If you’re considering a DIY wedding cake, congrats on being very brave, ambitious, and perhaps a bit insane. Kidding! Well, kind of. It take a special kind of person to want to make your own wedding cake. The right candidate is an experienced baker who takes joy in whipping up sweet treats for loved ones, as well as someone who remains calm under stress, is good with time management, and can roll with the punches. If this sounds like you, going the DIY wedding cake route might be the perfect way for you to add your personal touch to your wedding day festivities.
And if this doesn’t sound like you, then stop binging episodes of “The Great British Bake Off” and start researching a professional wedding cake provider in your area.
Even if your best friend is your KitchenAid stand mixer, baking at this scale—both in number of mouths to feed and emotional significance—is not for the faint of heart. The best DIY wedding cake scenarios are the result of much forethought and consideration prior to embarking down the self-made route. Wondering if a DIY wedding cake is right for you? First read our 10 tips on how to DIY a wedding cake below to see if this feat sounds feasible, and if the answer is yes, get inspired with some gorgeous, yet approachable, wedding cake ideas taken from Zola’s real weddings.
Looking for the best wedding cake for your wedding? Look no further! Brighton Savoy has you covered.
10 Tips for DIY Wedding Cake Perfection
1. Consider Your Motivation
Make your own wedding cake because you really want to, love baking, and feel comfortable with a variety of outcomes (like, maybe the design isn’t exactly what you had in mind, or you run out of time and end up serving guests sheet cake from the nearest grocery store, or no cake at all). Do not DIY your cake to save money or to be crowned Wedding DIY Queen. If you think you’re cutting corners in your budget, add up the price of bulk ingredients, decorations, display tools, and the amount of time a DIY wedding cake will cost you, and think again. (And yes, in the run-up to your wedding, your time is absolutely money.)
2. Stay in Your Comfort Zone
Now’s not the time to bust out an exotic recipe involving passion fruit gelée, or to attempt a tricky technique you’ve never tried before. Stick with cake recipes you know and have mastered, and that you’re sure (from experience) taste good. Don’t feel boxed in by the classic white-on-white, multi-tiered design that tradition has us expect: if your speciality is your grandma’s chocolate babka, then babka away. If you made it, and you can cut and serve it, and it tastes good, guests will rave.
When it comes to wedding DIY, trial runs are everything. Don’t wait until the week of your wedding to find out that the “very simple” YouTube tutorial you were banking on is much more difficult or time-consuming than you expected. “Guesswork” and “weddings” don’t belong in the same equation, so practice baking and decorating your wedding cake months ahead of time when you can afford to experiment, make mistakes, and figure out the exact materials and length of time your project requires. Or, who knows, you might realize that you’re not up for a DIY wedding cake after all—you’ll still have time to book a pro baker.
4. Prepare (Like, Really)
Do your research. From your trial run, you should know exactly how long each step of the process should take and which tools are critical. Map out your cake-making schedule in advance, so you have a solid game plan during your wedding week for what needs to get done and by when. Gather all your supplies, keep them organized as you work, and be sure to build in a time for mess-ups and do-overs. And if at all possible, try to avoid leaving any cake-related tasks to your actual wedding day.
5. Use Your Freezer
So that you’re not covered in flour for days before your wedding—and to actually improve the process and quality of the finished product—make the cake portion ahead of time and freeze the tiers. Cake freezes well, defrosts quickly, and slightly frozen cake is easier to work with and will result in fewer crumbs in the final icing. Wrap your cake layers really well in plastic wrap, then tin foil, and store in the back of a freezer for up to a month.
6. Accept Imperfection
This tip goes for any DIY wedding project: when you take on a wedding task that’s generally reserved for professionals, you’re going to have to accept less-than-professional-looking results. A perfectly imperfect look is part of the charm and unique beauty of handmade goods. If you will be cringing all night looking over at your slightly-left-leaning homemade cake, or if you’ll be up ’til 5am trying to exactly replicate that Pinterest tutorial for the perfect fondant ribbon, then do yourself a favor and find another wedding project to accomplish by hand.
7. Keep It Simple
Following that thought, no one will care (or even notice) if your wedding cake is on the plain side. You don’t have to become a sugar paste artist to put your personal stamp on your wedding cake—just make something delicious and easy (enough) to pull off, and rely on the beauty of fresh flowers and smart presentation to help add that “wow” factor (see #10).
8. Cheat (A Little)
Step 1: Make just one small, stunning work of cake art and display it proudly. Step 2: guests will ooh and ahh! Step 3: ask your catering staff to slice and serve store-bought sheet cake behind the scene. You’ll still have technically make your own wedding cake, even if it’s not what the majority of guests end up eating.
Brighton Savoy has the best list of wedding cakes suppliers to help you celebrate your dream wedding celebration.
9. Remember Transport
It’s one thing to craft an elaborate stunner in your home; it’s another thing to get that tiered sugar-tower to your wedding venue in one unscathed piece. When making your DIY game plan, don’t forget to budget in time (or perhaps literally money) to pack up and move your cake to its final destination. It’s worth inquiring with your venue if there’s an onsite fridge you can leave the cake in for a day or two prior to your reception. Enlist the help of a trusted friend or family member to help you, especially if it’s being transported on the day-of!
10. Lean on Decoration
This is worth repeating: it’s amazing what a few fresh flowers can do to transform an otherwise average cake into a sight to behold. Rely upon the final touches to take your homemade creation to the next level: put it on a pretty cake stand, garnish it with some sturdy flower heads (roses, peonies, dahlias, ranunculus, and sunflowers all work great), put a topper or a sign on top, and voilà.
What Are the Most Popular Flavors For a Wedding Cake?
According to fictional bakery owner, Fran Weston from Gilmore Girls, cake isn’t just a delicious dessert you get to eat after you’re married, “Cake is the glue of the wedding.”
She’s not wrong about the importance of a wedding cake. Choosing your wedding cake type and flavor are important decisions in the wedding planning process. But with so many flavor combinations to choose from—not to mention icings, fillings, and decorations—you might be overwhelmed with the confectionary possibilities.
If you’re looking for wedding cake ideas to help you choose, this guide will show you the most cakes of the last 60 years, the up-and-coming flavor favorites, and daring delectables of wedding cake flavors. You’ll also learn a bit about other taste profiles that will suit each cake flavor to spark cake creativity. What are you waiting for? Dig in!
4 Most Popular Flavors Over the Last 60 Years
Since the 1960s, the most popular cake flavors for weddings haven’t strayed far from four classics. These cakes have been tantalizing the taste buds of wedding guests and couples for decades and are sure to be a hit for years to come.
You can’t go wrong with a vanilla cake on your wedding. It’s a crowd-pleaser, it’s light, it’s delicious, and it goes with the decor—wedding white.
Suggested Flavor Pairings: Vanilla is as adaptable as it is popular. You can choose a classic filling and frosting, such as vanilla buttercream, or introduce a more playful flavor profile. Check out the examples below:
- More vanilla
- Fruit or berries
Chocoholics rejoice, this delicious flavor is a wedding favorite. It’s commonly layered with a tiered vanilla cake and filled with vanilla buttercream. This classic flavor offers plenty of room for creative fillings, icings, and accents.
Suggested Flavor Pairings: Chocolate cake can be a decadent dessert or a delicate delight. Find a flavor profile that works for you below:
- Salted Caramel
- Dark Chocolate
- German Chocolate
- Black Forest
- White Chocolate
This slice of buttery deliciousness rose into the nation’s most popular wedding cake flavors in the 1970s. But you might be wondering what exactly makes yellow cake… yellow. The ingredients are almost identical to those of a white or vanilla cake with one key exception—the use of whole eggs, including yolks. White and vanilla cakes use just the whites of eggs to maintain their pale color. But the introduction of whole egg yolks brings color and richness to a yellow cake.
Suggested Flavor Pairings: The golden confection plays particularly well with chocolate, but you can get creative with fillings and icings:
- Cream cheese
Red velvet cakes are famous for their rich taste, moist texture, and that stunning red shade. This cake sets itself apart from others in its surprising list of ingredients—cocoa powder, buttermilk, and vinegar. These ingredients help soften the proteins of the mixture and create an indulgent treat perfect for weddings.
Suggested Flavor Pairings: A red velvet cake is already very rich, so most bakers recommend leaning into the classic cream cheese frosting. But there’s a little wiggle room to explore different avenues of taste pairings:
- Cream cheese
- Raspberry jam
- Chocolate chips
If you want something a little more unexpected, take a look at these up-and-coming flavors for a sensational (and scrumptious) wedding cake.
Finally, we can all admit that adults enjoy funfetti as much (if not more) than children. This cake takes a colorful spin on the classic white or vanilla cake to bring a taste of whimsy to your wedding guests. And no, you don’t have to use the boxed kind. Bakers from all over the country offer funfetti flavors using a variety of sprinkles to ensure a festive flavor for your wedding cake.
Suggested Flavor Pairings: Keep your funfetti flavor pairings light and a little playful:
- Vanilla bean
- Cream cheese
- Strawberry jam
Sweet, zesty, and a little tart, lemon cakes are ideal for warm-weather weddings. They can also bring a bit of sunshine to a winter reception. If you’re not a big fan of buttercream, lemon cake and mousse filling is a match made in dessert heaven.
Suggested Flavor Pairings: For lemon cake flavor pairings, think light, sweet, and airy:
- Cream cheese
A spice cake isn’t necessarily spicy, it just means that certain spices are prominent in every bite. Spice cakes offer subtle nuances of flavor, a bit of warmth, and a comforting aesthetic to any wedding. You can select a classic flavor, such as carrot cake, or lean into winter with flavors such as cinnamon, ginger, clove, and cardamom.
Suggested Flavor Pairings: The flavor of these cakes come from the use of warm, homey spices that might make you think of winter. Different fillings can heighten the allusions to chilly weather, or you can offset the spice with year-round flavors:
- Maple syrup
- Cream cheese
Almond cakes are growing in popularity due to their nutty flavor and versatility in taste pairings. These cakes are distinguished from the usual wedding cake due to their slightly denser texture and moistness. Almond cakes are also common flavors for gluten-free cake alternatives.
Suggested Flavor Pairings: When it comes to fillings and icings, almond cakes are almost as versatile as vanilla or white cakes. Mix and match these complementary tastes to find a flavor that sings to your taste buds:
- Whipped cream
Double the celebration sensations with a pink Champagne cake. This dessert is made by infusing vanilla cake with Champagne. It pairs perfectly with the bubbly wedding beverages and florals.
Suggested Flavor Pairings: Pink Champagne cakes are light, moist, and have a hint of that delicious Champagne flavor. Complement those indulgent tastes with sweet fillings and icings:
- White chocolate
If you’re looking for a flavor that stands out from the crowd and deserves a standing ovation for deliciousness, take a look at these maverick flavors for a memorable and scrumptious wedding cake.
Transport yourself and your guests to a French hunting lodge with a cognac cake. This rich, warm wedding cake gets its flavor from using cognac instead of water in the batter. A cognac cake is sometimes complemented with holiday herbs. If you’re looking for a luxurious flavor for a winter wedding, look no further.
Suggested Flavor Pairings: The cognac flavor of this cake opens doors for a variety of warming flavors:
- Maple syrup
Coffee and Cream
Coffee goes so well with sweets, so why not marry the two tastes in your wedding cake? If you’re a coffee-lover, a coffee and cream cake will express your personality in every slice.
Suggested Flavor Pairings: The rule for a coffee and cream cake is simple: whatever flavor would pair well with coffee will probably taste wonderful in a coffee and cream cake. Get inspiration from your local coffee shop’s menu for a sumptuous mix of bitter, sweet, and creamy:
- Whipped cream
Peanut Butter Cup
Were there ever two substances more made for each other than peanut butter and chocolate? This salty-sweet confection invokes nostalgia, indulgence, and multiple trips back to the cake serving station.
Suggested Flavor Pairings: A peanut butter cup cake is perfectly paired already, but there’s ways to heighten the taste experience using other candy bar flavors and textures:
- Chocolate chips
- Salted caramel
Perfect for summer weddings, coconut cake can be delicate and delicious, or dense and decadent. Coconut cakes are also a wonderful flavor option if you want to stick to the white cake wedding tradition.
Suggested Flavor Pairings: Coconut cakes are rich and tasty, but they also open your wedding cake flavor options to tropical notes:
Whatever The Flavor, Nothing Tastes Better than Wedding Cake
Whether you’re looking for a wedding cake classic or a unique taste experience, your wedding cake flavor will be something guests look forward to all day. Take your time and talk to your baker about playing with different combinations—and don’t forget to taste them all. You’ll find a flavor that’s just right for you.
However, it’s not the flavor, filling, or icing that makes a wedding cake delicious. The joy and sweetness of your wedding day will be infused in every bite. So no matter what flavor you choose, you’ve already made the most important choice—choosing the person you will be eating cake with for the rest of your life.
Check out our extensive list of wedding cake suppliers at Brighton Savoy.
Biggest Wedding Cake Mistakes Couples Make, According to Bakers
Believe it or not, a lot more goes into a wedding cake than eggs, flour and fondant icing. In fact, lots of couples end up in a sticky situation on their wedding day by making a few mistakes along the way. That’s why we talked to real cake bakers to see what tips they have for couples—read
their sweet advice, below.
- Not Thinking About Slice Size
- Trying to Please Other People
- Not Making Sure Every Agreed Upon Detail Is in Writing
- Forgetting to Bring a Budget
- Thinking Your Options Are Limited
- Feeling Restrained by Your Budget
- Thinking Too Big
- Choosing the Wrong Baker
- Not Considering the Weather
- Forgetting About Display
- Thinking You Have to Stick to One Flavor
- Not Asking for a Sketch in Advance
- Not Coming With a Vision (aka Pictures)
- Having Unrealistic Expectations