Wedding Cake Ideas That Are Delightfully Perfect


I think I need them all

by Stephanie Kaloi

Ruffled - photo by http://www.jennasaintmartin.com/ - http://ruffledblog.com/driftwood-wedding-inspiration/

Photo by Jenna Saint Martin, Cake by Rosycakes via Ruffled

I love good wedding cake ideas. As a longtime wedding photographer and also as a human being, I like any wedding cake you throw at me, as long as I can eat it. In fact, I have always thought that no wedding cakes are too pretty to eat. Or, well, that was my rule until I started researching wedding cake ideas, and quickly realized that there are some edible works of art out there that I might be scared to eat. But, you know, I’m never one to shy away from a challenge.

But before we fall down the rabbit hole of wedding cake ideas together, let me reassure you: just because the Internet is filled with examples of incredible wedding cakes doesn’t mean your wedding cake has to be fancy. Quite the opposite. We’re big fans of turning grocery store sheet cakes into your wedding cakes, and have great tips if you want to bake your own wedding cake. But hell, you also don’t even have to have cake. Favorite alternatives include pie and cupcakes, and I think you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who would say no to an ice cream bar.

That said, perhaps you’re just here for the fabulous wedding cake ideas and dreaming of eating them. Or maybe you want information about what a wedding cake costs, and how to pick a baker you like. Either way, we gotcha.

CLASSIC WEDDING CAKE Ideas

If I walked into a cake shop and said, “I would like a classic wedding cake at my wedding,” I’m 95 percent sure the baker would know exactly what I mean—more simple than not, lightly adorned, and wrapped in white buttercream frosting or fondant (don’t worry, we’re going to discuss that divide in just a sec). Whichever way you go, trust this: just as there will always be droves of people who want to don a big white gown on their wedding day, there will always be a large crowd of admirers of the classic wedding cake. Sometimes bakers mix it up by adding a leaf or ribbon (or both), but there’s a reason these cakes became timelessness—they’re just that good.

classic wedding cake ideas Photo by Jemma Keech, Cake by The Cake & I

wedding cake outsidePhoto by Jemma Keech, Cake by The Cake and I

traditional-cake-5Photo by Peaches and Mint Photography, Cake by Lily Cupcake via Brides

classic white wedding cakePhoto by Cunningham Photo Artists, Cake by Joann Hallmark via Style Me Pretty

classic white wedding cakePhoto by AJ Dunlap, Cake by Suarez Bakery

TRENDY WEDDING CAKE Ideas

Wedding cake trends are quite possible my favorite of all wedding trends. Just when I’m convinced that there’s no other way to make wedding cakes even more spectacular, someone comes along and hand paints flowers onto a cake. Or covers it in geodes, or appears to have dipped the entire creation in gray magic and made one of the cooler ombre wedding cakes I’ve seen. Also cool? The rise of the metallic wedding cake. (Truly, of all the wedding cake ideas here, I think metallic is my fave.)

Of course, a lot (maybe all) of these weddings wouldn’t be possible without wrapping the cakes in fondant first—which brings us to our buttercream versus fondant debate. In the world of wedding cakes, fondant is a loaded term. But you know what? If you see a cake on TV, it’s probably got fondant on it. Most of the #flawless wedding cakes you see on Instagram? They’re wrapped in it. In fact, most of the cakes you’ll see below are wrapped in it.

So what’s the big deal? Fondant is more expensive than buttercream, and it has a texture unto itself (it’s a little like marshmallows). But if you want your cake to be smooth and polished, fondant is the ticket. Good fondant can be pretty tasty, but even if it’s not, ain’t nobody got time for people who complain about free cake. You do you. In the mean time, look at these:

metallic wedding cake ideasPhoto by Jenna Saint Martin, Cake by Rosycakes via Ruffled

hand painted wedding cakePhoto by Anne Paar Photography, Cake by Sweet Deer Hand Painted Cakes via The Bohemian Wedding

metallic and floral wedding cakeCake by Palmero’s Bakery, Floral Design by Magnolia via Style Me Pretty

geode wedding cakePhoto by Stacy Anderson Photography, Cake by Shazdeh Cakes via Strictly Weddings

gray ombre wedding cakePhoto by Clary Pfeiffer, Cake by Gingersnap Sweets & Such via Style Me Pretty

FLORAL WEDDING CAKE ideas

Flowers have long been a go-to for easy wedding cake decoration, because it’s hard to beat nature’s beauty. Whether you go subtle and light (think pastels) or bold and dramatic (hello, tropical inspiration!), flowers are an affordable and beautiful way to fancy up your wedding cake.

pink floral wedding cakeCake by Wildflower Cakes

cake with flowers and an arrowPhoto by Heather Saunders Photography via The Knot

floral and metallic wedding cakePhoto by Rachel Havel, Cake by d’Elissious via Style Me Pretty

roses on a wedding cakeCake by The Cake Plate via Green Wedding Shoes

floral wedding cakePhoto by Shea Christine Photography, Cake by Earth and Sugar via Brides

UNIQUE WEDDING CAKE Ideas

“Unique” can be a loaded word—if everything is unique is anything actually unique?—but sometimes, it’s the only word you can use. I mean, how else are you going to describe a wedding cake that hangs upside down?

upside down wedding cake ideas

Photo by YouAreRaven, Cake by Vintage Soul Cakes

metallic and floral wedding cakePhotography by Beth Olson Creative, Cake by Rosycakes

blue ombre waves wedding cakeCake by Suarez Bakery

gold glittery cakePhotography by Tausendschon Photographie via Burnett’s Boards

wavecakeCake by Charm City Cakes via Mod Wedding

chocolate wedding cake Ideas

Listen, people, just because wedding cake is oftentimes white doesn’t mean that it can’t also be chocolate. I, for one, am all in for chocolate wedding cake, and if someone figures out how to make a wedding cake that tastes like that sea salt and caramel dark chocolate bar from Trader Joe’s, I’ll get married all over again.

dark chocolate wedding cakePhoto by MorningWild Photography, Cake by Jonathan Caleb via Green Wedding Shoes

chocolate ribbon wedding cakeCake by Marks and Spencer

chocolate cake with pink ribbonPhoto by Gingerale Photography, Cake by Pippa and Polly Cakery via Southbound Bride

simple chocolate cakeCake by Faux Martha

berry chocolate cakePhotography by Monique Serra, Cake by The Sassy Cupcake via Inspired by This

What wedding cake ideas are striking your fancy, I mean sweet tooth, I mean fancy? If you’re already married share a picture of your wedding cake, ideas on how you picked it, and all your best advice.

Stephanie Kaloi

Stephanie is a photographer, writer, and Ravenclaw living in California with her family. She is super into reading, road trips, and adopting animals on a whim. Forewarning: all correspondence will probably include a lot of punctuation and emoji (!!! ? ? ?).

[Read comment policy before commenting]

  • Brynna

    We ordered 6 cakes from a local shop for the regular price, plus one special cake (slightly larger) – it will cost us about $300, which was less than ONE “wedding” cake at another bakery. We get more flavors and who doesn’t love a cake buffet??

  • idkmybffjill

    omg I want to lick that second to last chocolate one. yummmmmm

    • stephanie

      You are one of my faves ever because I often am like OH HELL YES to your comments. 100% agreed on this front.

      • idkmybffjill

        Ha! I’m so flattered. I’m imagining it has yellow cake inside and is therefore perfect.

  • PAJane aka Awesome Tits
    • Amy March

      Easier than they look, and the mistakes are delicious.

    • idkmybffjill

      YUM. They remind me of the chocolate log my grandmum used to make for christmas. A+

  • Amy March

    Does this mean the naked cake trend is dying off? Fingers crossed.

    • idkmybffjill

      Lol – I think they’re really pretty but I like icing. Why don’t they like icing?!

      • Ashlah

        Seriously, I would like to eat all the icing. All of it!

      • savannnah

        Counterpoint: Icing is disgusting and I will be getting a naked cake even if its so 2015. I will send you my unused icing.

        • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

          This is gonna work out well, guys. Everybody wins.

        • idkmybffjill

          Excellent deal. I’ll PM you my address ;).

        • stephanie

          This is very excellent problem solving.

        • I’m with you, savannah.
          Although, an okay compromise (that we went with) was a crumb coat naked cake. i.e., it had a thin layer of icing.

          Just the right amount of sugar.
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/13cbf3b6b58121a562cd6c73e8d6e9f841d9211498e6b1d91aecdffd2ff5ed4b.jpg

          • Rachel

            Is that fruit in the top two layers? Please, tell us more! I want to make sure my daydreams about eating this cake are as accurate as possible.

          • Yes, the top two layers are a white cake with raspberries. I had a slice at someone else’s wedding, and knew what we’d be having at ours…3+ years later, lol.

            The bottom layer is a carrot cake. Whipped cream icing because it was October and it was unlikely to melt. It was all very very good. And the perfect balance of icing to cake with that crumb coat.

        • Lexipedia

          I scrape icing off of everything, unless maaaaaaaybe it is cream cheese frosting on carrot cake, and then have an SO who is an icing fiend. It’s like olives on HIMYM.

      • GotMarried!

        I think icing is far too sweet. Naked cakes forever!

      • Megan

        I would do a bundt over a fully iced cake.

        • Jane

          Agreed. Bundt cakes look so beautiful with so little work! So you can focus on making the food taste amazing! E.g., I made this apple cider donut cake and spent like 80% of the time on baking. 10% of the time decorating, and 10% of the time drinking the leftover hard cider. The sugar has dried a little weirdly in this pic, but it genuinely looked like a giant sugar-coated donut. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/da98b9abd1ead7e4c65466df38752cd59dc47032d8e63bd9a9860ec39088993d.jpg

          • Ashlah

            Yummmm

        • Lisa

          My friend had her mother make 7 chocolate bundt cakes (with icing) for her wedding. She put this edible sparkly dust on them so that they shimmered under the light. They were gorgeous AND delicious!

      • Jane

        I like some icing, but not fondant! And it’s harder to do fancy cakes in advance with buttercream frosting. Or to make truly spectacular designs things without fondant.

      • LadyJanee

        We had a semi-naked cake and there was so much icing (which I love). And caramel sauce (which I also love). And it was amazing.

    • Katharine Parker

      I feel like the naked cake has been part of the rustic trend that’s been big for a while, so we should be poised for something else to take over. But I wonder if the rustic wedding is like skinny jeans or midcentury modern furniture, in that seemingly nothing will challenge their dominance? Certainly among the people I know, rustic weddings remain super popular, including naked cakes.

  • Eenie

    Stephanie was it you who did a facebook live of you baking/frosting a cake? If so, it was hilariously amazing, and one of the few good ways of using fb live I’ve seen.

    We had creme brulee at our wedding instead of cake, but I eat the shit out of any cake/cupcake/pie that is gluten free at someone else’s wedding!

    • Ashlah

      Creme brulee!!!

      • Eenie

        They premade them in these little dishes. I had approximately three because it was my wedding :) https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5008b5ad4c0af25853d2fef4eb82a20394965521cdf8e2480f57b7fb6115d29e.jpg

        • Ashlah

          As you should! I would about die if I found out that was the dessert at a wedding I was attending.

        • Kat

          OMG i’m obsessed with this. Creme brulee is my jam.

          • Lexipedia

            As a literal statement, I would love to be able to spread creme brulee onto things. Or dip things in it.

        • Jessica

          Creme brulee is my favorite. There is a restaurant 3 blocks from my house that makes seasonal flavors and serves them with two spoons which are NEVER needed because I eat the whole thing myself.

          • Eenie

            My husband hates it! But he got chicken and waffles, which I can’t eat. We were both happy :)

          • Jessica

            That’s good! We had pie at our wedding–we got a big one for the cutting and then they served everyone little tarts with 3 different flavors–and one had a gf crust.

          • Eenie

            Yessssss!! GF wedding desserts are such a treat because it’s not very common that the weddings I attend have something for me to eat!

          • Jessica

            My SIL and several of my husband’s aunts have celiac. I went on a grain-free diet last year and now I don’t eat most desserts, so I hear you!

            Creme brulee, flourless chocolate cake and chocolate mousse = my jam.

          • Jane

            There are also a lot of very rich, flourless torts out there that are GF. My family really likes all those dark heavy chocolate desserts so we have been making them for years even though we all eat gluten. Since I’m doing a cake buffet I figure I can have at least one cake that has no flour, one that has no nuts, etc. and just have helpful signs.

          • Eenie

            I love a good dense chocolate dessert. If it’s for allergy concerns, make sure to have extra serving utensils! I’d personally be fine, but I know some people would still be sick from cross contamination – the devil of any buffet really.

    • stephanie

      LOL I DID. I need to do another!

      • Eenie

        Please FB live any DIY things you do for your new wedding BFF.

        • stephanie

          YES!

  • lamarsh

    We’re not big cake people, so we are having a “cake” made of cheese wheels. I am more excited about this than any other detail at our wedding.

    • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

      …I am crashing your wedding for the cheese cake.

    • jammers

      Umm I LOVE this idea. Cake while drunk always makes me grumpy (because of the sugar? I donno), but a cheese binge while a little lit…. that’s the stuff that dreams are made of.

    • Megan

      I’m doing the same thing. We can’t afford full cheese wheels (also, that would leave us with over 30 lbs of cheese… which is enough to feed 3x the number of people attending our wedding!) so I’m pulling a trick out of the bakers handbook and making faux cheese wheel tiers for the bottom three tiers and putting a smaller 1 lb wheel on the top for cutting. It’s been an interesting experience crafting the bottom tiers and hope they come out as I hope they will! fingers crossed!

    • Jessica

      I want to go to there.

  • jammers

    I need to know how the upside down cake works!

    • idkmybffjill

      I very nearly said HOW aloud.

    • Katharine Parker

      I found this guide explaining it: http://bridalguide.com/blogs/bridal-buzz/chandelier-wedding-cakes

      “Cheryl McMillan from Perfect Ending Cakes gave us a quick tutorial on how a chandelier cake is constructed. First, she starts with a wood base that’s covered in fondant to match the color and design of the cake. Then, she screws in a wooden dowel that’s one inch longer than the length of the entire cake. Each tier is placed on a masonite board with a hole in the center, draped with fondant, and more plastic dowels are added for support. The tiers are stacked on top of one another and a hook is placed at the top of the dowel, which is hooked onto a veranda flower stand. Voilà!”

  • We didn’t care a ton about a cake, but my aunt offered to make one (she’s a professional cake decorator). We sent her a few pictures of talavera tile inspired cake we liked but told her to do as much or as little as she saw fit, it was a gift and we didn’t want to put her out. OMG, we got the most amazing cake ever. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e45427135cd356db435b579d7452fb1e7d5ec3088ec90cc75a35ed1f7dacd2aa.jpg

    • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

      WOW.

    • idkmybffjill

      WHOA.

    • Lisa

      OH. MY. GOODNESS. That’s amazing!!

    • Katherine

      This is so cool.

    • Laura

      Speechless. That is one of the best wedding cakes I’ve ever seen!

      Possibly the best.

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  • Emily

    I literally forgot to order a cake until 2 weeks before my wedding–so we went simple (classic?) and small with buttercream frosting and extra flowers from what we ordered. Please disregard nephew and husband’s rum and coke. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2aa8aa33b599422e2f9cc70d13935b60d370a255899389530729dab47aa8fbe5.jpg

  • emilyg25

    I made my own wedding cake. It wasn’t the world’s most beautiful thing, but it meant a lot to me to do it. It was flavored after my grandmother’s blackberry cobbler and a cocktail we had on our second date (blackberry gimlet, so lime). We cut and served it to all our guests as our first act of hospitality as a married couple (this is very messy!).

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ec7c050ddd7ace104c0d21210c25b65777e1606bc8c24e4ad2b547b8bd573ef2.jpg

    • Katharine Parker

      I’ve heard of a few couples serving the cake at their wedding. It always sounds lovely. And your cake sounds and looks delicious.

    • Ashlah

      It’s beautiful, and sounds delicious! Love that you served it yourselves.

    • Hannah

      I also love the idea of serving cake to our guests! How did you handle the logistics of that?

      • emilyg25

        I did a lot of googling “how to cut a wedding cake,” haha. Each tier is on a cardboard round, so you just lift it off, remove the dowels, and cut. I got frosting all over my dress, so I’d recommend an apron if that’s something you’re worried about. It also takes a while to cut 100 pieces of cake! I hadn’t really anticipated that. In retrospect, I might have planned something between the ceremonial first cut and the actual serving so our guests weren’t just staring at us. Thankfully, we had a really casual wedding, a little awkwardness wasn’t a big deal. This is a good representation of the mess!
        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/50eff5adc9191922d37fcea54d84f7c52a0a490265ce54fc1cbf6e03cbee2e35.jpg

        • penguin

          Haha my nightmare would be having our families all sitting around staring at us while we desperately try to cut the cake. I do love the idea of us cutting and serving the cake though, so who knows. If our wedding ends up being relatively small then I may do this. Thanks for the apron tip! I wouldn’t have thought of that.

          • quiet000001

            I think a compromise if you want to have that moment of hospitality but are worried about being all thumbs with everyone watching would be to have the caterer or venue cut and plate, but you and spouse actually pass it out.

            If you want to feel like you are doing a bit more than just passing out cake, you could perhaps add a sauce or a spoonful of berries or something to the plate yourself – just keep the messy cake slicing part with the experts. :) (Sauces can be put in squeeze bottles to help contain the mess and let you do a decorative zig zag or small puddle on the plate.) Just go with something that compliments the flavor of the cake.

          • penguin

            Great idea, thanks!!

    • Jane

      I love it! In my ideal world I would make all our cakes – I just don’t see that happening with time and number of guests.

      Although – sometimes – I just think, I could make a million batches of brownies in one day (which most of my family prefers to cakes, anyway) . . .

      • LadyJanee

        We had a wedding cake but I also made (and decorated) close to 300 cookies because I love baking cookies and wanted to give them as favours. I ordered a special cookie cutter and recruited my bridesmaids and fiance (at the time) and got it done. So the brownies would be possible! It’s also possible to make them ahead of time and freeze them so you don’t have to do them all at once.

    • Jane

      Also, love the birds topper!

  • Katharine Parker

    Some of these are gorgeous. I love the floral painted cake–swoon.

    I’m not having a cake, but I’m excited about my dessert buffet featuring a croquembouche. Doing the dessert tasting is the most exciting step of wedding planning so far–everyone is clamoring to help!

  • idkmybffjill

    Oh oh amatuer tip: practice cutting a cake before your wedding if you’re doing that. I literally did not know how to do it and all the pictures are me making that smile grimace face one makes when one is out of their league, and my husband just looking mildly alarmed. Lol

    • Ashlah

      I sorta wish we’d done this. Turns out you need to cut a much smaller piece for feeding each other than you would for a plate. It just never occurred to us at all. It was a bit of an unflattering mess trying to cram a giant slice of cake into each others’ mouths!

      • idkmybffjill

        we couldn’t even get the slice out! I just reached into the cake between where I’d made the knife indentions and took it from there. The caterer fixed my mess thank god. pahaha

    • jammers

      Ha!! Adding “practice cake cutting” to planning checklist… now. Might have to be weekly…

      • idkmybffjill

        way better than the moment of terror when someone hands you the knife and wedge thing (what is it even called?!) and you’re like… uh. Just gonna stick these in here twice and call it a day!

    • LadyJanee

      I just laughed out loud remembering us trying to cut our cake at our wedding! It was a lot more dense than we expected and it was really hard to get our cake knife through it! There’s this photo of me where I’m kinda like ‘eek!’ while trying not to panic…

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7e90a473c3c9913f4151d7bd505f1eb761ea4e67a1a7accb375ac612c585a274.jpg

  • Pingback: 25 Wedding Cake Ideas That Will Make You Hungry – Jewelry Finder 4 U()

  • clarkesara

    Question for folks with Opinions about wedding cake.

    My best friend from college is baking my cake. Yay! It’s going to be lemon, strawberry, and mascarpone cheese. Yay! The two of us agree that it would look both appropriate (to give a hint what type of cake it is) and aesthetically nice if the cake were decorated with preserved lemons, strawberries, maybe some lemon leaves if we can get them.

    My groomzilla fiance wants a cake topper.

    What should we do, elegant lemon/berry/leaf decoration, or just make my FH happy and plop a cake topper on there? Unfortunately we probably can’t do both, because the cake topper he wants to use doesn’t “go”. Though I guess “weird clashing cake topper/cake decor mishmash” would also be fine.

    • emilyg25

      I vote “weird clashing cake topper/cake decor mishmash”! Compromise isn’t always pretty!

      • Eenie

        Yes, plus you can take a picture of it before the cake topper goes on and choose to only remember it like that :)

      • penguin

        That would be my vote as well, or have the cake topper on top and then the fruit decorations around the bottom, or on the edges of the layers (if that makes sense). I think it would work, depending on the size of the fruit decorations you had in mind.

        • Amy March

          Agreed.

    • idkmybffjill

      What are your feelings on grooms cake? Could he have a seperate smaller one with the topper? Or would that ruin it for him? I feel like I’ve known a surprising amount of grooms who really really cared about cake toppers.

      • penguin

        Is the groom’s cake just a separate cake? Not snarky, just curious, because I am always a fan of more cake. Also, does that get served at the wedding or like at the rehearsal dinner?

        • idkmybffjill

          Yep! At weddings I’ve been to where there was one, usually the regular cake is more traditional flavors, and the grooms one is smaller and seperate – also served at the wedding but usually a richer/less traditional flavor. Usually chocolate!

        • clarkesara

          I’m from the South, so am totally up for a Groom’s Cake. And the topper would definitely work better for that. It would be a great surprise for him, too. Am discussing this with Baker Friend now. Thanks for the perfect solution!

    • CMT

      I vote both!

    • Katharine Parker

      Do you like the cake topper he wants to use? Because if you don’t, I could see an option C, which is get a different cake topper that would work with your lemon/berry/leaf idea. Or, instead of doing a tiered cake, arrange each cake on a cake stand of differing heights–do one with the cake topper, and the others with the fruit. Or just do it all together. Someone with a good eye should be able to arrange them in an aesthetically pleasing way.

    • LucyPirates

      ‘Groomzilla’ – amazing!…

  • Laura C

    As I told the woman who made our wedding cake, childhood experiences at birthday parties and the like left me with the gut feeling that the better a cake looks, the worse it tastes. All those cakes where the frosting would get eaten and the cake would be left, and then my classmates would come to my birthday party and someone would accidentally discover that the cake under the not-perfectly-smooth chocolate frosting actually did taste good.

    I’m sure that fancy bakeries for grown-ups are better than wherever all those childhood birthday cakes came from, but I can’t make myself stop assuming it. And since I can’t eat most wedding cakes because they have gluten and I have celiac, I don’t have many chances.

    • idkmybffjill

      Big fan of tasty over pretty. Ours was a spice cake with buttercream icing. It looked real basic but tasted DELICIOUS. Sorry about celiac, that is a tough one.

    • penguin

      Wholeheartedly agree, homemade looking cakes always taste the best to me. The really perfect looking ones are dry or bland (at least in my head, and in my experience).

    • Rebecca

      I don’t think it’s always true but I have a similar concern that I haven’t been able to totally squash, and a gluten-intolerant best friend… so we’re getting multiples of three kinds of cake from a local bakery, all gluten free, all amaze-balls. Currently working out how many to get for 65 people when I definitely want leftovers…

  • Christy

    My grandmother made us her AMAZING pound cake. It’s in a ring shape (not bundt, but I can’t think of the real name) and it was dusted with powdered sugar. It was AMAZING. Plus we only had 21 people and her cake is really rich and we already had each gotten two desserts with dinner so we got leftovers!

    This wasn’t her first wedding cake, either–she made a three layer, three flavor pound cake for a cousin’s wedding about 20 years ago.