Wedding Cake Decorating Ideas
One of the most important cakes you’ll ever bake, choose or decorate is a wedding cake! Whether you’re baking your own cake on a budget, baking a special cake for your favourite couple’s big day, or simply looking for some inspiration, our Wedding Cake Decorating Ideas guide is the perfect place to help you decide which cake is right for the occasion.
From a little bit of cake history to all of our top tips on choosing the perfect filling, frosting and some easy wedding cake decorating tips along the way too, we’ve got everything you could ever need to make this special cake a roaring success!
What does cake symbolise in a wedding?
Traditionally, wedding cakes were symbolic of good luck, prosperity and fertility used to wish the happy couple a long-lasting marriage and many offspring. Traditional wedding cakes had three tiers, a bottom tier which was served during the ceremony, a middle tier, served afterwards and a third tier, to be kept and served at the Christening of the couple’s first child. Fruit cake was often used as it is easy to preserve, with white icing used to decorate the cake. Refined sugar used to make white icing, or Royal icing as it’s more popularly known, was considered expensive so it was only the wealthiest of brides that had a white-iced cake.
As times progress and traditions change, there are multiple options now available to couples when it comes to choosing their wedding cake, from a multitude of cake flavours to fillings and tiers. Although some couples still adhere to the tradition of freezing a section of their wedding cake and eating it on their first anniversary, most wedding cakes today are chosen for their show-stopping decorations alone and are another chance for the couple to express their personalities, choosing bespoke designs and unusual flavours.
What type of cake is best for a wedding?
When it comes to wedding cake ideas, the best type of cake is the one that best represents the couple and their preferences. If you’re planning for every guest to have a slice, the size of the wedding cake is something that will need to be considered, with three tiers being a popular choice for smaller weddings and five tiers plus for those with over two hundred guests. The best statement wedding cakes are those which add to the wedding’s decor, whether that’s using the same colour scheme as the wedding in the cake’s decoration or taking inspiration from the building and surroundings and incorporating that in the design. For example, Bohemian brides may choose a naked cake adorned with flowers and leaves, whereas a more classic bride may opt for a traditional white cake adorned with hand-painted flowers instead.
Although fruitcake was the traditional cake of choice for a wedding cake, nowadays anything goes! Here are some of the most popular wedding cake choices available today:
1. Vanilla cake
Considered a crowd-pleaser, vanilla cake is a great choice as it’s a simple flavour that works well with a multitude of different frostings. Vanilla with vanilla buttercream may seem like a simple idea, but it’s a truly delicious combination!
2. Funfetti cake
Popular because of its fun look, funfetti cake is made by mixing multicoloured sprinkles into the cake batter before baking to create a colourful finish. A fun choice for a naked cake, the colourful look creates an aesthetically pleasing and appetising finish.
3. Lemon cake
A great option for berry toppings and fillings, lemon cake is loved for its zesty and tangy taste. Pairing well with lemon frosting, and vanilla buttercream, add a touch of raspberry filling and fresh berries to yours for a delicious finish. A perfect choice for a semi-naked cake finished with fresh fruit.
4. Rich flavoured cake
The perfect choice for autumn and winter weddings, or for chocolate-loving brides and grooms, rich flavours such as hazelnut with salted caramel and dark chocolate are becoming more and more popular with couples that want to ditch tradition. If chocolate seems a bit too decadent, then why not opt for red velvet with cream cheese instead?
How can I decorate my wedding cake?
So you’ve decided on which base you want for your wedding cake and now it’s time for the fun part, the decoration. Here we’ve rounded up some of our top easy wedding cake decorating ideas so that you can create a hassle-free show-stopper of a cake that’s worthy of any wedding reception.
Sugarpaste and royal icing
For more traditional wedding cakes, sugarpaste and royal icing are the perfect combination for making a chic and sophisticated design. Roll out your sugarpaste and cover each tier in turn, for a smooth, clean finish. Then, once stacked, use royal icing to add beading, flowers or latticework to your cake for a stunning finish. Piped on soft, royal icing dries hard for a structured yet delicate and intricate look. If the wedding cake is made from fruit cake, why not add a layer of marzipan before your sugar paste layer, for a more traditional finish and an extra layer of taste?
Rather than finishing with royal icing, why not paint a stunning hand-painted design onto your wedding cake for a really unique finish? A much more personal wedding cake idea, this look is achieved by watering down coloured icing sugar and painting directly onto the sugarpaste. Alternatively, mix food-colouring with a clear alcohol, such as vodka, and paint your cake in the same way. The alcohol evaporates quickly preventing the sugarpaste icing from damage so all you need to worry about is a steady hand and an intricate design! Edible paints are also a great choice for achieving the same look.
Buttercream is a popular wedding cake frosting as it’s smooth, creamy and not too sweet. Super easy to apply, it’s the perfect choice for creating a crumb coat, that can be used as a base for further frosting to seal in crumbs and prevent lumps and bumps, or as a fine layer for your semi-naked cake. Applied using a cake turntable, ganache plates and a palette knife and smoother, check out 5 Simple Cake Decorating Ideas For Birthdays guide for tips on how to nail that perfect crumb coat and create a stunning semi-naked wedding cake. Complement the taste by using buttercream filling too and finish your design with non-toxic flowers, chocolate drip or fruit for a show-stopping look.
Whipped cream cake
A great way to add an extra effect to a simple cake is to layer the top layer of a naked cake with whipped cream before decorating, or pipe around the cake for a stunning and textured finish. A great base for edible flowers, fruit or metallic sprinkles, it’s the perfect choice for a sensational centrepiece. For an alternative to buttercream, why not fill your cake with whipped cream too?
Whichever wedding cake idea you choose, be sure to explore our full collection of wedding cake decorations at The Cake Decorating Company, for all of the tools, toppers and finishing touches you need to pull off your most stunning cake creation yet.