Wedding Cake Ideas.
I have seen a lot of wedding cake ideas in my years of photographing weddings. The traditional fruit cake iced over marzipan is not dead but it doesn’t make as many appearances as I’d like. It’s not that I am all about tradition, I just love the taste.
From a wedding photographers point of view, wedding cakes have come a long way. Some of my favourite pictures are of amazing wedding cakes. From some of the grand structures to the simple naked sponge cakes decorated with flowers and fruits.
Sites like Pinterest and Instagram are filled with bakers and cake makers creations. Here are a few of the topics I will talk about.
- Wedding Cake Types.
- Tradition Fruitcake.
- Naked Wedding Cakes.
- Butter Iced Sponge Cakes.
- Iced Wedding Cakes
- Wedding Cupcakes.
- Cheese Wedding cake.
- Something Different.
- Cake Toppers.
- Wedding Cake Designs.
- The Tradition of Wedding Cake.
- Cake Shops vs bespoke Wedding Bakers.
There is so much more I could go into here and if there is anything you would like adding. Just let me know.
Wedding Cake Types.
The Tradition Fruitcake.
This ties into the section about the tradition of a wedding cake. Fruitcake is a rich and tasty recipe. It uses what was once considered quite extravagant ingredients. This was thought to promote a happy and fruitful marriage. A fruitcake also has a long shelf life so it was possible to store the top tier, but I’ll go into that later.
Naked Wedding Cakes.
These have become very popular and after tasting a few I can see why. I don’t believe it is just down to taste. The last few years I have seen many weddings with a more rustic feel. Natural elements and decoration that feels earthy. An un-iced cake adds to that feeling. Normally sponge, jam and cream. The cakes are often decorated with seasonal fruits and flowers. They match in with the rustic wedding themes that are very popular now.
Sponge cakes with butter icing.
Again these cakes have a very rustic feel. They are iced in such a way that looks random, but in many ways they can be trickier to finish than a more traditional smooth cake finish. These cakes are again often decorated with summer fruits and flowers. There are of course the cakes that fit between these categories. I have seen many semi-un-iced cakes, where they either have a thin coating of icing allowing the sponge to be seen through or alternating layers.
Traditional "looking' Iced Wedding Cakes.
I added ‘looking’ here because there could be just about any cake under that icing. And I have seen some surprising and amazing variations. There is certainly a little more mystery about what the baker has created in these. An Iced cake gives the opportunity to decorate the cake uniquely. I have seen whole scenes played out on and around the icing. Cake toppers depicting the couple and some of their foibles.
The use of colours both on the icing and in the cake itself is limitless. A wedding cake with a very bland exterior may contain a rainbow of colours once you slice it open. Recreating themes to match your wedding scheme are a snip with the cakes. The only limits are in the imagination of the couple and the ability of the cake maker.
Who doesn’t love a red velvet cupcake or a good old fairy cake? As far a handing out portions to your wedding guest they are ideal. Ready packaged and ready to eat. With some wedding venues charging £100+ for portioning up your wedding cake they can make a lot of sense. I haven’t seen as many cupcakes in 2018 as I had in previous years but I still think there is a place for them.
Cupcakes can give you so much flexibility and variation. Mix it up a little, have a few for those with special dietary needs or beliefs. I have seen many creative and original cupcake creations.
Cheese Wedding Cake.
Yes, I do mean cheese-cake and not cheesecake, Cake made of cheese! I feel like I’m slipping into a Peter Kay sketch. These have been popping up for at least the last 10 years that I know of but in 2018 I have seen quite a few more. I did consider putting these in the “something different’ group but I see them so much that I think they deserve a category of their own.
And what a fantastic idea. I have a very sweet tooth and enjoy a good rich cake but sometimes you can’t beat a bit of cheese. With such a range of beautiful cheeses out there to select from, why wouldn’t you? I do think it should be a second cake to a possibly chocolate overloaded, cream covered delight but there is always a place for a good slice of cheese. I wasn’t going to add a link out to any suppliers here but these guys are worth a mention. Have a look at some of their amazing choices here.
We all love something a little different and many couples are searching for something unique for their wedding day. I think my favourite so far has been a sculpted cake of doughnuts. It was
presented really well and of course, my sweet tooth drags my eyes toward a stack of glazed doughnuts.
Like a fairy on the top of the Christmas tree, a cake topper finishes of your wedding cake beautifully and there are so many styles and types to choose from. They were very popular in the 50’s. Traditionally the wedding topper was a representation of the bride and groom in their formal wedding clothes. Now it is more traditional to have a representation of the couple looking a little less formal.
Modern wedding cake toppers can be anything you like and I have seen some lovely ones. With things like laser cutting cad cam systems and 3D printing being more accessible today people can
express their creativity more easily. A good cake maker can also craft just about anything from icing and marzipan, after all, you can’t beat an edible cake topper.
Wedding Cake Designs.
Wedding cake design is big business. It always has been but it is much more in the public eye now with T.V. shows dedicated to cake design, making stars of the bakers who design and create these amazing cakes.
Wedding cake designs vary from the most simple to some spectacular architectural structures. When I was in Ecuador last year I stumbled across a little Cafe and found to my surprise the back room was a store and bakery for the wedding cake maker. They were working on cakes twice my height with beautiful intricate details. These were truly amazing cakes.
There is a thriving home-based industry making and designing wedding cakes. Many families
work hard together to make beautiful wedding cakes for brides and grooms. This increase in choice and people being more aware of the possibilities has led to many unique designs.
The Tradition of Wedding Cake.
This piece wouldn’t be complete without a quick look at why we have a wedding cake in the first place. Traditionally wedding cake symbolises good fortune and fidelity for the wedding. It is also thought to bring good luck to everybody who eats it. By that measure, I should be the luckiest and one of the biggest photographers about.
It should be made with the finest ingredients. This helps to ensure a long lasting and happy marriage. It is the tradition for the bride to make the first cut symbolising her readiness to leave behind her virginity. In most cases now the first cut is made by both the bride and groom. This is the first formal act they do together. With hands clasped together on the blade showing a united belief in a long and happy future together.
Why 3 tier to a wedding cake?
A little extra snippet about weddings cakes. Traditionally they have 3 tiers. Each cake tier has its own special significance and function.
The first or bottom tear is to be eaten at the ceremony by the attending guests. Giving all at the wedding good luck, a thank you and a way to share the couples good fortune.
The second or middle tier is traditionally given out after the wedding. Either as a favour for the guests to take away or it is given to those who could not attend the wedding day.
The third or top tier was to be saved for the christening of the first born child of the marriage. The traditional wedding cake recipe is a fruitcake, this has a very long shelf life. I’m not sure I would suggest this for a nice sponge cake with fresh cream……
Interestingly I have heard of a medieval tradition of stacking a wedding cake as high as possible. It was
thought that is the couple could manage to kiss over the top of the cake without knocking it over the marriage would be a successful and fruitful one.
Cake Shops vs bespoke Wedding Bakers.
In the past, a cake shop may have been the only option you considered. Maybe one that specialised is baking wedding cakes? These days there are so many home based wedding suppliers that the options are limitless.
There are of course many specialist brick and mortar bakeries that have a long history of designing and creating wedding cake ideas. But there are many small family run businesses based in their own kitchen knocking out some amazing cakes. There are of course ‘off the shelf’ options too.
It all comes down to what is important to you? I go into depth a little more in the article about wedding budgets here. but decide what is your priority. Every wedding and every couple are different. Invest your time and budget in the areas that are most suitable to your needs.
I have had lots of fun researching and putting this article on Wedding Cake Ideas together as well as looking through some old wedding I have photographed for the pictures to use. If there is anything you want to see here, let me know. This is only what I have found or seen and like everything you read on the internet, treat it as opinion more than fact.