There are a few things we appreciate more than a decadent wedding cake—both in taste and style. Dessert trends come and go, but nothing takes the place of a delicious cake that satisfies more than one of your senses. Our favourite type of wedding cake is the kind that makes a statement by adding to your wedding décor. Pastry chef Emily Lael Aumiller personally adores the marriage of a sophisticated aesthetic with a relaxed design. "Whether the cake is naturally iced, adorned with fresh fruit, decorated with intricate sugar work or fresh, edible flowers, I strive to create a dessert that tells a story," she explains.
For bohemian brides, we love delicate flower wreaths, organically placed leafy vines, or anything with an earthy feel. If your style is more contemporary, a sleek, smooth finish and geometric details will always do the trick. If you're more of a classic bride, traditional white isn't your only option; hand-painted florals, watercolours, and subtle ruffles all evoke a timeless touch. If your reception is outdoors, consider taking inspiration from your surroundings. "It's your wedding, your cake, your day," says Aumiller. "Focus on the dream cake you'll want to devour for your celebration. Let your baker determine what designs will be the safest based on external circumstances."
With that said, we've rounded up 70 gorgeous cakes that promise to do just that. No matter your taste (literally and figuratively), we've got a cake for every wedding style. Which one is your favourite?
Choosing your wedding cake can be one of the most creative and fun parts of your wedding preparations. We've already covered our top tips when choosing a wedding cake. Today we're delving into the pretty side of choosing your cake, and we've tonnes of gorgeous pictures to help you decide the style of cake you'd like for your wedding.
When choosing your wedding cake, make sure that it not only matches the style and theme of your wedding and reception but that it is a proper reflection of you both as a couple. The whole process of picking your cake can be really fun and personal - think of the delicious tastings!
- Classic round or square cake with multiple tiers and cream or white fondant icing. Tiers can be stacked, freestanding or on pillars between each layer to add extra height.
- Traditionally fruitcake is used, especially if the bride and groom want to keep a part of the cake for their first anniversary.
- Traditional style cakes are iced in white, with white detailing piped onto the cake or decorated with flowers and ribbon.
- A cake with a modern twist on the classic wedding cake.
- Unique and custom made cakes which are a reflection of your individuality and personality. If you like to stand out and want your cake to be remembered by your guests, then this is the way to go.
- Today's bride and grooms are opting to use various flavours in their wedding cakes. The most popular flavours are chocolate, caramel, white chocolate, biscuit and carrot cake.
Having a hard time deciding what flavour wedding cake to serve at your reception? You're not alone. So many couples struggle to make this big dessert decision. To help make it easier, we asked four cake bakers from around the country to share the flavours they are most frequently asked to make for brides and grooms.
A guaranteed crowd-pleaser, classic vanilla cake is a go-to option for many brides and grooms. The deliciously simple flavour works well with nearly any type of frosting and filling. But, according to Jennifer Toce, owner of Birchgrove Baking in Montpelier, Vermont, "We get quite a few requests for vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream. It's a classic for a reason!"
As a richer alternative to vanilla, the chocolate cake also reigns supreme at weddings. The indulgent dessert is often complemented with buttercream, caramel, or raspberry. Toce says that chocolate cake with raspberry mousse is easily their most requested delicacy. Variations of chocolate cake, including dark chocolate and German chocolate, also share the spotlight.
Lisa Lundin, head baker and cake artist at Just Desserts Bakery and Cafe in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, says funfetti has drastically risen in popularity. The colourful cake is characterized by its abundance of sprinkles, which are mixed into the batter prior to baking. Betsy Thorleifson, the owner of Nine Cakes in Brooklyn, New York, credits funfetti's popularity to its inherent fun factor. "It's truly fun and always brings out smiles!" she says.
A zesty and tangy confection, lemon cake takes centre stage at many warm-weather weddings, since the flavour comes across as tartly refreshing. Lemon cake goes well with lemon frosting, vanilla buttercream, raspberry filling, or fresh berries. What's more, Lundin says it pairs nicely with mousse fillings.
Comforting and festive flavours are highly requested during the cold months. Nellie Metcalf, owner of Nellies Custom Cakes in Claycomo, Missouri, says she sees many orders for carrot and spice cakes during this time of year. Toce agrees, adding that her most popular flavour during the cold-weather months is a cinnamon spice cake with maple buttercream.
In their search for hearty and heavy cakes, many couples marrying in the fall or winter choose rich cakes with bold flavours. Thorleifson says her hazelnut cake with salted caramel and dark chocolate is popular with couples looking for something unique. A similarly rich option is red velvet cake, which is often paired with cream cheese frosting.
Thanks in part to its versatility and sweet flavour, almond cake shows up on big-day dessert spreads everywhere. Toce gets frequent requests for an almond cake with salted caramel and caramel buttercream, while Metcalf's customers prefer a lemon and blueberry filling. Thorleifson chooses to switch things up by offering almond pear cake with a hint of cardamom.
Types of Icing
- Royal icing is a thick paste made from egg whites and sifted icing sugar. It is soft when piped onto the cake, and then it dries to a hard finish. This is the icing that is used to create beading, latticework, flowers and other creations that need to stay firm. This icing is mostly used for decoration and not to ice the whole cake.
- Fondant icing is the most popular icing for wedding cakes because it is so versatile. The icing is a combination of sugar, corn syrup, gelatine and glycerine. It is rolled out in sheets and then wrapped around each tier of the cake, leaving a smooth and clean finish to the cake.
- Buttercream icing is also one of the most popular types of icings as it is soft and easy to cut, therefore perfect for decorations such as a basket weave, swirls, fleur-de-lis, rosettes and swags. The texture is smooth and creamy and not overly sweet. Genuine buttercream is made with real butter, so cakes iced with buttercream will need to be kept in a cool place.
- Marzipan is created from a paste made of ground almonds, sugar and egg whites. It can also be rolled into sheets and moulded into shapes and then painted with food colouring.
- The whipped Cream finish is exactly how it sounds and can add a beautiful texture to a simple cake. Bakers often use special stabilizers in the whipped cream so the cake can be on display during the reception.
- Hand-finishing cakes mean you can get certain finishes like beautiful hand-painted cakes and metallic cakes.
There are lots of possibilities when it comes to the shape of your cake. We've seen all shapes and sizes including round, square, mini, oval, hexagon, octagon, petal and more.
Double-height tiers have become very popular recently where two identical cakes are stacked on top of each other before being iced to look like a single layer.
- Mini Cakes are individual-sized, small, detailed cakes that are served to each one of your guests. The beauty of mini-cakes is that they can be made in a variety of flavours.
- Mini cakes can be a quite costly option as they are all individually made and decorated. A more cost-effective alternative is cupcakes.
- If your heart is set on a beautiful regal style cake with six tiers, delicate sugar flowers, and perfect icing, a DIY wedding cake may not be the best option for you.
- DIY can be a good option if you plan on having a dessert table with a selection of smaller cakes
- Many food stores now stock pre-iced cakes which are ideal for a bride on a budget. Marks and Spencers, Asda and Tesco all have a selection of plain white iced fruit cakes. You can choose to decorate with fresh flowers, ribbon, hand-paint, the list is endless. You could also consider bringing the cake to an experienced cake artist for them to work their magic on the cake, this means the cake will be more unique to you without the added cost of designing a cake from scratch.
Allergy-Free Wedding Cake
- Gluten, nut or dairy-free cakes for guests with dietary requirements can be important, and this can easily be worked around by asking your wedding cake supplier to make one tier gluten, dairy or nut-free.
Tips For An Amazing Wedding Cake
Know Your Wedding Cake Style: We've already talked about getting creative with your cake. Gone are the days of simply accepting that your wedding cake is going to be white and round. There are so many other choices, so do some research and narrow down a design that matches your style, venue and/or colour schemes. The easiest way to get to know your style is to browse wedding cake pictures and save your favourites to show your cake maker.
Learn the Basics: Let's start with the shape of your cake. Beyond the world of round cakes, there are tons of wedding cake design ideas. Square cakes are hugely popular these days as are unique hexagonal, heart-shaped cakes, petal-shaped, and even triangle wedding cakes! Covering your cake also comes with lots of choices. You can choose icing, fondant, buttercream and even naked wedding cakes. Once again, browse wedding cake galleries to get a sense of what you like.
Know Where (And Where Not) To Cut & Save: Cakes are expensive, so expect to pay anywhere between $1.50 up to $20 a slice and beyond depending on a custom cake and where you live. The more complicated the cake, the more you'll pay. Fondant is generally more expensive than buttercream, and if you want elaborate decoration, remember that your cake makers time is probably the highest cost you have. One idea for saving money on your cake is to order your custom cake on a small scale for the ceremony and then order sheet cakes of the same flavour to be cut in the kitchen.
Your Cake Maker/Baker Matters: Once you have a sense of the type of cake you're looking for, it's time to find a cake maker. Your baker starts with your online search. Find reviews, inspiration and then ask questions. Your reception venue and your caterer will also have connections to bakers. Once you have your top few bakers in mind, set up appointments to meet in person and look at their portfolios. You'll discuss the time and place of the wedding, the degree of formality, the colours and what your gown is like. You should bring pictures of cakes you like.
Eat Up. Taste Test: It is no longer acceptable for your wedding cake to look great and taste bad. These days it's what's inside that matters, so you want a baker who makes awesome tasting cakes. When you meet with a shortlist of cake makers, ensure to taste lots of samples. You might also go for flavours based on the season, so ask your bakers advice. That will tell you a lot about them also.
Sign the Contract & Book Your Cake Maker: When you think you've met your match, book your baker. Often, a deposit is required at this time, and you'll also be asked to sign a contract. Before you sign, there are a few important points to tackle: Find out how far in advance the cakes are made before the wedding day and who exactly will be baking and decorating your cake (it's not always the same person). Lock in your baker asap.
Decide How You'll Display It: Have fun dressing up your cake table and thinking about your cake topper. First of all, don't settle for a generic cake stand. Like cake toppers, these days you can find anything you want, so have some fun with it. As for the table, you can drape the table with fabrics or have your florist help you with flowers to match the cake.
Eat A Piece Of Your Own Cake: We can't tell you the number of times we have heard from devastated brides who haven't had the chance to eat their own wedding cake. If you don't have time to sit down at the reception and enjoy a slice, ask your caterer to save some for you before the event. You deserve to enjoy the cake you worked so hard to help create.
However, the wedding cake flavours should be truly representative of the bride and groom's personal taste. "When making decisions for any part of your wedding day, I feel it is important for the couple to choose things they enjoy and reflect themselves as a couple," Kristen says. "It's nice to consider guests with allergies or aversions; however, remember that food choices are exactly that. Guests can choose not to eat a slice of your salted caramel cake if they do not enjoy that flavour."
As for a flavour that's not necessarily a classic? Kristen says there's no need to shy away from a flavour combination that's a bit nontraditional. "If the bride and groom love a flavour that is out of the ordinary and wants to include that in their wedding, by all means, go for it!"
This is just a guide to help you on your way but like the rest of your big day - don't feel like you are stuck doing the same as everyone else, mix it up! Do you and your hubby have two favourite flavours? - alternate those flavours in each of your tiers. Don't want just a round tiered cake? - alternate each tier's shape. Don't want a number of tiers? - Go for one simple tier, beautifully decorated it can be just as stunning as a ten tier cake.
Frequently Asked Questions
Vanilla cake has remained the most common cake flavor at weddings since the 1960s, though its popularity has dipped from 48% of couples married in the 1980s surveyed, to just 26% of couples married in the 2010s surveyed. Chocolate and red velvet have each gained popularity over the years.
Wedding cakes are so much more intricate than a birthday cake. ... For example, we use the same recipe and batter for both cakes but need more batter per pan so the height and size of the cake is appropriate for this grand occasion. The cakes must also be cut and layered with precision.
If they are so expensive, why do wedding cakes often taste so bad? Like most questions that pertain to the $60 billion bridal industry, the answer is an unsavory mixture of tradition, emotion, fashion and cash. Traditionally, wedding cakes are made using methods that stress engineering over flavor.
The symbolism is that the hand of the groom is placed over that of the bride's, to show his support and as a promise to take care of her and their future. ... As for the attendees, having cake after it has been cut by the couple is believed to bring good luck.
Wedding cakes tend to be made well in advance and hang around in the air going dry. It's one of the reasons that they're traditionally wrapped in fondant - it's to try and keep moisture in. The circumstances of weddings make it difficult to keep them nice, but it is possible, you just need a really good baker.