For centuries, it’s happened like clockwork: Towards the end of a wedding—once the toasts have been given and the multi-course meal has been devoured—the happy couple will slice into their decadent, oh-so-delicious cake. There will be photo-ops, the top tier will be saved until the couple’s first anniversary, and the newlyweds may even lovingly smash a handful of cake into their spouse’s face.
However, while a wedding cake has become an essential part of many celebrations, what it looks or even tastes like is constantly changing. As a result, this often makes it difficult for couples to decide on their desired confection when planning out their nuptials. Before you totally get flustered with trying to nail down the perfect dessert, we’re here to share a few trendy cake designs bakers consistently love.
Ahead, following the expert guidance of several bakers, here are the top wedding cake trends to always keep in mind when planning your big day. Bon appétit!
While a white wedding cake is a traditional and classic choice many couples opt to select, they certainly aren’t a requirement if you’re looking for a unique confection for your special day. According to Alana Holas, founder of A’s Exquisite Cakes & Chocolates, Inc., “One never seems to go wrong with pastel colors. However, in recent years, couples have been making bolder choices and incorporating their wedding colors into their trendy cake designs.” In fact, Holas cites Viva Magenta, Pantone’s ultra-pigmented 2023 Color of the Year, as proof that can’t-miss colors are here to stay. So whether you want to wow with a colorful cake or bring a more-is-more vibe to your dessert bar, consider this as your sign to embrace your bold streak.
Large and Lavish
Over the past few years—when micro weddings were on the rise and lengthy guest lists were on the decline—it seemed like a small, ceremonial cake was a sensible choice that was here to stay. (Especially when paired with a decadent dessert table!) Though it might be easy to think of cakes as a fading fad, Holas says not so fast. “Not only are wedding cakes still in demand, some couples are opting for larger, more elaborate, customized wedding cakes that tell their love story,” she shares. From Lambeth-style piping that pays homage to the 1980s to hand-painted illustrations—a move Holas says is “a unique and artistic way to add a personal touch”—lavish cakes are a great way to enhance all wedding day aesthetics.
It’s important to note that just because big cakes are here to stay, that doesn’t mean smaller confections are off the table. Holas shares that mini cakes are still a great option for couples with a tighter budget.
The Textured Treatment
Not too keen on piping and hand-painted details? No problem. According to Holas, naked and semi-naked cakes are always having a moment. And while naked cakes are all about easing up on the fondant and buttercream—allowing its flavors and fillings to take center stage—she does add that some bakers are dialing up the drama on the notoriously pared-back style. “[We’re seeing] textured fondant designs as well as designs incorporating metallic elements,” Holas notes of these new “naked” iterations. It’s the perfect mix between subtle and statement-making.
Admittedly, selecting a wedding cake style can feel a tad overwhelming, but that can easily be mitigated by factoring in your big day’s atmosphere. “It should blend the best of both worlds, your story, and your décor,” she shares. “When it’s set in place at your venue, it should be able to shine as a centerpiece while blending seamlessly with your décor.”
Nowadays, both couples and bakers are thinking outside of the batter bowl and leaning into unconventional flavors. Specifically, Cynthia Carr of Cakes by Cynthia is noticing a major uptick in fruit-forward cakes. “Lemon raspberry cake is a popular wedding cake flavor because it is light, refreshing, and flavorful,” she shares. “The combination of the tart lemon and the sweet raspberry is a classic pairing that is sure to please everyone.”
Or, for a consistent crowd-pleaser, Carr says strawberry shortcake is “a versatile dessert that can be customized to fit any couple’s style.” She adds, “You can use different types of strawberries, such as fresh strawberries, frozen strawberries, or strawberry jam. [There are also various whipped creams] such as heavy cream, whipped cream cheese, or whipped yogurt.”
If you’re craving a cake that’s equal parts romantic and compliment-worthy, why not say it with flowers? “Brides are no longer just placing flowers in vases throughout the reception venue,” explains Che Clari, specialty cake designer at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida. “Flowers are everywhere—from mixing complementary floral printed bridesmaid dresses to nine-tiered cakes decorated with stunning [blooms].”
What’s more, while some couples choose to cover their cakes in florals featured in their bouquet or centerpieces, Clari has a quick tip: Go faux. “[Sugar flowers] truly elevate any wedding cake into a work of art, while saving me (and ultimately the couple!) time and money,” she shares. Can’t get enough of the floral phenomenon?