How to choose the best wedding cake for your big day

Move over boring white-iced, fruitcake! We’re here for the dramatic, the delicate and obviously, the delicious. Your wedding cake is a great opportunity to get creative, not just with its design, but also the flavour. But before we get on to the fun stuff, we’re sure you’ll have a few questions when it comes to cost and size… so, let’s begin.

floral wedding cake
dainty wedding cake

How much is a wedding cake?

First things first, you’ll probably be wondering how much a wedding cake costs on average. Now, this all depends on your guest list and just how extravagant you want to go. You can pick up an affordable two-tier wedding cake for as little as £45 from good old M&S, but if you want something a little more personal, with more flair and tiers, the sky - and the budget is the limit.

Not forgetting homemade if either you or a family friend considers themselves a whiz with a whisk. Just make sure you send a Pinterest board or two with your favourite wedding cake designs. Also, have them have a few test runs to avoid an on-the-day disaster and make sure you’ve made arrangements for getting the cake safely to your venue.

What type of cake is best for a wedding? Decide your cake size, shape and number of tiers

In tears over how many tiers you’ll need? Cry not. We’ve rounded up your cheatsheet so you can quickly check the size you’ll need for your wedding cake, depending on the design you’ve chosen.

black wedding cake

Tiered cakes

If you’ve got your heart set on a cake with height, you’ll want more than one tier.

- 2-tiered round cake with 8 top tier and 10-inch bottom tier = 40 servings

- 3-tiered round cake with 6, 8 and 10-inch tiers = 75 servings

- 3-tiered round cake with 8, 10 and 12-inch tiers = 110 servings

Single-tier round cakes

Perfect for smaller and micro weddings, a single-tiered cake is understated, classy and elegant.

- 8 inch cake = 20 - 25 servings

- 10 inch cake = 30 - 35 servings

- 12 inch cake = 45 - 55 servings

- 14 inch cake = 60 - 75 servings

Single-tier square cakes

More modern than the round cake, the single-tier square cake goes a lot further. So if you love the idea of a single-tier cake, but have a more hefty guest list, square is the one for you.

- 10 inch cake = 45 - 50 servings

- 12 inch cake = 65 - 75 servings

- 14 inch cake = 88 - 98 servings

In between sizes? We recommend sizing up, then you can whack any leftovers in the freezer to enjoy at a later date. If you have got your heart set on a three-tier cake (or four, who are we to ruin the dream?) but you’re having a micro wedding, ask your baker to include a dummy tier (or two), then you’ll get all the drama of a big cake and your guests will be none the wiser.

Popular wedding cake flavours

Choose to have different flavours on each tier or go for a simple wedding cake with just one flavour. Opt for a classic like a vanilla sponge, lemon drizzle or red velvet. For the bold, there’s everything from espresso cake and white chocolate icing, to elderflower gin and prosecco buttercream. If you’re choosing to have a tiered wedding cake, keep everyone happy with a crowd-pleaser tier (such as vanilla with strawberry jam) and then one or two other tiers with your personal favourite.

Too much choice? Have a think about the time of year that you’re getting married. Spring and summer lend themselves better to lighter, fresher flavours like lime and coconut. If you’re getting married in autumn or winter you can opt for something indulgent and gooey (I’m looking at you, baileys chocolate).

Top tip: if you’re serving a chocolate-based dessert, it may be wise to steer clear of a chocolate cake!

fruit wedding cake
red velvet wedding cake

Wedding cake design ideas

There are a few key terms you’ll see when searching for wedding cake design ideas: iced, naked and semi-naked (oooh!).

When doing your cake decorating research, remember that while iced cakes are probably the most traditional, they need not be boring. Cake designers are pulling out all the stops with hand-painted masterpieces, which can even be perfectly colour-matched (or clashed) with your scheme.

If you’re looking for a clean white (or even black wedding cake) base for edible flowers, fresh flowers or sugar flowers then an iced cake is the way to go. In addition, iced cakes are usually the most structurally sound making them one of the best types of wedding cake if you are concerned about transporting it.

wedding cake edible flowers

One of the most popular types of wedding cake is the naked cake, which has become the go-to design for an understated elegant wedding cake. Instead of icing the cake entirely, a naked wedding cake is left au-natural, but with more icing between the layers, creating a more relaxed look.

A semi-naked cake is very similar (it’s wearing a sheer dress, as opposed to a gown, let’s say). For this cake design, the baker will add a very thin layer of icing, scraping it around so that the texture and colour of the sponge show through.

naked plain wedding cake
two tier plain wedding cake

Wedding cake ideas

Keep it simple or go as extravagant as you want. We’ve rounded up some of our favourite wedding cake ideas. We don’t recommend perusing on an empty stomach.

wedding cake topper
wedding cake orange
marble wedding cake
drip wedding cake
citrus dried fruit wedding cake

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