How Much Frosting for a Cake? Here Are the Amounts You Need to Know

To frost the top, sides, and between the layers of your cake, you may need more frosting than you think. Here's how much frosting you need for each size cake.

When it comes to sweet treats, it's hard to beat a slice of homemade cake. Whether baked in a single 13x9-inch pan or multiple round baking pans for layers, the soft and fluffy confection with sweet frosting is simply irresistible. If you're new to baking, learning how to make cakes that are always moist, fluffy, and baked evenly is the critical first step.

But when you move on to frosting cakes, you might wonder how much frosting is needed to ensure that layered cake or sheet cake is covered properly. Having enough frosting is key to creating beautifully decorated cakes. Unless you're going for the naked cake look (which is also totally beautiful!), it is no fun to break out the ingredients to make another batch of buttercream frosting if you run out during the process. Read on to learn exactly how much icing you need to frost a cake.

icing cake frosting
Blaine Moats

How Much Frosting Do I Need for a Cake?

The amount of frosting needed to decorate your homemade cake will depend on the cake size and type of frosting used. If you're using buttercream, cream cheese, or another thick frosting for your layered cake, here are some frosting quantity guidelines to successfully cover the top, sides, and between the layers.

  • For a two-layer cake: 2½ to 3 cups of frosting
  • For a three-layer cake: 3½ to 4 cups
  • For 12 cupcakes: 2 cups (double the frosting recipe if piping)
  • For a 13x9-inch cake: 3 cups

No one wants to deal with the dread of not having enough frosting halfway through decorating. As a general rule of thumb, it's always a good idea to make more frosting than you need. To ensure you have enough icing the first time (especially if you're piping the frosting), multiply the frosting recipe 1½ to 2 times. Bonus: you can store the leftover frosting in the fridge up to two weeks or freeze up to 6 months to keep it on hand for the next bake.

When decorating your homemade cake, go beyond buttercream frosting by using another homemade frosting, such as cream cheese frosting, caramel frosting, or chocolate-sour cream frosting. Planning a birthday? Make one of our delicious birthday cake recipes from scratch and use one of these easy DIY decorating ideas to make the occasion even more special.

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