21 Tiered Wedding Desserts, in Case Traditional Cake Isn't Your Thing

If you love the idea of a traditional wedding cake more than the real thing, serve up one of these creative takes instead.
by The Knot

If you and your partner are less than enthused about serving a traditional wedding cake, reinvent it. Seriously—having a wedding cake is one tradition you're absolutely allowed to break. 

Whether you add your own personal spin to the design, include a surprising filling or serve up something else entirely (cheese wheel tiers, anyone?), there's really no wrong way to do dessert. Get inspired by these unconventional favorites—like whoopie pies and mini chocolate truffles—that make the perfect after-dinner treat and feel just as festive and celebratory as a traditional, tiered wedding cake.  

  1. 1. Polka Dot Macarons

    Get the best of both worlds—cookies and cake. Macarons in pretty pastels adorn the top layer, making it easy for you and your guests to grab a sweet bite at their leisure (and use their hands).

  2. 2. Whoopie Pie Display

    Same goes for these gooey sandwhich treats that are a bit more casual—and a little messier than macarons, so keep napkins handy. If you want to include a traditional cake-cutting moment, top your tower of whoopie pies with a larger one and slice into it as newlyweds.

  3. 3. Ice Cream Surprise

    Trimmed with olive branches and accented with peonies, this looks just like a regular wedding cake, but has a cool surprise inside: ice cream. 

  4. 4. Cream Puff Dessert

    Croquembouche—a classic French dessert—is made of cream-filled pastry balls piled high and held together with threads of caramel. Tie it all together with a few blooms, real or sugar, and place it on a gorgeous display.

  5. 5. Cookies and Cream Cake

    Chocolate sandwich cookies at a wedding? Yes, please. Stacked into tiers and drizzled with glaze, these classic cream-filled cookies indulge your inner child, but in a new and elegant way.

  6. 6. Truffle-Studded Layers

    When chocolate cake and frosting aren't enough, just add truffles. The rich, chocolaty bites also create a cool, graphic pattern that fits right in with modern wedding décor.

  7. 7. Decadent Doughnut Tower

    Doughnuts never fail to please a crowd. Pile pastries of all kinds (or just stick to your favorite) onto cake stands as an epic dessert display.

  8. 8. Naked Bundt Cake

    wedding cake Bundt cake
    LAUREN FAIR PHOTOGRAPHY

    We love the idea of a simple, stacked Bundt cake for a breakfast or brunch reception dessert, but this fun and just-different-enough cake idea is perfectly rustic chic and delicious any time of day.

  9. 9. Savory Swap

    If you've never had a sweet tooth, feel free to forgo dessert altogether. Stack your favorite wheels of cheese on top of one another and serve with freshly baked breads, fruit, crackers, honey and other accompaniments for an upgraded full cheese board effect.

  10. 10. Crispy Rice Tiers

    Your favorite childhood cereal bar can always be reinvented as your wedding dessert—all you need is a little creativity!

  11. 11. Rustic Assortment

    Why choose one dessert? Make like this couple and opt for macarons, chocolate chip cookies and lemon bars, all displayed on rustic wooden slab tiers.  

  12. 12. Tiered Cheesecake

    Topped with real purple roses, a tiered cheesecake will look (and taste) ultra-decadent and satisfying. 

  13. 13. Vanilla Cake Balls

    Sprinkled cake balls feel fun and whimsical—plus, they're easy to eat on the dance floor. 

  14. 14. Doughnut Hole Tower

    Torn between doughnuts and a traditional croquembouche? This chic doughnut hole display is the perfect hybrid of both. 

  15. 15. Seasonal Cupcakes

    Rather than nailing down one cake flavor, opt for hundreds of cupcakes in custom, seasonal flavors (like this couple who chose cider, pumpkin and cotton candy cupcakes for their fall nuptials). 

  16. 16. Gluten-Free Fruit Tarts

    Despite the healthy moniker, gluten-free tarts topped with fresh strawberries and blackberries are guaranteed to satisfy every guest's sweet tooth. 

  17. 17. Mini Crème Brûlées

    If you're feeling fancy, mini crème brûlées (like these vanilla and espresso-flavored ones) are luxurious and indulgent. Isn't that was dessert is for?

  18. 18. Miniature Pies

    There's something cozy and homey-feeling about miniature pies. (Pro tip: Use locally grown produce or fresh pecans for the filling.)

  19. 19. Candy Pyramid

    Love Ferrero Rochers (or any other easily stackable wrapped treat)? Try a candy tower in lieu of cake. 

  20. 20. Assorted Cookies

    Serve up assorted cookies that are just as good as the ones from Grandma's house. 

  21. 21. Miniature Vegan Bundt Cakes

    Putting on a vegan wedding? Your dessert options don't have to be boring. Exhibit A: these adorable mini bundt cakes. 

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