Whether you harbor a sweet tooth or you simply haven’t thought about your cake the same way you have about your wedding dress, there’s no denying that a gorgeous wedding cake is practically part and parcel of the whole wedding tradition. After all, the cake is usually wheeled up front and center in front of all of your guests at the reception, where you and your groom are expected to have your cake and eat it too at the traditional cake-cutting ritual!
But before you hurry off rushing to the nearest bakery, first, what’s in a name? How do even begin to describe your dream cake to your cake supplier and know you’re on the same page? It does help tremendously to have visual references or pegs of the design you have in mind before coming in for a consultation. Unsure where to start? Start your Pinterest frenzy by going over these gorgeous cake designs for some inspiration!
1. Naked Cake
One of the most popular cake trends to emerge in recent years, the naked cake has become a much-desired design especially for couples and celebrants hosting a rustic or bohemian-themed affair. This look was popularized by Milk Bar founder and chef (and Masterchef judge!) Christina Tosi, and has quickly made its way into cake shops and Pinterest feeds worldwide. Instead of traditionally coating the entire cake in icing, the body is left only partially covered or none at all, revealing its inner layers and filling.
Locally, Naked Patisserie is one of the best and most popular purveyors of these naked cakes. That said, you can now find this cake trend in practically every cake artist’s feed!
2. Ruffled Cake
There’s something so feminine and elegant about ruffled layers on a cake, especially when done right! Best suited for the most romantic and daintiest affairs, your guests won’t be able to take their eyes off your stunning cake wrapped in delicate ruffles. They add texture and a touch of whimsy with its asymmetrical look, while still keeping it timeless.
3. Textured Buttercream
Love the look of varying textures while keeping things light and muted? No wafer paper or fondant necessary; you can request for a textured look with just buttercream frosting! This decoration, whether in stripes or in varying strokes, best fits rustic weddings with a classic and charming touch, usually achieved with layering the buttercream with a spatula. Ask for stripes for a lovely countryside feel, then top with flowers or fruits for that finishing touch.
4. Hand-Painted Cake
You’ve seen them on your social media feeds: dreamy brush strokes and delicate, hand-painted illustrations that practically transform art into edible goodness. Like any artwork, a hand-painted cake requires some serious skill and artistry that lets your cake become the canvas, so it’s important to look for an experienced and talented cake artist that is capable enough of turning your brush-stroked dreams into reality. Most hand-painted and watercolor designs are done in gorgeous pastels and dainty hues, but this design can also look stunning in bold and striking colors.
5. Buttercream Knife Palette-Painted Cake
Also known as the impasto technique, this stunning cake design involves the use of an oil-painting technique, this time with buttercream and a palette knife. Whether used to create 3D-like illustrations or smeared abstractions, this decoration adds texture and brings the cake to life. This look is paired with nature-inspired or pastel creations!
6. Ombré Cake
There was a time when we wanted ombré on everything: from our hair to our lips, and then our cakes! The ombré trend started popping up a few years ago, yet this cake style shows no sign of slowing down. Combined with a gorgeous watercolor technique or a textured style, this look can create the dreamiest of wedding cakes and other confections for special affairs!
7. Marble Cake
Elegant, swirling patterns on white or a base color add a touch of sophistication and drama for the most majestic and polished confections. Although not a traditional style by any means, there's just something so timeless and tasteful about a marble cake, intricate and understated all at once.
8. Drip Cake
One of the trendiest designs today, a drip cake is whimsical, eye-catching, and appetizing all at once. The way its luminous exterior just teeters and spills over the edge makes you want to take a bite at once! Alongside other decorative styles such as the naked cake and ombre cake, the drip cake could be a definitive look of confections in the 2010s, the same way fondant was in the '90s and 2000s. Not all drip cakes are created equal, though, and mediocre work will just make it look sloppy. Choose a skilled pastry chef that can make this creation look like a dream!
9. Floral Cake
If there’s one cake style that will never go out of fashion, it’s a floral cake. Flowers and floral patterns will always adorn a delectable cake, no matter the decade. Through the years as new techniques emerge, floral cakes have come a long way since regular icing piping and hardened sugar flowers. Now, new-generation pastry chefs continue to push the boundaries as they create more intricate and life-like blooms, using ingredients such as wafer paper to adorn their stunning cakes.
10. Single-Tiered Cake
Wedding cakes have always been towering feats with multiple sky-high tiers, but why not turn tradition on its head and opt for a single-tiered cake? Instead of multiple levels with a wide base that gets narrower at the top, stick to a single tier with several layers for a truly modern feel.
Tip: instead of a sky-high cake with various layers, why not go for three cakes of equal height instead?
11. Geometric Cake
Fancy doesn’t always have to mean dainty and whimsical. Perfect for the modern and minimalist couple, experiment with geometric shapes and patterns, whether as decor or in its shape.
12. Geode Cake
One of the most striking cake designs, this geode cake is perfect for those who love gems and crystals! Taking inspiration from real geodes, this geode cake is made to look like a hollow crevice has formed in the middle of the cake, its gems lined with colorful crystals and stones. A real feast for the eyes!