If there is one part of your wedding day that puts the icing on the cake, well...it’s your cake! Choosing a cake can be a fun (and delicious) part of planning your wedding, but deciding on colors, flavors, and styles can be a challenge—and the numerous pinterest boards and reality shows dedicated to the dessert of “I do’s” can be overwhelming. There’s so many great ideas, but which one is right for you?
We’re here to help! Weddings are our only gig here at Maravilla Gardens, and we’ve seen hundreds of cakes for every style of couple you can imagine. Choosing a cake doesn’t have to be hard, and you can find one that looks beautiful and tastes great too. The trick is to concentrate on three key elements of your cake: style, season, and size.
What’s Your Style?
Your cake should complement your personal style and wedding aesthetic. Think about your wedding as a whole, from the color of your flowers to the way your dress flows. Do you want your cake to fit in seamlessly, or stand out and wow everyone?
Keeping it traditional: a tiered cake for a classic look
Traditional doesn’t have to mean boring! Even a basic round, white three-tiered cake with buttercream icing can be dressed up with pizzazz, depending on the accents you choose: ombre shading, edible flowers, polka dots, and gilded icing are a just a few of the spectacular ways to dress up a traditional cake. Check out these gorgeous wedding cakes as well as these opulent takes on classic cake designs to jump start your planning.
Pushing boundaries: abstract, otherworldly, or just plain fun
Are you more of a free spirit? Tradition is not for everyone, and your cake is a great way to showcase your unique style or your sense of humor.
Funky shapes, bold patterns, and vivid colors are becoming more popular as couples no longer feel obliged to stay within the traditional wedding mold. If a cake that appears to defy gravity—or one that doesn’t even look like a cake at all—appeals to you, check out these unusual wedding cake ideas to inspire your own showstopper.
Cake? It’s so last season.
What if you simply don’t want cake? More and more couples are choosing to sub in another dessert for their reception centerpiece. We’ve seen pie, macaroons, donuts—even savory cheesecakes. Thinking of going cakeless? You might enjoy these cake alternatives instead.
If you’re in Southern California, check out one of our faves, Frost it Cakery, who can make cakes, apple pies, and so much more!
Season: When is Your Big Day?
It’s important to consider the time of year you’re getting married, especially for an outdoor wedding, where temperature may be a factor, or if you are piggybacking your wedding aesthetic on traditional holiday or seasonal decor.
Christmas trees, warm cider, snow, and holly. Doesn’t it just warm you up inside? There are plenty of ways to style your cake around winter; here in southern California, without frigid temperatures or icy roads, it’s even more fun to call to mind the romantic aspects of the season on your big day! Check out these clever winter cakes that use nature and creativity to hone in on the right look for a cool winter day.
The flowers are in bloom, the birds are chirping, and pleasant smells fill the room! In spring, light, airy, unabashedly pretty cakes are just the thing. This season is also perfect for nature-inspired cakes. Start here to see possibilities for spring cake designs.
Summer can bring a lot of fun to your cake ideas; it’s also nice to have a little more contrast and pop in your cake design on a bright summer day. Flowers are of course classic, but a summer cake can also be beach-inspired, or even made with ice cream (just make sure you plan for a way to keep the cake chilled, especially for an outdoor reception). With an abundance of fruit in season, summer can also be a perfect time to incorporate fresh berries, citrus, or fragrant herbs into your cake design.
Not sure where to start? Here is a great list of over 40 summery cakes to get you going.
Autumn inspires many brides to fall for cake designs that are rich with harvest colors. Designs might include natural wood-grain patterns or elements derived from seasonal holidays such as Halloween and Thanksgiving. To get the creative juices flowing, see these fall cake ideas that run the gamut from shabby chic to flat-out gorgeous.
What time of day are you getting married?
Along with season, consider the time of day you plan to hold your reception. A morning wedding might call for lighter flavors that you may expect at brunch, while an evening affair is perfect for richer flavors such as dark chocolate or caramel.
Size: how many guests will want a piece of cake?
Don’t forget to tailor your cake choice to the number of attendees. A recreation of Prince William & Kate Middleton’s wedding cake might look gorgeous, but it would be overkill for a wedding party of 75. If the cake design you love is too big or small for your needs, an experienced baker should be able to scale it down and still preserve the design elements you want. If you are serving one single cake to all of your guests, 1 serving per guest will be enough. If you are offering up a dessert buffet, bakers recommend a minimum of 2-3 servings per guest. A buffet is enticing, and guests love to indulge in a nibble here and there well before the cake cutting. Having everything on display when the guests walk into the reception gives your photographer time to capture your dessert table.
Tying it All Together
Time to go cake shopping? Follow these steps:
- Pick your wedding colors: Here is a helpful guide that will assist you in matching colors that complement one another.
- Meet with wedding cake bakers. Do a Yelp search or ask your wedding coordinator for references, and meet with bakers several months in advance, at least. And don’t forget to taste their work before engaging a bakery: looks aren’t everything and you’ll want everyone to say your cake was delicious too!
- When you’ve picked your own personal cake boss, show him/her your color swatches, plans for floral accents, and any other major wedding decor pieces so they can tie in your cake design to the rest of the theme.
- Lastly, be sure your baker will have the space and resources they need to set up your masterpiece at the wedding venue you’ve selected. Reputable bakers will want to ensure your cake still looks perfect right up until the moment you and your new spouse cut the first piece, and may require refrigerator space or a designated area for last minute prep.
Now that you’re ready to get started, tell us what cakes inspire you! Share your story in the comment section.