A wedding cake has two main functions – it should look amazing and taste great. The wedding cake is often the focal point of the wedding and is given a place of honor at the reception. When properly chosen, the wedding cake ties the theme of the wedding together and expresses your personality and couple style. Cutting the cake is an important part of most weddings with a lot of tradition and ceremony surrounding it. It’s also an excellent photo opportunity and one that will undoubtedly be in your wedding photo album.
So, with all that said, finding the right cake style and flavor becomes an important part of wedding preparation. Here’s a list of the most popular wedding cake styles and flavors for inspiration.
- Do I Need a Wedding Cake?
- The Most Popular Wedding Cake Styles and Flavors
- Best Wedding Cake Flavors
Do I Need a Wedding Cake?
You might be wondering whether you really need a wedding cake, because sometimes it seems as though no one really eats the cake and justifying the cost might be difficult.
A wedding cake is a staple of any wedding. Your guests will expect a cake, and just like the bride’s bouquet toss, the cake really is a must-have for any wedding. It’s often the focal point of the reception.
Having said that, a traditional layered cake is not the only option out there. There are wedding cake options for all tastes and wedding styles. If you feel it isn’t right for you, you could always be a trendsetter and start your own tradition cakelessly. After all, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to your wedding.
But if you’re still looking for cake-related inspiration, check out our comprehensive list of the most popular wedding cake flavors and styles.
The Most Popular Wedding Cake Styles and Flavors
Flavor and style often go hand in hand to make the perfect wedding cake for your wedding. The style of cake that you choose often has much to do with the kind of wedding you are planning but typically cakes can be made in any flavor of your choosing once you know what style you want your cake to be. So first, select your flavor and then choose the style.
Whether you’re having a beach wedding, a garden wedding or a fairytale wedding, you’ll want to select the right kind of cake for the theme of your wedding. Here are the most popular wedding cake styles.
1- Floral Cake
Always a classic style, this type of cake is what most people think of when they are imagining a wedding cake. The cake itself is almost always white but the flowers might be silver, gold, or multi-colored. This is an elegant, classic and truly beautiful cake style that can be made in many sizes to fit the number of guests that you are trying to provide cake to.
Many wedding organizers or planners feel that floral cakes are the best for summer weddings as they are automatically on theme for the weather and time of year, but a floral cake is always classic and will fit into any style of wedding.
2- Naked Cake
This cake style is a bit new to the wedding scene but has roots in historical wedding cakes before the introduction of fancy sugar decorations and fully covered cakes. Naked cakes are often made with fresh fruit and are typically decorated with actual fruit garnishes or can have real flowers tied around the middle of the cake with decorative ribbon.
Perfect for a country, boho or forest themed wedding, this style is practical but still very beautiful with an added note of fun and whimsy. It’s a very natural looking cake and very eye-catching. It also pairs well with cupcakes if you don’t want a single cake for the entire wedding guest list.
3- Metallic Cake
A metallic cake is the pinnacle of fancy wedding styling and are ideal for contemporary weddings. They are usually finished in gold, bronze or silver and almost look inedible due to their high gloss and perfect finish. These cakes are seen year-round but are often most associated with upscale or nighttime weddings. They are often decorated with flowers, whether real or sugar, but can also be embellished with ribbon or lace. This is the kind of cake that is the perfect thematic centerpiece for a large reception at a modern wedding and makes for beautiful photos of the cake serving ceremony.
4- Lace Cake
Lace cakes are another newcomer to the scene and are very versatile. They can suit any wedding, depending on the styling of the cake. They’re ideal for casual, woodland themed weddings but also fit the bill for an upscale, fancy do. This cake style pairs well with a summer wedding but can also pair perfectly with a vintage or a nighttime wedding. The lace might be paired with flowers or beading and can even be made to shimmer and glitter. Sometimes the lace is added for depth and other times it is the focal point of the cake itself. This is an elegant and stylish cake that will wow any wedding reception.
5- Custom Theme
Are you having a woodland wedding? Maybe you are having a beach-themed wedding? If you want your cake to match your wedding theme perfectly, there are cake designers out there who can decorate your cake with seashells, superheroes or even architectural elements, exactly as you want it. Custom cakes allow you to express your personality.
A custom cake will cost more, but it can really tie together a themed wedding and be the final note in the theme that makes the day flawless. Most custom cakes are not very large and often cupcakes are provided for guests to eat rather than having to make a custom cake big enough to feed an entire wedding reception.
6- Chalkboard Style
Made with black sugar paste, the chalkboard cake will perfectly imitate a chalkboard. These cakes are usually customized with a saying, dates for the wedding and bride and groom’s names or might even be covered in scrollwork and custom art. These stunning and unusual cakes are perfect for a wedding that is a bit non-traditional or casual but can also be made to match an upscale, fancy wedding. This style of cake is a true work of art and will make a truly memorable cake cutting.
7- Marble Wedding Cake
Perfect for a classy wedding or an outdoor setting that has fancy buildings in the background, this style of cake is truly a work of art. Marble cakes look like they are made of marble and are as gorgeous as they are simple. Typically, this type of cake will be unadorned and can be made large enough for even a big wedding reception. This is the kind of cake that doubles as a fantastic table centerpiece.
8- Tall Cake
Elegant, tall, slender wedding cakes are a classic choice and can have lots of wow factor compared to a more modest cake. This is the right choice to make if you have a large wedding reception planned and also want to have a stunning and beautiful cake on display for your reception. This type of cake can be themed, decorated in flowers or even have multiple styles at work such as flowers and lace. Pick the perfect cake topper for a tall cake and you will have an awe-inspiring centerpiece at your wedding reception.
9- Cupcake Arrangement
Are you having a backyard wedding? Will you have lots of kids at your wedding reception? Do you want everyone to be able to have a taste of your cake without having to slice up an entire layered cake? If any of these sound like you, a cupcake arrangement might be for you.
Often brightly colored and fanciful, cupcakes can be served in trays that make them appear to be a layered cake or they can simply be served on a table individually. Cupcakes are easy, fun and can be made to be as simple or as ornate as any cake style you might like. When arranged masterfully, they can really ‘take the cake’.
10- Painted Cake
Hand-painted cakes are as gorgeous as any cake and possibly even more unique. Are you wearing a dress that has two colors or are you setting up an art deco wedding? Maybe you just love the elegance of a painted cake rather than a regular frosted and decorated one. There is nothing as beautiful and unique as a hand-painted cake and they fit into any style of wedding. Often floral designs are used, but you can pick any theme you want with the right cake artist. This is a great blend of modern and antique design notes that will be beautiful for a wedding of any size and style.
11- Unique Cake Arrangements
Unique, unorthodox dessert arrangements are in style and an excellent way to showcase your wedding theme. While cake is the most popular of these options, you can also opt for other types of dessert including macaroons, brownies or fudge. One benefit of these kinds of arrangements is that you have a wide choice of colors and designs to choose from, and because they’re unique, they make for excellent centerpieces that are sure to catch the eye.
12- Minimalist Wedding Cakes
Keep it clean and uncluttered with a minimalist wedding cake. Minimalist wedding cakes are sweet and simple and don’t really steal the spotlight. Opt for one or two focal colors, and a well-chosen decoration or two. White and pale pastels are the favorite choices for minimalist wedding cakes, with floral motifs commonly chosen to complete the look. A simple yet eye-catching cake topper will complete the look.
Best Wedding Cake Flavors
Now that you know the style of cake you are after, you can choose the flavor of your cake. Your cake should be as tasty as it is beautiful, and knowing what flavor palette you are interested in can really narrow down the decision process when you meet your cake designer.
Red Velvet: This flavor is eternal. It has been around for years and never seems to dip in popularity. It looks beautiful as well as tasting fantastic and has a modest flavor palette that suits many kinds of taste. This is the perfect choice if you are opting for a floral cake or a traditional white cake as it looks beautiful when the cake is cut.
Grand Marnier: French flavor palettes have always been popular and adding a touch of cognac to your cake can make the flavor really memorable as well as lush and comforting. Many cake designers offer up a Grand Marnier flavor option for a night wedding or a holiday wedding as there is something about the sweetness and richness of Grand Marnier that seems to go with after hours gatherings or holiday ceremonies.
Chocolate: Always a classic, chocolate is a great choice for all ages. The best part about chocolate is that it pairs well with icings and fillings and also looks beautiful when sliced out of a layer cake. Chocolate also has the benefit of coming in different degrees of sweet so you can decide what level of sweetness you want your cake to offer.
Lemon: Lemon has long been associated with pastries and cakes and is the perfect blend of tart and sweet. Lemon cakes are often associated with summertime weddings and the lightness of a white cake with lemon fits perfectly with cupcakes, layered cakes and even naked cakes. Lemon can also be paired with other fruit fillings as well to help with the tartness if it isn’t your favorite flavor palette.
Vanilla: Vanilla can be accused of being plain and basic, but it is a classic profile and is delicate and suitable for almost any type of cake. It looks beautiful when the cake is sliced and can have nearly any icing added to it. Vanilla makes a great base for other flavors as well and can have as much wow factor as you want.
Carrot: Carrot cake is delicious, homey and comforting. It is also a nice choice because it is healthier than some other cake options. This is a great choice for a naked or smaller cake. Carrot cake also makes for great cupcakes and when paired with cream cheese frosting, is to die for. If you are not interested in a large, stately cake, but want a beautiful and delicious cake with a light frosting, this is the choice for you!
Key Lime: If sweet and sour is your style, key lime is sweet, with a hint of tartness. It’s light and delicate and is a perfect flavor choice for a summer wedding or a smaller cake. Adding some graham cracker crumbles to this style cake will clinch the reference to classic key lime.
Tropical Fruit Flavors: If you love fruit or if you are having a beach or destination wedding, a tropical fruit cake is what you need. There are many ways to mix and match fruit flavorings for this flavor option and you can dial the sweetness up or down as you prefer. This type of cake filling usually also offers up a beautiful pink of orange color that looks really nice inside or on a white cake.
White Chocolate Raspberry: White chocolate and raspberry is a classic flavor that is often associated with chocolate bars and even coffee drinks. This is not only a safe choice that almost anyone would love but it also looks really beautiful when the cake is sliced. Sweet and soft blended together make this a really great option for any season and any style cake.
Meringue: While this is not typical for a cake flavoring and cannot be used for a tall cake, meringue is light, delicate and can make a lovely wedding cake option for a summer or spring wedding. Meringue can also be a layer in a taller cake, offering up many flavors to guests and beautiful structure to the cake. It also makes great cupcakes and macaroons.
The cake cutting is one of the highlights of any wedding and picking the right cake style and flavor palette for your cake can help make your wedding day perfect.
Pairing your wedding cake style with your dress or your overall theme is easy if you know what options are out there.
Armed with some ideas about what cake your wedding needs, you will be able to find your perfect cake easily and without any stress.