving. If you opt to serve cookies (which Emily notes are a great option for any event--including weddings--for both "budget and funsies"), a standard serving looks like two per person. Our 8" cakes serve 12 to 16 people, our 6" cakes serve 5 to 6, and our 3-layer Cindy Lou Who and Sam I Am Cakes (which are stunning vanilla + vanilla cake options in fun-fun colors!) serve 15 to 18.
Want to serve pie at your event? Our standard, full-size pies offer seven to nine servings "depending on how you slice it," says Emily. Baby pies are one serving each, and 4" pies are a larger single-serving pie as well. 7" pies comfortably serve four if you are having a simple sit-down dinner and don't want leftovers.
Very often, especially in the case of weddings, our customers don't have an exact guest number. They do, however, typically know the number of inventions sent; and we can work with that too! Emily says, "You can typically expect half of the guests invited to any event needing formal invitations." There are exceptions, of course, such as smaller affairs where you have only sent invitations to very close friends and family members; but expect about half of most wedding guest lists to attend the event.
Note, there is a caveat or two to the "one per person, plus a little extra" rule. While some factors don't make a difference (including the time of day and the type of event), some circumstances may mean you should order more or fewer yummies for your guests.
1. Will there be other food? Guests will not be as hungry or expecting as much dessert after a full-course meal (or giant helpings of lasagna) as they will be at a dessert-only reception. Order enough for everyone to have one serving of dessert if it is being eaten after a dinner, but cheat that number up a bit if it is a cake-and-ice-cream-only (or cookies and cocktail) event.
2. Will there be other dessert? If Muddy's cupcakes and Grandma's pie are both being served after a meal, you can cheat a little below the "one per person, plus a little extra" rule. Some will just want pie, some will just want cupcakes. If it's a dessert-only event and you're wanting to offer more than just cake, plan on four to six small portions per person. A typical plate at a dessert-only reception after the opening of an art exhibit, for instance, might look like this: one Prozac (chocolate + chocolate) Mini Cupcake, one Plain Jane (vanilla + vanilla) Mini Cupcake, one Pucker Up (lemon + lemon) Mini Cupcake, one Lemon Dainty Cookie, and one Chocolate Chip Cookie. The very hungry 6'7" fellow who had to skip lunch because of a meeting is likely also going to go back and add an extra couple of cookies to his plate too, which brings us to...
3. Your demographics. A typical wedding crowd, including men, women, and a handful of children, will almost invariably even out to consume the standard "one per person, plus a little extra" of dessert at your party. This rule will also apply at a ladies-only baby shower, or even a co-ed wedding shower. But what if you are feeding a crowd of teenage or grown men? If Muddy's is the only dessert, you can definitely plan on 1.5 to 2 servings per person in this case.
What about a kids' event? For children 10 and under, we highly recommend our Mini Cupcakes! They are fun and easier to eat with little fingers and mouths. This means less mess! Order enough Mini Cupcakes for each child to have two. As for flavor recommendations for littles, Emily W. notes, "We recommend sticking to chocolate and vanilla flavors for little ones. The Classics and the Plain Janes go over well. The vanilla cake seems to be less overwhelming to their developing little tastebuds."
"Don't forget," Emily adds, "little cupcakes are great for adults, too! But be sure to order enough Mini Cupcakes for your guests to each have three to four per big person."
Don't forget to call Muddy's Bake Shop at 901.683.8844 to place your order as soon as you have an idea of how many people you are serving! We recommend for weddings and other larger events, you place your order at least a month ahead of time, to save your place before the date of your event is booked up! For most other smaller events, plan to place your order a week to 48 hours prior to party time. Even if you aren't sure exactly how many servings you need, go ahead and get your estimated order in early. You can always add another cake or pie, or cancel a dozen cupcakes or two, up to 48 hours before your pick up time.
And if you're still confused, give Emily W., or one of her very knowledgable fellow gnomies a call and pick their brains for more advice. They are always happy to help you make your event the envy of every other event in Memphis!