Have You Heard About the Wedding Sheet Cake Trend?

Gussied-up, gourmet versions of the birthday party classic are everywhere.
cathryn haight the knot
Cathryn Haight
  • Cathryn is an editor at The Knot, where she focuses on all things planning—from inspiration and design, to traditions, to invitations.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Cathryn spent years as a food editor
  • Cathryn holds a bachelor's degree from Trinity College and a certificate in publishing from Columbia University
Updated Feb 20, 2024

We recently sliced into what's trending in the world of wedding cakes and came across an interesting shift: a wedding sheet cake is becoming the centerpiece of the dessert table. Simple, flat sheet wedding cakes have often been the unsung heroes of the wedding meal, sliced into squares in the back kitchen and served after the couple ceremoniously cuts their (too small to feed everyone) main wedding cake. But the sweets are taking center stage—no longer the backup dancers to the typically multi-tiered confections. And the gorgeous designs of the sheet cake wedding cakes we're seeing now reflect that prominent place, adorned with stemmy wildflowers and juicy fruits, frosted with textured dollops and swoops of buttercream, and sometimes even sized to span the entire length of a table. We tapped two pros at the forefront of the trend who both make elegant wedding sheet cakes that make my jaw drop (and fork rise) to glean some expert intel: baker Lucie Franc de Ferriere of NYC's From Lucie and pastry chef Sasha Piligian of the LA-based May Microbakery. Keep reading to see some outstanding sheet cake designs for weddings and learn where you can score one yourself.

Everything to Know About Wedding Sheet Cakes:

Why the Rise in Popularity? | Cost | How to Find | Tips | Ideas | How to Cut

Why the Rise in Popularity of Wedding Sheet Cakes?

When asked if she's seen an increase in couples requesting sheet cakes for their celebrations, Piligian replied that the wedding cake trend has definitely caught on in her business—with a 50/50 split between asks for sheet cakes and more traditional wedding cake designs. "The reason I think it has increased is because couples see what's possible, they didn't realize a sheet cake could be so involved and beautiful, and that's exciting," says the pastry pro of over a decade. Franc de Ferriere is also on board with the unique wedding cake idea—she's happy to see sheet cakes for weddings finally reach their full decorating potential. "I started getting wedding cake requests where the bride and groom would want a small tiered cake for them to cut and then 'just a sheet cake that isn't decorated and is hiding in the back just for slices,'" says the baker. "I remember searching 'sheet cakes' on the internet and thinking that it's a smart way of saving money, but also such a sad thing to think that the poor sheet cake is just waiting in the back with such a big blank surface to decorate. I loved the idea of it being a casual cake, but that it can be glossed up with a bit of decorating—and I think that might also be what couples like about it. It has a relaxed, yet very aesthetic and modern look to it." All in all, it seems like soonlyweds are seeing sheet cakes as the perfect marriage of pretty and practical, with easy serve-ability and lots of statement-making surface area to put their personal stamp on.

Wedding Sheet Cake Cost Considerations

Opting for a few plain white wedding sheet cakes in addition to your main cake will save you a few bucks if your alternate plan was simply to get a larger, more amazingly decorated main wedding cake, but in regard to the style of sheet cakes we're discussing—those that replace the main wedding cake altogether—the price would be on par with a standard round or tiered confection. Though, generally speaking, you can feed more guests with a sheet cake given its shape and typical size, so it'll likely be a touch more cost effective in that regard.

Depending on the size and style, a showpiece wedding sheet cake could cost between $300 and $600+, about the same range as the average cost of a wedding cake. Reason being: These desserts are just as nuanced and involved as their multi-level counterparts. "All my cakes are three layers with two fillings and the sheet cakes are no different," says Piligian. "This isn't your traditional cake with buttercream on top. There is texture, flavor and intricate design—whether that be flowers, piping or decor."

Keep in mind that every bakery is different, with a different amount of staff and order bandwidth, so the price from cake to cake will vary. Regardless, you can trust they're priced fairly for the amount of effort, creativity and expertise each edible masterpiece requires.

How to Find a Sheet Cake for a Wedding

Finding a wedding sheet cake is just as simple as ordering a round or tiered option. When you're shopping around for bakers on The Knot Vendor Marketplace, ask if sheet cakes are part of their repertoire in your initial conversation—just be sure to specify if you mean having plain sheet cakes to serve in addition to your wedding cake or if you want a fancy sheet cake as the main event. If it's the former, you're likely in luck—it's a fairly common ask and many bakeries will be happy to accommodate you. If it's the latter, show your baker some photos of your dream cake and also check out their Instagram page to get a sense of if they've done similar styles.

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Wedding Sheet Cake Tips

We know sheet cakes are pretty and popular, but there are a few practical considerations to hash out before you say "I do" to this en vogue dessert. We're outlining a few tips to keep in mind as you go through your wedding cake checklist and after you figure out your wedding cake flavor and familiarize yourself with all the essential wedding cake terms.

Nail the Cake-to-Guest Ratio

A wedding sheet cake will typically feed more folks than a tiered confection, but there's still a little math to be done to make sure every guest has a slice. If you're planning on 100 happy attendees, a full-sheet wedding cake is your best bet. These babies clock in at around 18" by 26" and can feed nearly 120 if you opt for 2" by 2" slices. Since wedding cake slices can be on the smaller side (especially if you have additional dessert options), try a 1" by 2" slice size, which will serve close to 200. In the same vein, a half sheet wedding cake is sized around 13" by 18" and will feed roughly 58 people with 2" by 2" slices (your best bet for a 50-person wedding) and 100 with 1" by 2" slices. Keep in mind: These numbers are just a ballpark and you should confirm with your baker to see how their creations slice up. For example, Piligian's sheet cakes feature three layers versus the typical one or two, so a slice with smaller dimensions will still be pretty hefty given the extra height.

Take Advantage of the Surface Area

One of the best benefits of choosing a wedding sheet cake over a round or tiered cake is it has ample surface area to decorate. "I like to treat a sheet cake as a pot of land, where I can just plant the flowers next to each other and create a big garden that I top with crushed pistachios to give that healthy almost grass-like effect," says Franc de Ferriere, who grew up watching her mother top the cakes and confections she served at her bake shop and tea room in southwestern France with flowers from her garden. So, when you're chatting with your baker, emphasize that they can go heavy on the details and get super creative.

Select the Right Slice

Each slice of your wedding cake will look like a piece of art anyway, but considering a slice-by-slice decoration style (or scored, as it's called in the industry) is an interesting alternative to a surface-spanning design. That way, each guest will feel like they have their own mini cake—with uniform sizing and adornments. (This appeals to me as someone who always crossed her fingers for that one coveted slice of birthday cake topped with buttercream roses as a child.)

Go Big and Go Unique

We've talked about the popular half-sheet and full-sheet wedding cake designs, but what if you need to feed more guests than 100? If your budget can swing it, think big in your design and opt for a table-spanning confection. "Since Roxanne Rosensteel made that long sheet cake for Rachel Karten's wedding, …I have been talking to clients about different versions of the long cake," says Piligian. Franc de Ferriere adds: "There is also the extra-large square one that is fun, or one that is closed on each angle with a hole at its center where a server sits at the center and cuts the cake. I really want to do one of those."

Wedding Sheet Cake Ideas

We've rounded up some idea-sparking inspiration to help you determine which wedding sheet cake style suits you best. From more simple wedding sheet cake designs to those that look like a sculptural masterwork, each one is stunning—no matter how you slice it.

1. Beige and Blush Wedding Sheet Cake

Golden raspberries are underscored by hints of blush and delicate greenish-white petals and chamomile blossoms in this scored sheet cake.

2. Neutral Wedding Sheet Cake

White and terracotta textured frosting plays so well with the white roses and leafy clovers on this rustic wedding sheet cake.

3. Strawberry Shortcake Wedding Sheet Cake

Slices of strawberry peak out between the layers of this strawberry short cake adorned with whimsical blooms and whole berries pooling in sweet juice.

4. Fruit-Forward Wedding Sheet Cake

This sheet cake features miniature pears, halved pomegranates, grapes, citrus and what appears to be papaya atop its textured base.

5. Blackberries and Blooms Wedding Sheet Cake

Juicy blackberries encircled in frosting polkadot this sheet cake that gets extra height and texture from wildflowers and crushed nuts.

6. Lambeth Text-Focused Wedding Sheet Cake

I love how this retro-inspired wedding cake elevates the design elements you'd find on a classic birthday sheet cake—the fluted border, the scalloped icing work, the cursive text—but also gives them enough elegance for a wedding.

7. Bare-Sided Wedding Sheet Cake

The bare sides of this sheet cake feel relaxed and perfect for a more casual affair—plus, they don't take away from the bevy of blooms and dollops of jam splayed across the top.

8. Table-Length Wedding Sheet Cake

An oversized sheet cake like this takes the term "dessert table" to a whole new level. Plus, by adding some thoughtfully placed blooms, you won't even need a floral centerpiece.

9. Contrasting Colors Wedding Sheet Cake

Using two contrasting hues like purple and orange make for a cohesive, yet bold botanical design that adds texture to a cake along with squiggles of buttercream.

10. Maximalist Garden Wedding Sheet Cakes

A pair of sheet cakes frosted with swoops of buttercream acts as a garden bed for spindly wildflowers, pink roses and showy daisies of all sizes—the overall look feels akin to a romantic garden I'd like to take a stroll in.

11. Coordinating Trio of Wedding Sheet Cakes

If one extra-long sheet cake isn't your bag, but you've got to feed a crowd, opt for a trio of coordinating sheet cakes where you can have a similar design scheme on each rendered in a different color.

12. Lemon Meringue-Topped Wedding Sheet Cake

A few dollops of tangy lemon meringue add both visual interest and flavor to a wedding sheet cake speckled with pink flowers.

How to Cut a Sheet Cake for a Wedding

Cutting up your wedding cake can seem intimidating (and like there's a lot of math involved), so it's best to leave it to the pros. But if you or a loved one is in charge of divvying up the dessert, here's how to do it.

1. Create or purchase a cake-cutting guide. Freehanding is fine for a birthday party, but when you have more than a few mouths to feed, getting even, accurate slices is essential. There are quite a few slicing jigs available online, just grab one that suits your specifications. This tool is a metal band that wraps around your sheet cake and has notches on every side showing you exactly where to cut (and that'll keep your knife straight as it slices the sponge). You can also craft one yourself out of cardboard, making evenly spaced notches on each side.

2. Mark your first slice specifications. If you're doing a cake cutting in front of the crowd and a big metal ring will ruin the vibe for your photos, subtly mark in the icing with the tip of your knife or on the tray the cake rests on the right dimensions of your first slice.

3. Cut the cake. Use the notches in your slicing jig to achieve uniform pieces of cake, cutting each with a gentle sawing motion and—a must—the thinnest, sharpest knife you can find. This will help preserve the sanctity of each slice, keeping buttercream smushing and crumb dragging to a minimum.

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