13 Common Wedding Cake Mistakes—and How to Avoid Them

Don't fall victim to these potential cake wrecks.
Lauren Dana Ellman - The Knot Contributor.
Lauren Dana
Lauren Dana Ellman - The Knot Contributor.
Lauren Dana
The Knot Contributor
  • Lauren is a contributor for The Knot covering topics such as music, cakes, venues and speeches.
  • She has been published in a wide array of lifetsyle-oriented publications including SELF and Allure.
  • Lauren is a proud graduate of Syracuse University's SI Newhouse School of Public Communication.
Updated Sep 30, 2021

Selecting your wedding cake is one of the best parts of wedding planning, but it can also be one of the most overwhelming tasks—that is if you don't plan accordingly. It's easy to make common wedding cake mistakes, especially if you don't know what they are.

To help you avoid potential wedding cake disasters, we reached out to top wedding cake designers and bakers from across the country to get the lowdown on the worst wedding cake mistakes you can make leading up to your big day.

1. Not Ordering a Large Enough Cake

Your wedding cake should be so good your guests request second slices. "You want everyone to have a slice, as well as some leftover for those who like seconds," says pastry chef Danielle Bailey of Holler Treats in Portland, Oregon.

If you plan on saving the top tier to freeze, be sure to account for this when deciding what size wedding cake you need to comfortably serve everyone at your wedding reception.

2. Not Displaying the Cake at Your Reception

Your beautiful cake is an edible work of art, so be sure to display it as such on your wedding day.

Tara Allison of Sweets Bakehouse in Bradenton, Florida, recommends using a cake stand or riser. "Adding a runner and some decor to the table is always nice as well," she says. "The cake deserves to be presented as the edible centerpiece it is."

Meg Walker, CEO and executive chef at Made by Meg Catering in Redondo Beach, California, advises placing your wedding cake in front of an amazing photo backdrop so your photographer can snap some beautiful wedding photos. "Consider the angle and table placement before the day begins so it's a seamless shot," she says.

3. Forgetting to Assign Someone to Cut Your Cake

You'll want to assign someone—whether it's your caterer or your wedding planner—to cut and serve the cake.

If your cake wasn't baked by your caterer but you'd like them to cut it, make sure you let them know. "They may have a fee associated with this service, and will need to bring the appropriate dishes," Bailey says.

Jackie Joseph, co-owner of JJBakes & Co. in Louisville, Kentucky, says to make sure your designated cutter knows whether you want them to cut a coffee-portion slice (1 inch by 1 inch) or a dessert-portion slice (2 inches by 2 inches).

4. Not Taking Weather or Refrigeration Into Account

Before deciding on your wedding cake's frosting, figure out what the temperature will likely be on the day you get married.

"Ordering a frosted buttercream cake in the middle of the hottest month of the year is a recipe for disaster," Walker says. "Ask your baker what will hold up best and still be delicious given the time of year for your wedding."

Also, check with your wedding venue to see if refrigeration is available for use. "There is always a fridge, but no one is likely planning on putting a whole wedding cake in it," Walker says.

5. Forgetting to Ask for Extra Frosting

Walker recommends having your baker include a little extra frosting when they drop off your cake in the event that it needs repairs once the bakery team has left. "I can't tell you how many cakes I've had to repair because little hands have put their fingerprints on the cake or bugs landed on it," she says.

6. Selecting Too Many Dark or Bright Colors

Dark purple, navy blue, hot pink and red icing or fondant should all be used sparingly on wedding cake designs. "While I'm a huge advocate of adding color to your wedding cake to make it unique and special, it's important to remember that large quantities of food coloring taste bad and can stain your teeth, face and dress," Allison says.

7. Trying to Please All of Your Guests

Don't get too caught up in trying to please your wedding guests—after all, it's your big day, not theirs. "It doesn't matter what others think or prefer, people will eat the cake and enjoy it," Allison says. Go ahead and opt for the coconut cake or cookies-and-cream filling. The heart wants what the heart wants.

8. Not Ordering Your Wedding Cake in Time

There are so many things to consider when planning for your special day, but make sure to add ordering your wedding cake to the top of your list. "It's common—and even expected—to order your wedding cake a year in advance," Joseph says. Remember, a pastry chef's schedule can book up quickly, so lock in your wedding date ASAP.

9. Not Filling Out Your Order Form Correctly

"If an order is not taken in detail, it leaves room for error, such as design and cake flavor," says Kimmee Masi of Confections of a Rockstar in Asbury Park, New Jersey.

In other words, remember to be as specific as possible when filling out your wedding cake order form. This includes double-checking the delivery address and contacting the venue to find out what time the cake should be delivered.

10. Having a Newbie Deliver Your Cake

"We've all seen a baking challenge show where the cake goes tumbling, and those are usually only transported a few feet," Allison says. "Driving a tiered cake is a science. It has to have a well-made structure inside and be chilled properly for transport."

TL;DR: When in doubt, hire a professional with lots of experience to make sure your costly confection arrives safely.

11. Getting Caught up in Design Trends

With so many wedding cake ideas trending on social media, it can be hard not to get caught up in the latest wedding cake designs. But overly busy, trend-chasing cakes don't always look great in person, Allison says. Plus, they don't always age well in photographs. When in doubt, keep things simple and classic.

12. Having Too Many Flavors in One Cake

According to Erin Emmett, a pastry chef and founder of Pistachio Culinary Studio in Brooklyn, New York, one common mistake is picking too many flavors within one tiered cake. Each cake has a distinct texture, density and flavor profile, so creating uniform tiers of different cakes is not always easy, she says.

"The chef cutting the multiple cakes is elbows deep in mismatched buttercream and crumbs, and the kitchen inevitably runs out of the most popular cake flavor," she says.
Her final take? "It's chaos. Don't do it."

13. Not Eating Your Cake

"Each couple spends a lot of time, effort and money making their cake exactly how they want it," Joseph says. "The last thing you want to do is skip out on savoring your own wedding cake—especially if you're not saving your top tier."

For an extra-special touch, Joseph recommends that newlyweds request a miniature wedding cake to share at home. "Take the cake with you once the wedding is over and you can enjoy and savor your wedding cake as newlyweds in an intimate setting," she says.

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