Wedding Cake 101

on January 24, 2012
wedding cake 101

The wedding cake is an important element of your special day. It’s a focal point at your reception and will be remembered by your guests for its beauty and taste. Wedding cake styles can range from the traditional stacked cake to a sculpted masterpiece. When choosing your perfect wedding cake, remember to allow your personal style to show in the final design.

1. Stacked. The traditional stacked or tiered cake is one of the most recognizable wedding cake styles. The bottom layer is the widest, and each ascending layer becomes smaller. Traditionally, a stacked cake has at least three levels and each tier is round. However, five and six levels can be stacked with tiers shaped as squares or octagons for visual appeal. Stacked tiers can be set so they appear off-kilter or topsy-turvy as well. This variation can be whimsical or elegant depending on the cake’s decor. In addition, stacked cakes are a blank canvas for decoration. This style supports delicately formed sugar flowers or other decorations, such as beading, ribbons or intricate scrollwork.

2. Sculpted. A sculpted cake is one that has been formed into a three-dimensional shape and is a unique way to let your personality shine. A creative wedding cake artisan can shape your cake into a replica of your chapel, an elegant gazebo or even a collection of seashells for a beach wedding.

3. Sheet cake. Depending on the size and style of your wedding, a large sheet cake may the perfect choice. A sheet cake can be iced with lush buttercream frosting or even covered with smooth fondant. Buttercream is a light, creamy and versatile frosting. It can be flavored and colored to suit your preferences. Cakes covered in fondant will look smooth and seamless. Sugar flowers or other decorations can be attached to either fondant or buttercream frosted cakes. Sheet cakes also may have a layer of cream or fruit filling.

4. Cupcake tower. Cupcakes arranged in a tower can have a strong visual impact and allow for versatility. With cupcakes, you can have multiple cake flavors and various decorations and frosting to complement your bridal colors. From red velvet to mocha and lemon-vanilla cream, the cake flavors for cupcakes are almost endless. A typical cupcake tower will have about six tiers or levels, with the bottom tier being the widest and each ascending tier becoming smaller, similar to a stacked cake.

5. Individual cakes. Individual mini-cakes generally look like tiny wedding cakes and are distinguishable from cupcakes. They may be displayed on tiers, but often are served on small plates, placed at the guests’ tables. When serving individual cakes, you will need a bridal cake for cake-cutting pictures and for your own enjoyment. These personal-sized wedding cakes can be decorated the same as a larger cake, including delicate piping and marzipan decorations. Marzipan, according to, is “a sweet, pliable mixture of almond paste, sugar and sometimes unbeaten egg whites.” It can be molded into flowers and other tiny shapes and decorations.

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