Wedding cakes: everything you need to know about them

The wedding cake – modern or vintage – is one of the highlights of your wedding. That is why there is so much you need to know about the selection, decoration and presentation of the cake of all cakes. We have summarized everything here from A to Z to give you a complete overview and wish you already now: Bon appetit!

First of all, it’s about the size (one-story or multi-story) – this can vary a lot depending on the number of guests and budget. In terms of taste, the wedding cake should above all contain your favorite flavors, but it should also not be too fancy so that the guests can also find something to their taste.

The decoration is of course the most important thing, we have lots of tips and a photo gallery for inspiration for you. Important decision: Who bakes the cake and how does it get to the location? And how would you like to stage the cutting?

A little background information on the customs complete our extensive article on wedding cakes – click on the topic of your choice.

1. Wedding cake prices: What does a wedding cake cost?

As is so often the case, there is no specific answer to the question about the price of a wedding cake – it depends on the wedding cake!

2. What shapes and sizes are there?

The most obvious difference in wedding cake shapes is the number of floors. The typical traditional wedding cake, as we know it from dream weddings, is 1-tier, 3-tier or 5-tier.

One-tier wedding cakes

This variant is much easier to make than a multi-tier wedding cake. You do not need an étagère, there is no assembly and transport is usually much easier.

However, that doesn’t mean that cakes like these have to look simple. With a nice ornament or a chic frosting, wedding cakes with a simple shape can also look very festive and beautiful.

The biggest disadvantage is that it is difficult to combine several flavors in one cake.

Heart shape – one-tier wedding cake

In addition to the simple, classic heart shape, which is a symbol of love, two hearts fused into one another can also serve as a shape. The matching color is of course red, which can be achieved very well with strawberries or other red fruits.

It doesn’t always have to be a symmetrical heart. Hearts that curve downwards are also very popular.

Multi-tier wedding cakes

With the multi-tier dream cakes, the big difference is not only in the number of tiers, but also in the way they are attached on top of each other:

Self-supporting wedding cakes

The individual levels are stacked directly on top of one another without using a cake stand or étagère. Care should be taken to ensure that the bottom is very stable so that the cake does not sag inward.

In the case of self-supporting cakes, only firmer fillings are possible, especially for the lower floors (e.g. Sachertorte, buttercream etc.), as these have to bear the weight of the upper floors.

Wooden pegs are often inserted into the cake to stabilize it, so as to absorb part of the weight above.

Wedding cake with cake stand / wedding cake stand

Advantages of the freestanding tiered stand:

Each can be cut individually and there is no need to “eat through” from top to bottom. Therefore definitely recommended if the top floor is to be frozen.

This variant also offers more space for decoration. So if a lot of ornamentation and decoration is desired, then this free-standing tier (or the staircase or column tier) is preferable.

In addition, all floors can usually be transported separately and only put together at the wedding location. That of course makes the transport a lot easier.

Traditionally we are more familiar with the 5-tier wedding cake on the European mainland. It not only offers a large number of pieces, but also has a Christian symbolic meaning.

Those who do not want the classic shapes can, for example, fall back on the teardrop shape or the octagon (octagonal). Or you can mix different shapes: square at the bottom, round in the middle and heart-shaped at the top.

Also an eye-catcher are frills that add that certain something around the wedding cake. This also enhances the classic shapes and can also be set off in color.

Incidentally, the arrangement of the individual levels is mostly pyramidal. But there are also tiered stands on which the cakes are placed or rotated. This looks very good with square wedding cakes, for example.

Of course, there are also cakes that are particularly original and the shape fits perfectly with the theme wedding. Such as the  princess-and-the-pea wedding cake  for a fairytale wedding or wedding cakes that look like real wedding dresses.

3. Wedding cakes: tastes, colors and coating

Now it comes to the delicious contents of the wedding cake. A lot depends on your personal preferences – but also think about allergies for your wedding guests.

Allergies and Co .: It is best to ask about allergies or intolerances on the wedding invitation so that you can prepare yourself for them when it comes to wedding cakes. A small tart without gelatine for vegetarians or vegans. Or special muffins for guests with lactose intolerance or gluten intolerance. You can also provide an extra cake for diabetics.

The possible flavors of a wedding cake are almost endless. Make sure that there is at least one taste “classic” without alcohol with your wedding cake.

Some pastry chefs offer the opportunity to try a few flavors by arrangement. So you know in advance what you can look forward to.

When making your choice , please note:  season, cake shape, guest preferences (allergies, diabetes, vegan, alcohol). It’s best to label the individual floors so that not everyone has to ask.

Marzipan is made from rose oil and almonds and therefore has a symbolic meaning. The marzipan stands for love (roses) and happiness (almonds), but the slightly bitter taste of the almond should also point to the bad times that the bridal couple will master together.

In contrast to fondant or royal icing, marzipan is never snow white, but always has a light yellow tone. Marzipan is relatively insensitive and offers good adhesion for other wedding cake decoration elements.

But marzipan is not so easy to process and is a matter of taste, so it may not be the right thing for every guest. The compromise: marzipan as an ornament that can be removed.

4. Wedding cake decoration: cake figures, cake toppers & decorations

When it comes to decoration, you have an almost endless choice. It also gives the wedding cake its final touch and should fit perfectly into your wedding decoration.

Whether classic, modern, playful, puristic or funny – the cake must definitely suit you and your celebration. Are you celebrating a motto wedding or have a special topic, this can be taken up great when decorating the cake.

5. Unusual formats of the wedding cake

The increasingly popular, modern alternatives to the large wedding cake are small, sweet snacks such as cupcakes & Co. , which are also beautifully presented on a cake stand like a traditional wedding cake.

The advantage of these small bites is, among other things, that they look less bulky and the guests can eat them standing up without any problems. In addition, you could offer countless different flavors, which is not possible even with a multi-tiered wedding cake.

Even if cupcakes, cake pops, pralines and the like might not look as impressive as a wedding cake. At the latest when the wedding cake is cut, the finger food shows its strengths. Because no matter how many have already eaten, the others still look just as appetizing as they did at the beginning.

If you serve cupcakes, macarons, pralines, brownies, cake pops, push pop cakes or petit fours instead of a classic wedding cake, then the traditional cutting is of course not necessary, which may even be okay with one or the other.

But if you don’t want to do without it and present the delicacies on a tiered stand, you can set up a small real wedding cake on the top floor. Then the question arises of who gets the “real” wedding cake because there are only a few pieces of it.

These unusual shapes of the wedding cake – in English sweet buffets – are also great as a complement to the candy bar or a classic wedding cake, which can then be a bit smaller in any case.

Like so many wedding trends, the trend of cupcakes as a particularly unusual wedding cake variant became known through weddings in the USA and England (where they were also known as fairy cakes).

Cupcakes are similar to muffins, but they are usually made of a softer and sweeter batter, with a glaze and are nicely decorated. So that the cupcakes can be presented beautifully, you need a cupkage tiered stand. You can find a large selection of cupcake étagères on Amazon .

Tip: Let your wedding guests decorate the cupcakes themselves.

For this purpose, bowls with a few different chocolate buttons (possibly in the colors of the wedding), chocolate sprinkles and other edible decorations are placed next to the cupcakes – a great item on the program.

Cake pops can decorate the actual wedding cake, but they can also be offered individually as a cake insert. Children especially love the small cakes on a stick – perfect for snacking.

Cake pops are also offered in the form of wedding cakes or in the design of the bride & groom (wedding dress / suit). That looks funny and is a real highlight on the cake table.

Price: from around € 1.50 per cake pop

Push pop cakes

Push pop cakes are a slightly different variant of cake pops. Like ice cream from childhood, cake is pushed out of a round plastic tube and eaten layer by layer. These consist of cream, fruits, cakes and everything else that your heart desires. Funny and a real eye-catcher for many.

The macaron is a French meringue made from almond flour – also an original idea as an alternative to the classic wedding cake. Macarons have a diameter of three to five centimeters and are therefore ideal finger food. The filling is special and can consist of anything from buttercream to caramel.

The grooms cake is a tradition that is popular in the USA and still quite unknown in Germany. This is an additional, small extra cake that is specially made for the groom.

The purpose of the groom cake is to allow the groom to make a decision, since so many wedding decisions are strongly influenced by the bride.

In some cases, the groom chooses the cake himself. The bride can also surprise the groom with a grooms cake.

Often the grooms cake is a simple little cake in the flavor that the groom wants (something stronger, like dark chocolate, is often chosen in contrast to the light wedding cake).

If it should be a little more unusual and individual, then the Grooms Cake can also be a great motif cake that is specially made for the groom.

If motivational cakes are chosen, it should represent something that is important or important to the groom. It can be a hobby, favorite film, club or song.

6. Buy a wedding cake or bake it yourself?

Here we would like to show you the individual advantages and disadvantages and give you tips on how to do this.

If you like to bake for your own life, it is understandable that your own wedding cake is particularly appealing to you. But please consider carefully whether you really want to put yourself under this stress before the wedding!

You know yourself that a cake cannot be conjured up in the blink of an eye. Basically, it is not advisable to bake the wedding cake yourself.

If you really want to bake the cake yourself: Get support from friends or family. Maybe you have a great cake recipe as a family tradition.

Maybe you happen to have talented pastry chefs in your family? If they agree to take over your wedding cake, you can save the costs of a professional cake, but you should then also be able to live with an imperfect result or transport damage.

Discuss together what you imagine and discuss everything exactly.

7. Transport and storage of the wedding cake

If you have your wedding cake baked by the confectioner / cake designer, you should inquire whether delivery to the desired wedding location is possible.

This saves you a lot of effort, especially with more complex cakes, even if it will cost a few euros more – it is definitely worth it!

If a delivery is not offered, please note the following:

  • Cream cakes in particular are very susceptible to hard braking maneuvers and rapid acceleration. So drive really gently and plan a few more minutes.
  • While driving, the cake must be kept cool (especially in the hot wedding months) and should not be exposed to direct sun. If the cake gets too warm, the coating and decoration can become soft and cause the cake to collapse. This risk is much greater with self-supporting wedding cakes than when transporting individual floors.
  • Individual floors should be transported in separate cake boxes and only assembled on site.
  • Also attach decorative elements and decorations at the party location (if possible). This is all the more true when it comes to decorations made of cream or cream.

Some pastry chefs also offer thermal transport packaging (mostly made of styrofoam), which can be very helpful on hot days. In combination with cold packs, you are well equipped with it. Such transport boxes are expensive for large wedding cakes and are therefore rarely found.

Cream cakes and cream cakes should best be stored in the refrigerator with a hood. The refrigerator is not the best choice for fondant or marzipan cakes, as the wedding cakes can draw moisture there. In this case a cool room (e.g. basement) is more suitable.

Do you have a cold room in the wedding location? There is the best place for short-term storage. Just ask when the wedding cake can be delivered.

In this way you may save yourself the transport on the wedding day, when it is usually stressful enough. And in case something goes wrong, you would have an extra day to find a stopgap.

8. Cut the wedding cake – where, how, when?

Cutting the wedding cake should ideally be a separate item on the program so that this event is celebrated really well. In addition to the visual arrangement, it is also important that the music matches the highlight and thus emphasizes the moment again.

Presenting the wedding cake & cutting the cake in a really beautiful way

After the announcement, you should take your time until all the guests have gathered nearby and can watch the cut. According to superstition, the more wedding guests are present at the cutting, the greater the happiness they share.

Then you can play suitable music and let it come in.

In some areas it is a tradition that the wedding cake is cut by the bride and groom at midnight sharp. This opens the midnight buffet at the same time, which can consist of desserts as well as hearty dishes.

But as beautiful as you can stage the cutting of the wedding cake at midnight, some guests (for example with small children) would probably miss the spectacle at this time.

In the event that there was dancing before the wedding cake, it may take a while before the dance floor fills up. That is why the midnight cake is not ideal for an early party night. 

You should also note the alcohol level to be expected in the wedding party. If you have many friends and relatives who enjoy drinking, an earlier date might be more suitable.

How is the wedding cake cut? – wedding cake custom

The first piece is usually not cut out at the top but at the very bottom! Because – as with so many customs – this is said to bring bad luck.

If the top floor should be kept for freezing if necessary (wedding custom), then cutting on the bottom floor makes more sense anyway.

With a wedding cake in which the floors are directly on top of each other, the cake cannot be cut in any other way than from the top floor. In this case, misfortune will certainly turn a blind eye.