Just about anything can inspire your wedding cake design—the ornate molding in your ballroom venue, your joint love of modern décor or even the pattern from the china you just registered for. Here are a few gorgeous cake trends to help you find your favorite wedding cake style, then let your baker take care of the rest.
Metallic CakesCLY Creation; VUE Photography; CLY Creation
Metallics are big for everything from stationery to reception table flatware—and cakes are no exception. “We’re not talking about a gold and silver vintage style, but more a stylized and glamorous art-deco or old-Hollywood look,” says Betsy Thorleifson of Nine Cakes. The best part about metallics? They can adapt to pretty much any style: Delicate embroidery in gold feels opulent while geometric shapes create a fresh, modern feel. If an entire tier is too much glitz for you, consider adding a little allover sparkle. Fine edible glitter (think: pixie dust) can give a decorative sheen to your cake without overpowering the whole design.
See more metallic wedding cakes here.
Ruffled CakesKortnee Kate Photography; Philip Ficks; Elizabeth Ann Photography
For an utterly elegant confection, choose the subtle flair of sugar ruffles. The look is light, airy and needs very little added detail. Finish it off with fresh flowers in between each tier or a few sugar flowers on top. “Frills are at home in every type of reception, from avant-garde to country chic,” says Maggie Austin of Maggie Austin Cake.
See more ruffled wedding cakes here.
Naked CakesBrindamour Photography; Roey Yohai Photography; Heather Roth Fine Art Photography
With this deconstructed cake, your mouthwatering fillings will be on full display. Fresh berries work well for a summertime wedding, while seasonal fruits, like apples, pears, persimmons or blood oranges, are ideal in winter and fall (your baker will know what’s best and when). The best thing about a naked cake is that it’s a feast for the eyes and the appetite—especially for a rustic or more low-key celebration (although that’s definitely not to say you can’t dress it up).
See more naked wedding cakes here.
Are you into…Glamorous WeddingsAwe-inspiring from grand displays down to gilded accentsSee More GlamorousStill Deciding?Take your time! There are so many gorgeous themesSee All ThemesRustic WeddingsDown-to-earth with organic elements and personal touchesSee More RusticModern WeddingsSimple-yet-sophisticated with playful nods and unique accentsSee More ModernRomantic WeddingsFlowy, feminine and just what love’s made of with a luxe lookSee More RomanticGlamorous WeddingsAwe-inspiring from grand displays down to gilded accentsSee More GlamorousStill Deciding?Take your time! There are so many gorgeous themesSee All ThemesRustic WeddingsDown-to-earth with organic elements and personal touchesSee More RusticModern WeddingsSimple-yet-sophisticated with playful nods and unique accentsSee More ModernRomantic WeddingsFlowy, feminine and just what love’s made of with a luxe lookSee More RomanticGlamorous WeddingsAwe-inspiring from grand displays down to gilded accentsSee More GlamorousStill Deciding?Take your time! There are so many gorgeous themesSee All Themes
White-on-White Wedding CakesMeredith Perdue; Amanda Kopp Images; Devon Jarvis
White wedding cakes will never go out of style. Think a plain white cake is boring? Not so fast. The fresh new way to do a white wedding cake is to add interesting all-white embellishments. Dress up tiers with details like piped embroidery, quilted fondant, fresh or sugar flower cascades, or jeweled embellishments (we love petals or even pearls). You can also jazz up this pure neutral with dynamic tiers in nontraditional shapes like hexagons, ovals or a geometric mix, or try combining tiers of varying heights for an unexpected side view.
See more white wedding cakes here.
Painted Wedding CakesMaggie Austin Cake; Lola Elise Photography; Maggie Austin Cake
Take a cue from what many invitation designers are doing and ask your cake baker to get a little artsy with your cake design. We’re talking marbleized, stained-glass or even Monet-inspired wedding cake designs. Pair those hand-painted tiers with solid-colored layers or even simple flower accents. For a painted cake design that’s very intricate, keep the tiers simple and stick to all one shape (either all classic round tiers or all square).
See more watercolor cake ideas here.
Lace Wedding CakesAntonis Achilleos; K. Corea Photography; Kristi Wright Photography
Since the return of the lace wedding dress, experienced cake bakers have been turning out tiers embellished with beautiful designs, reminiscent of the most gorgeous lace gowns. “A lot of brides are looking for patterns copied from the lace in their dress, or their china pattern,” says Sylvia Weinstock of Sylvia Weinstock Cakes. So decide which detail from your dress to highlight on your cake, from a few simple sugar-made buttons to ivory and white fondant lace appliqués wrapped around each tier. The key to pulling it off is in the color. This trend is all about texture and works best with light hues and little contrast.
Find more lace wedding cakes here.
Woodland Wedding CakesJeff Loves Jessica; Simply Bloom Photography; Katelin Wallace Photography
Earthy, whimsical wedding themes are always a hot commodity, so it’s no wonder it’s big for wedding cakes too. Many couples want their cakes to taste as delicious as they are beautiful, and a natural, minimalist woodland aesthetic is a great way to let the cake and frosting do all the talking. To get the look, choose an edible white or ivory color and accent it with fresh or lifelike sugar flowers and leaves. The display can really help you carry out the look here too. One pretty idea is to order a simple white cake and place it on top of a wood tree ring surrounded by moss and foliage. The resulting treat will be both rustic and refined.
See more rustic, woodland cake ideas here.
Geometric Wedding CakesPhilip Ficks; White-Klump Photography; Lisa Hubbard
For a contemporary reception setting like an urban loft, geometric patterns—squares, chevron, stripes—are a fun, fresh twist. “We’re seeing a lot of fondant triangles rather than dots,” says Mary Maher of Cakegirls. A few places to find inspiration are your wedding invites, the ready-to-wear fashion runways and home design blogs and stores. One guideline: Stick to a simple color palette (think: orange and white or purple and white) so the colors don’t compete with the eye-catching design.
See more modern and geometric cakes here.
Rosette Wedding CakesRiverbend Studio; Laura Murray Photography; Hot Metal Studio
The rosette look—created with allover textural sugar roses—adds unique, luxe dimension without skimping on elegance. One caveat? The color. Stick to white, ivory or very subtle blush rosettes. Jan Kish from La Petite Fleur also cautions against using rosettes on a single tier: “Make sure you balance that textured layer with something else so your eye doesn’t get stuck there.”
See more romantic rosette cakes here.
Sugar Flower Bouquet CakesJohn Arcara; Philip Ficks; Kate Mathis
Flowers, both fresh and sugar-made, go hand in hand with wedding cakes. For an updated spin on wedding cake flower accents have your baker cluster sugar flowers into one or several mini bouquets on your cake. “The key is to create a balance of size, shape and color,” says Paloma Efron of Coco Paloma Desserts. The flower bouquet works best on a muted cake base color, like ivory, peach or mint. Finish off the tiers with a gold or silver metallic trim, or even a beveled lace treatment, for a look that’s simple, sophisticated and classic.
See more sugar flower cakes here.
Illustrated Wedding CakesMark Lund; Philip Ficks; Devon Jarvis
Did you know you can really have anything you want printed onto your cake? It’s true. Pick anything you like—from the design on your invites to the quote from your first-dance song, or even your wedding motif, like a bicycle, oak tree or anemone flowers—to showcase on your cake tiers. First, the cake gets covered in fondant, then the design is hand-painted on the cake. “I love the fact that it can look like a classic painting or a piece of modern art, depending on the way it’s painted,” says Olga Lee of Polkadots Cupcake Factory. This cake style is such a fun way to personalize your confection.
See more pretty, illustrated cake ideas here.
Ombré Wedding CakesPhilip Ficks; Kristen Weaver Photography; Maggie Austin Cake
Having your cake colors take on an ombré effect is another artful design idea. It can be as whimsical or glamorous as you like. Blend yellow to orange sugar hearts for a graphic, modern style, or go red to pink to light pink with cascading sugar petals. “Whether you’re drawn to a rich saturated hue that transitions to a mid-tone or a barely there tint that fades to white, the possibilities are endless,” Austin saysa. On the fence about the trend? “Consider an ivory ombré for a classic look that’s both subtle and stunning,” she suggests.
See more ombré cakes here.
Buttercream Wedding CakesJohn Cain Photography; Elevate Photography; Simply Bloom Photography
If you’re going for a homespun, relaxed vibe, ask your baker to smother your wedding cake in delicious buttercream frosting. “We get lots of requests for rustic iced buttercream layers with flecks of vanilla bean in the icing or textured piping that looks and tastes delicious, but isn’t perfect,” Maher says. For the more polished version, opt for buttercream with a pleated, smooth finish.
See more buttercream-frosted cakes here.
Wedding Cake Trio and Quintet Tables(Clockwise from top right) Sherry Hammonds Photography; Sweetwater Portraits; Pen / Carlson
Cake trios, quartets and quintet tables come with a few other benefits. For one, a large cake table like this gives you the opportunity to create a visually stunning display at your reception, which means you get another place to show off your wedding colors and theme. Another perk: Having more than one cake also makes it very easy to choose multiple cake flavors (so you don’t have to decide between traditional vanilla, decadent chocolate or carrot cake with cream-cheese frosting). “Guests love to have small bites of lots of different desserts,” says Melody Brandon of Sweet and Saucy Shop. “Try not to choose more than eight dessert options—too many choices can overwhelm your guests. I recommend between two to four mini desserts per person.”
See more cake and dessert table ideas here.
Monogrammed Wedding CakesKate Mathis; Antonis Achilleos; Studio 306 Photography
The idea here is to design a cake made to highlight your new shared initials. Try a hand-drawn monogram in a scripted style on a beveled gold sugar plaque or rustic sugar-made plaque. Or choose a patterned monogram on a square cake for a modern look. The choices are endless. “When used in a repetitious design around the cake, the monogram becomes a pretty pattern, except to the discerning eye,” says Jan Kish of La Petite Fleur.
See more monogrammed cake ideas here.
Feeling inspired? Find a cake baker in your area now.