13 Unique Wedding Cakes That Are Anything But Traditional

These modern masterpieces are *almost* too pretty to eat.
sarah hanlon entertainment and celebrity editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
sarah hanlon entertainment and celebrity editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
Entertainment & Celebrity Editor
  • Sarah is the Entertainment & Celebrity Editor for The Knot, with special focuses on pop culture and celebrity wedding news.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Sarah was a contributing writer for Bravo at NBC Universal.
  • Sarah has a degree in journalism and resides in New York City.
Updated Apr 23, 2020

Of all the sweet moments you'll have on your wedding day, one of the best may just be enjoying your cake. Serving wedding cake is one of the most popular traditions still upheld today by couples. According to The Knot 2019 Real Weddings Study, 76 percent of couples who got married last year served wedding cake, and of those, 82 percent held a traditional cake cutting ceremony. Perhaps you, too, want to follow this tradition, but you'd rather give it a modern spin. If so, you'll need a unique wedding cake that's anything-but-traditional.

If flowery white cakes aren't your style, there are plenty of modern wedding cake designs that will make yours stand out. Fresh twists like succulent clusters, tilted tiers or geometric cake stands will elevate your cake and make it an unforgettable part of your reception. If this sounds like what you envision serving on your wedding day, you'll be thrilled to know there are plenty of ideas to get you started on designing your ideal cake. Below, we've rounded up the best unique wedding cakes of 2020 for maximum inspiration. Find one (or two) that you love, and let it inspire your own.

Geometric and Marble Flair

A geometric stand separates the top two tiers from the bottom, making this modern wedding cake design impossible to miss. With a light gray marble finish and eucalyptus sprouting from all angles, this confection is perfect for those who love clean, minimalistic styles. The addition of gold geometric cutouts placed around the cake add a pop of color to the muted palette.

Tilted Tiers

This topsy-turvy cake is a must for those hosting a whimsical wedding. Branches and hanging grass add a woodsy flair to the white textured tiers, while Spanish moss poking out from under each layer makes this cake feel like a 3-D work of art. Plus, since incorporating various types of greenery is one of 2020's biggest wedding trends, this unique wedding cake design is a delicious way to make your confection feel modern and fresh.

Naked and Tilted Tiers

This modern wedding cake combines two of-the-moment trends—naked icing and tiled tiers—for a cake that's simply unforgettable. While your guests might question the physics of a gravity-defying cake like this, they'll have no problem indulging in the modern treat. Blooming flowers and succulents on every level help make it stand out.

Green Garlands

Thin garlands of greenery adorn this textured cake. A variety of tier shapes add dimension to the design, while the modern, minimalistic green garlands give this cake an elegant finishing touch.

Hand-Painted Metallics

If you're all about the details, a hand-painted cake is a must for your wedding. The gold geometric designs on this cake table are accented with gold foil encircling the cutting cake. With gold and white florals and a small pop of crimson, this modern wedding cake design is a total eye-catcher.

Simple Watercolor

Blue watercolor brushstrokes bring the only pop of color to this otherwise white tiered cake. Your wedding cake doesn't have to be an extravagant treat covered in icing flowers and colorful design if it's not fit to your taste. Instead, having a light pop of color on one tier is a unique wedding cake idea that will still garner all of the attention. Plus, if you're looking for a creative way to incorporate something blue, leave it to your caterer to make the magic happen.

Gold and Greens

Unique wedding cakes don't have to include over-the-top elements. Single-tiered cakes are great options for couples who may want to serve alternative wedding desserts without totally giving up tradition. This small serving cake is perfect for a ceremonial photo op—plus, with modern additions like a gold flecks and simple greenery as décor, it's a trendy addition to the sweets table.

Hidden Geode Cluster

The latest update on this popular style is the inclusion of hidden geode designs, which is a fun way to surprise your guests. After all, who wouldn't be delighted by a sugary gem cluster hidden in the center of a wedding cake? Not only would a geode cake make for a great Instagram snap, it's one of the most fun modern wedding cake ideas for couples who want to break with tradition.

Chocolate Drip

Chocolate lovers, this unique cake idea is for you. Wedding cake designs don't always have to be clean and polished. If you want to serve your guests a mouth-watering treat, consider having an icing drip added to your cake. This rustic cake's chocolate drip stands out against the white icing—so if you choose to emulate this design, you'll be counting down the seconds until you can dig in.

Multi-Level Stands

Looking for unique wedding cake ideas that don't actually involve the cake? Go for an unexpected cake stand to deliver serious wow factor. This cake sits atop a tree stump-inspired stand, making it a perfect option for nature-loving couples. If you love this idea, look for stands that will hold tiers at various levels to make your cake feel effortlessly cool and modern.

Geode Topper

Perhaps you don't want a geode in the middle of your cake. If you still like the look of them, though, consider having a similar topper sit on the highest tier of your cake. Get it personalized with your monogram or leave it plain—no matter what you choose, the eye-catching decoration will bring a modern touch to your dessert.

Simple Succulents

If your home is filled to the brim with succulents, why not incorporate them into your wedding cake too? Perfect for newlyweds with green thumbs, a simple cake accented with succulents is a fun way to pay homage to your love of self-sufficient plants and your affinity for modern design. The simplicity of this single-tier cake is great for those who don't love over-the-top wedding cakes.

Rustic Florals

Decorating your wedding cake with unexpected florals is a great way to give it a unique touch. A variety of crimson florals bring sharp pops of color to this naked cake. Plus, with some simple branches poking out of the flower arrangement, this cake is a perfect dessert for a modern fall or winter wedding.

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