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Is the Traditional Wedding Cake History?

Gloria Kreitzberg // Marketing Director

Traditions run deep in our society, so it’s not likely that the many couples will be throwing the typical 3-tiered, buttercream-laden wedding cake out the window anytime soon. Although some wedding traditions will never die, there is a growing trend to break the mold when deciding what type of dessert couples will serve their wedding guests. Bakeries all across America are seeing everything from no frosting (naked wedding cakes), to stacks of waffles in the shape of a traditional cake—dripping with maple syrup.

Colleen Baker of Cheesy Eddies in Rochester, NY, has seen her share of couples request alternatives to the traditional wedding cake. Colleen says, “Couples are using our cheesecakes for centerpieces. They’re also choosing to offer mini desserts that include carrot cake, mini cheesecakes, cheesecake filled cupcakes and other pastries.” She also points out that today’s newlyweds-to-be are savvy when it comes to saving money. “Selecting alternative desserts can be easier on their wedding budget than the typical four- and five-tiered elaborate wedding cake,” she adds.


A Donut Cake? What?

There is a new trend that is taking place–more like a revolution–to replace the traditional wedding cake. Couples are choosing desserts that reflect their own unique taste and style. Many couples are taking a more playful approach and stacking all sorts of sweet confections to resemble the shape of a wedding cake. Here are some non-traditional ideas:

  • A tower of donuts fresh from their favorite donut shop
  • Tiers of pies–a wide variety for every taste
  • Cupcakes stacked on plates in the shape of a cake
  • Stacks of Belgium waffles iced or dripping with syrup
  • A tower of cannolis–from cheese to chocolate
  • Cookies and pastries
  • Brownies squares piled high dotted with fresh berries
  • Cheesecakes in various flavors
  • A croquembouche (puffed pastries dripping with caramel)


Naked (and not afraid)

Forget the fondant and buttercream. Brides everywhere are going ‘naked’ on their wedding day—we’re talking about their wedding cakes. There is a growing trend to either lightly frost, or partially cover wedding cakes with frosting, or skip the traditional cover-up all together. Wedding receptions all over the country are displaying a variety of cake flavors, drizzled with glazes, chocolate ganache, caramel, fruit sauces, or no sweet concoctions at all. Fresh berries and fruits, nuts, candies, or other adornments are replacing fondant and buttercream. The look of the naked wedding cakes can be clean and sophisticated, or shabby chic. Either way, naked cakes are a trend that won’t be slowing down any time soon.


No Cake at All!

What if there were no wedding cake or cake-shaped desert present at all? Would guests be appalled and leave the reception? Not likely. They might even mill around the sweets table indefinitely if they were presented with these unique desserts.

Candy Shop Table – Old-fashioned apothecary jars of vintage style candy favorites makes a rustic style wedding a little sweeter. Licorice sticks, sponge candy, gummy bears, and an assortment of milk and dark chocolates are just a few sweets that can be offered. Freshen up the candy aisle with white, milk, and dark chocolate covered strawberries and pieces of fresh fruit. It is a romantic event, so don’t forget the chocolate kisses.

Do-it-yourself Dessert Bar – There’s nothing more fun than customizing your own dessert at an event. Casual style dessert bars are popping up at rustic (and traditional) wedding receptions everywhere. Some ideas to include at your dessert bar are S’mores, ice cream and fresh yogurt sundaes, cream pie parfaits (consisting of pudding, pie crust crumbles, whipped cream, and candy toppings), strawberry and blueberry shortcake, pick-frost-top your own cupcake bar, and any dessert that would be fun to customize.

Dessert-on-a-Stick – People love to munch just about any type of food or dessert assembled on a stick. The most popular wedding cake alternative trend is cake pops, which is cake dipped in a chocolate or ganache and sometimes rolled in sprinkles or cake or cookie crumbles. Another fun dessert on a stick is layered strawberry short cake. Consider are assorted fruit chunks dipped in chocolate, mini cream puffs and fresh fruit, and fruit and brownies drizzled in chocolate. With a little imagination, the possibilities are endless.

Petite Deserts Table
A variety of small desert tastings will have your wedding guests returning to your sweets table often. They’ll boast about it long after they leave your reception. We’ve listed just a handful of mini delights you may want to include.

  • Fruit tartlets
  • Mini cheesecakes
  • Variety of small cupcakes
  • Personal sized fruit and cream pies
  • Petit fours
  • Chocolate mouse cups
  • Fruit hand dipped in chocolate
  • Dessert shots (small parfait desserts)
  • Mini cakes (traditional, carrot cake, red velvet)
  • French macaroons
  • Brownie bite cupcakes


Whether you choose a traditional tiered cake or take a more whimsical approach to wedding deserts, Webster Golf Club Weddings & Events will make sure your sweet ending is special. We are well known for the importance we place on the dessert portion of your wedding reception. Our unique gourmet flavored coffee bar makes ‘coffee and desert’ time, just as special as your dinner. If you have your own ideas about non-traditional wedding deserts, feel free to post them on our Facebook page.