How do I say "I had 3 scoops of ice-cream" or "Put 2 spoons of sugar in the mixture" in case of pudding or cake?

I had 3 pieces of cake.

What word should I use here for pieces, like I did for ice-cream with spoon?

  • Please give me a big piece of that cake. (of that pudding) – JayHook Jul 28 '13 at 13:52
  • I don't think anyone would agree this is the right answer, but as a native speaker I'd probably say a thing of pudding :-) – snailboat Jul 29 '13 at 0:30

For ice cream, we use scoops.

For sugar, we use teaspoons (particularly if we are calling for a precise measurement, as in a recipe), or perhaps spoonfuls for a less precise quantity.

For cake, we could use either pieces or slices.

This Ngram shows that these five phrases have been published in uncannily close frequencies. Note also that I'm writing from the U.S.; other dialects may favor other words.

As for pudding, consider dollop. From NOAD:

dollop (n.) informal a shapeless mass or blob of something, esp. soft food

This recipe, for example, calls for a small "dollop of pudding" between the vanilla wafer and the banana slice:

enter image description here

  • A native speaker would be very unlikely to say "a dollop of pudding", even though there's nothing wrong with it. It does seem to be the perfect term for describing what happens in that recipe. – David Schwartz Jul 28 '13 at 20:26
  • 2
    @DavidSchwartz: I agree, it's a word that you might see in recipes, but you'd be unlikely to hear it often around the dinner table. Terms like "spoonful", "small scoop", or even "just a little bit of that" would be more common, I think. – J.R. Jul 28 '13 at 20:29
  • Actually, if the pudding was being scooped into bowls for serving, I could see myself saying "Can I have a small scoop of pudding?" (Though I wouldn't normally describe a portion of pudding as a "scoop", it more refers to "scoop" meaning "something that has been scooped.") – David Schwartz Jul 28 '13 at 20:32

"Pieces" is fine for cake, though "slices" is probably more common.

You can't have a "piece" or "slice" of pudding as these things must have a definite size and shape. You can have a "spoonful" of pudding though.


In addition to the examples already suggested, if you're telling someone how much pudding you'd like them to serve you, you can ask for "a small (or large) dish of pudding", or a "small bowl of pudding".

There are also some puddings that would be served by the slice or piece:

enter image description here

  • Good point. Christmas pudding is one that is served by the slice or piece. – Tristan Jul 29 '13 at 11:14

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