15 Hot Wedding Cake Trends

Just about anything can inspire your wedding cake design—the beautiful ornate molding in your ballroom venue, your joint love of modern design, or even the pattern from the china you just registered for. Here, a few trends to help inspire your custom cake. (Your baker can help with the rest.)
by Lauren Kay
Metallic silver and gold wedding cakes
photo by CLY Creation; VUE Photography; CLY Creation
  1. Metallic Cakes

    Metallic silver and gold wedding cakes
    photo by CLY Creation; VUE Photography; CLY Creation

    Metallics are big for stationery, and for wedding cakes as well. "We’re not talking about a gold and silver vintage style, but more a stylized glam, art-deco, old-Hollywood look," says Betsy Thorleifson of Nine Cakes in New York City. The best part about metallics? They can adapt to any style; delicate embroidery in gold feels opulent while geometric shapes give off a fresh, modern feel. If an entire tier is too much glitz for you, consider adding a little sparkle all over. Fine edible glitter (think: pixie dust) can add a decorative sheen to your cake without overpowering the whole design.

    See more metallic wedding cakes

  2. Ruffled Cakes

    Ruffled wedding cake trend
    photo by Kortnee Kate Photography; Philip Ficks; Elizabeth Ann Photography

    For a seriously elegant look, skip the bold patterns and add-ons in favor of subtle embellishments with allover sugar ruffles. The look is light and 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 in Alexandria, Virginia.

    See more ruffled wedding cakes

  3. Naked Cakes

    Naked wedding cake trend
    photo by Brindamour Photography; Roey Yohai Photography; Heather Roth Fine Art Photography

    Yep, you read that right. With the deconstructed cake, you get to show off the inside. For a summertime wedding, berries work well; in winter and fall, ask your baker to fill the layers with seasonal fruits, like apples, pears, persimmons or even blood oranges. "The exposed cake and filling of the naked cake appeal to both the eyes and the stomach," says John Rusk of Alice’s Tea Cup in New York City.

    See more naked cake ideas

  4. White-on-White Wedding Cakes

    White wedding cake trend
    photo by Meredith Perdue; Amanda Kopp Images; Devon Jarvis

    A white wedding cake is always in good taste. 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 or jeweled embellishments (we love petals or even pearls). "Nontraditional shaped tiers, like hexagons and ovals, make the cake a little more out of the ordinary," says Jen Roberts of Sweet Element Cakes in East Orange, New Jersey. Cascades of sugar flowers are great for adding dimension too.

    See more white wedding cakes

  5. Painted Wedding Cakes

    Painted and stained glass wedding cake trend
    photo by Maggie 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 cakes, stained-glass painted cakes and even Monet-inspired wedding cake designs. Pair those hand-painted tiers with solid-colored layers or even simple flower accents. Quick tip: For a cake design that's so intricate, keep the tiers simple and stick to all one shape (either all classic round tiers or all square).

    See more watercolor wedding ideas

  6. Lace Wedding Cakes

    Lace wedding cake trend
    photo by Antonis Achilleos; K. Corea Photography; Kristi Wright Photography

    Experienced cake bakers are turning out tiers decorated with beautiful designs, reminiscent of the most gorgeous wedding gowns imaginable -- like yours. "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 in New York City. 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 appliques wrapped around each tier. The key to pulling it off is in the color. This trend works best with light hues and little contrast.

    > See more lace wedding cakes

  7. Woodland Wedding Cakes

    Woodland natural wedding cake trend
    photo by Jeff Loves Jessica; Simply Bloom Photography; Katelin Wallace Photography

    Earthy, whimsical wedding themes are hot this year, so it’s no wonder this same aesthetic is big for wedding cakes too. “Millennials are much more into having the taste of the cake be as good, if not better, as the look of the cake," says Amy Noelle of Sugar Flower Cake Shop in New York City. 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 wooden tree ring decorated with moss and leaves.

    See more woodland wedding ideas

  8. Geometric Wedding Cakes

    Geometric wedding cake decoration
    photo by Philip Ficks; White-Klump Photography; Lisa Hubbard

    For a contemporary reception setting such as an urban loft, eye-catching 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 in Chicago. A few places to find inspiration: 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 design.

    See more modern wedding cakes

  9. Rosette Wedding Cakes

    Sugar rosette wedding cake
    photo by Riverbend Studio; Laura Murray Photography; Hot Metal Studio

    The rosette trend -- with textural sugar-made roses all over the cake -- is fun because the added dimension is different and unique but the look is still elegant and beautiful. One caveat? The color. Stick to white or ivory rosettes. (Allover light pink rosettes will look too juvenile.) Jan Kish from La Petite Fleur in Worthington, Ohio, also cautions against using rosettes on a single tier. "You have to make sure you balance that textured layer with something else so your eye doesn’t get stuck there."

    See more romantic wedding cakes

  10. Sugar Flower Bouquet Cakes

    photo by John Arcara; Philip Ficks; Kate Mathis

    Flowers – fresh and sugar-made – are practically synonymous with wedding cakes. The new take on wedding cake flower accents is to cluster sugar-made flowers into a mini-bouquet. "The key is to create a balance of size, shape and color," says Paloma Efron of Coco Paloma Desserts in Austin, Texas. 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 wedding cakes with flowers

  11. Illustrated Wedding Cakes

    photo by Mark Lund; Philip Ficks; Devon Jarvis

    Did you know you can actually 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 have showcased onto 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 in Austin, Texas.

    See more creative wedding cakes

  12. Ombre Wedding Cakes

    Ombre wedding cakes
    photo by Philip Ficks; Kristen Weaver Photography; Maggie Austin Cake

    Having your cake colors take on an ombre effect is another artful cake 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-made flower 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," says Maggie Austin of Maggie Austin Cake in Alexandria, Virginia. On the fence about the trend? "Consider an ivory ombré for a classic look that's both subtle and stunning," Austin suggests.

    See more ombre wedding cake ideas and more

  13. Buttercream Wedding Cakes

    Buttercream rustic iced wedding cakes
    photo by John 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," says Mary Maher of Cakegirls in Chicago. For the more polished version, opt for buttercream with a pleated, smooth finish.

    See more buttercream wedding cakes

  14. Wedding Cake Trio and Quintet Tables

    Wedding cake display tables
    photo by (Clockwise from top right) Sherry Hammonds Photography; Sweetwater Portraits; Pen / Carlson

    Cake trios, quartets and quintet tables come with a couple big 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 a mini-bite of lots of different desserts," says Melody Brandon of Sweet and Saucy Shop in Newport, California. Give guests choices, but don't overwhelm them. "I recommend between two to four mini-desserts per person," says Brandon. "Try not to choose more than eight options of desserts—too many choices can overwhelm your guests."

    See dessert and wedding cake tables

  15. Monogrammed Wedding Cakes

    Monogrammed wedding cake trend
    photo by Kate Mathis; Antonis Achilleos; Studio 306 Photography

    We're not talking about the typical monogrammed cake topper. The idea here is to design a cake made to highlight your new shared monogram. A few ideas: a hand-drawn monogram in a scripted style on a beveled gold sugar plaque or a rustic sugar-made plaque, or a patterned monogram on a square cake for a modern look. "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 in Worthington, Ohio.

    See monogrammed wedding cakes

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