Best Wedding Cake Flavors
From classic vanilla to trendy salted caramel, here’s a look at some of the most popular wedding cake flavors.
Wedding cakes come in all shapes and sizes. Some couples opt for subtle little concoctions, while others go for tiers that tower to the sky. Sometimes, couples who wish to inject a little personality into their big day order a 3D cake shaped like a city landmark, vehicle, or movie character. Often, incredibly elaborate cakes are mostly Styrofoam, and only a tiny bit is edible for the cutting ceremony (there’s a whole other cake for guests hidden in the kitchen).
Wedding cakes should look pretty, but—if we’re being honest—most guests only care about how it tastes. Selecting a wedding cake flavor is another opportunity to inject your personality as a couple into your big day. Are you chocoholics or vanilla fiends? Do you like spiced fruits or candied nuts? Is your beverage of choice a morning cup of joe or afternoon tea? However you both answer, there are wedding cake flavors to complement your personalities.
History of the wedding cake
Like many modern wedding traditions (check out the bonkers history of the garter toss), the relatively benign custom of the wedding cake evolved from a curious practice.
In ancient Rome, grooms smashed a barley cake over the bride’s head to finalize their marriage. This custom evolved (probably because brides became tired of wincing at the end of their wedding ceremonies) to a tradition in medieval England where newlyweds shared a first kiss over baked goods known as “Bride’s Pye.”
However, these wedding cakes flavors and fillings (or, as our friends across the pond say, “wedding cakes flavours and fillings”) were quite different from what modern audiences expect. Instead of a sweet delicacy, Bride’s Pye was a savory dish filled with differing ingredients (probably whatever the baker had lying around). One recipe called for spices, lamb “stones” (which are, ahem, you know…), veal sweetbreads, oysters, and cockscomb (an edible flower, not an inedible rooster’s crown, which, given the preceding ingredients, is an understandable mistake to make).
Wedding cake flavor ideas
Fortunately (for everyone), our tastes (in both flavor profile and traditions) have improved considerably. Today, wedding cake flavors run from traditional to trendy, but they’re all sweet and delicious.
When choosing a wedding cake flavor, the most important aspect is you and your spouse. Start by making a list of flavors you both enjoy. Then, find a baker (this part is the best). Research bakers and call around to determine their availability and if they fit your budget. Once you’ve narrowed the candidates down to 3-5 bakers, send them your flavor profiles and ask them to add their favorites to your list (every baker has strong opinions about the best wedding cake flavors combinations). Finally, schedule a cake tasting to sample their interpretation of your desired flavors (we told you, the best), and select the baker to make your wedding cake.
For a bit of help discovering the best wedding cake flavors, check out the following wedding cake flavors list.
Traditional wedding cake flavors
There’s nothing wrong with kicking it old school. These flavors have stood the test of time, and only the snootiest guests would refuse a slice.
Vanilla with buttercream
It’s the most traditional of the traditional wedding cake flavors. Light, pleasing, and utterly inoffensive, a vanilla cake with buttercream frosting may not win raves from your guests, but young and old alike will finish their slice. To add a little flair, enhance the cake with fruit, berries, lemon curd, coconut, or a liqueur, like amaretto.
Following immediately on vanilla cake’s heels, chocolate cake is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. From the discovery of grinding cocoa beans to make chocolate in 1764 to the 20th century, chocolate cake was a luxury for the wealthy. Once cocoa prices fell, everyone could enjoy chocolate cake, and the world became just a little bit better. True chocoholics can ask their wedding cake baker to pile on several types of chocolate to create a “chocolate decadence cake.”
Likely an evolution of pound cake, yellow cake is basically a vanilla cake with less vanilla. Also, the recipe uses whole eggs (as opposed to egg whites), causing the yellow hue. Yellowcake provides an ideal canvas to dress up with fruits, nuts, and either chocolate, vanilla, or cream cheese frosting.
This colorful little ditty is also another evolution of a classic, this time a chocolate cake. It’s believed that 1800s French chefs, experimenting—and competing—to discover the perfect cake recipe, invented red velvet cake by adding vinegar to a chocolate cake recipe. Vinegar creates a chemical reaction that causes the red coloring.
During World War II rationing on foods like butter and sugar, tenacious home cooks determined to have cake discovered a workaround by substituting beet juice. To this day, some red velvet cake recipes list beet juice as an ingredient.
Popular wedding cakes flavors
They may not be traditional, but these popular flavors are a perfect complement to your wedding celebration.
Ah, the healthy choice. Carrot cakes are packed with beta carotene, fiber, potassium, and antioxidants. Oh, hold on a second; it turns out that’s just carrots. A carrot cake overflows with fat and sugar, just like any other cake, which explains why it tastes so much better than a carrot.
Sure, carrots are in carrot cake, but the other ingredients counteract any potential health benefit. Instead, the carrots add flavor and keep the cake moist. Some bakers also include raisins or pineapple in their recipe—and we politely ask that they stop.
Typical lemon cakes are dense loaves often served with coffee or tea service. The origin of lemon cakes is unknown, but it’s believed they evolved from a pound cake. However, when translated for a wedding, a lemon cake is usually a light and airy white cake loaded with lemon juice and zest.
Strawberries & cream
Delicate and delicious, this vanilla cake is packed with strawberries and layered with a thick cream cheese frosting. The juice from the strawberries gives the cake its light pink color (although some recipes also add strawberry gelatin mix, which really brightens the cake). There are variations of strawberries & cream cake that only include strawberries in the icing, which is ludicrous, but you do you.
Trendy wedding cake flavors
Fads come and go, and these are currently some of the trendiest flavors; jump on them while they’re still hot.
It’s challenging to think of a recent food trend that’s lasted longer than salted caramel. The birth of salted caramel candies occurred in France during the 1960s. In the 1990s, gourmet chefs latched onto the flavor, and one-percenters lapped it up. Salted caramel hit the mainstream in 2008, partly because President Barack Obama traveled with a supply on the campaign trail.
A salted caramel wedding cake is layers of either vanilla or chocolate cake separated by salted caramel frosting and topped with a heaping drizzle of the sweet, salty delight.
Confetti, a.k.a. funfetti
Confetti cake may conjure an image of grocery store aisles filled with boxes, but you don’t need to resort to a pre-made mix for your wedding cake. Bakers across the country have put their twist on this childhood classic.
This sprinkle-filled yellow cake is one of the trendiest wedding cakes over the past few years. There’s something youthful and joyful about cutting into a cake (or having a slice placed before you) and seeing a shower of rainbow colors. It will delight your guests.
Liqueur (Amaretto, Grand Marnier, Irish cream, etc.)
Add an adult twist to your wedding cake with a spirited flavor. Amaretto creates a warm, nutty cake; Grand Marnier provides a citrus punch; and Irish cream delivers a blend of nutty, chocolate, and vanilla. Bakers take different approaches to liqueur cakes. Some use non-alcoholic ingredients to approximate the liqueur’s flavor (such as using orange juice, orange zest, and spices in place of Grand Marnier), while others use the liqueur for flavoring and to moisten the cake. If your baker takes the latter approach, please understand that alcohol is in the cake. It’s not so much that your guests will need to Uber home, but you may want a second cake for the kiddos, so they keep away from the boozy one.
Every pinky-up type who enjoys a nice cuppa should consider a tea-infused cake. While baked goods infused with tea are in vogue, the technique is not new. The recipe for tea brack, a traditional Irish bread, uses brewed Irish breakfast tea and tea-soaked fruits.
One of the great things about a tea-infused cake is that the sky’s the limit when it comes to flavor. So, whether you like green tea or black, earl grey or Darjeeling, oolong or chamomile, your preference—and personality—is reflected in your wedding cake.
At DFW Celebrations, we know that selecting a wedding cake flavor is just one of the many decisions you need to make for your big day. Let us take one burden off your back. Our amazing Dallas wedding venues are ready to host your wedding, reception, or both. Reach out to our expert event planners in Dallas and discover how we can turn your dreams into reality. To schedule a tour, please contact us here.