How to choose your wedding cake flavours

You’ve got the dress, venue, and canapes but what flavour wedding cake should you choose? Here I’ve shared my tips on choosing the best flavours for your cake.

If you’ve decided to have a wedding cake, you’ll need to start thinking about what flavour to choose and how this will match the icing.

Whether you’re going down the traditional route with a fruit cake, marzipan, and fondant icing, or something a little more modern, it’s worth thinking about how many flavours you want, how these will go together, and how many people will be eating the cake.

If you’re having your cake baked, your baker should go through all these questions with you. If you’re buying your cake, or making it yourself, the following questions will still apply and will give you a clear idea of what you will need.

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This was a three-tier cake of: carrot and salted caramel with cinnamon buttercream on the bottom, spicy ginger and raspberry jam in the middle, and lemon drizzle on the top.

What flavour wedding cake is most popular?  

You can either choose one flavour for your cake, or you may be able to have different flavours for each tier, depending on where you’re getting your cake from.

As you’re catering for a crowd it’s generally best to make something the majority of people will like. However, don’t be pressured into picking something you don’t like, it’s your wedding after all. Just make sure it’s a flavour other people will enjoy too, so think more along the lines of a Victoria sponge or lemon rather than an espresso cake.

If you’re having different flavours, this gives your guests the chance to sample two or three different cakes. It can be nice to pick flavours that go well together but you could also choose three totally different flavours – it’s really up to you.

For Hugh and Portia’s weddinglast November, for example, I made a three tier cake of: carrot and salted caramel with cinnamon buttercream on the bottom tier, spicy ginger and raspberry jam in the middle, and lemon drizzle on the top tier.

I’m often asked for ideas from my couples when it comes to choosing cakes, and I offer a sample box of five different flavours to help them nail down their choices.

The following are the most popular for recent wedding cakes:

  • Victoria sponge
  • Lemon
  • Red velvet
  • Carrot cake and salted caramel
  • Chocolate Guinness
  • Vanilla and rose
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These three cakes were: chocolate Guinness, carrot and salted caramel, and lemon drizzle.

What will the colour of the cake look like?

Red velvet cake is one of my most popular wedding cake flavours, I think partly because it’s a more subtle flavour than a traditional chocolate cake and also because it looks really dramatic with a deep red cake against a bright white cream cheese frosting.

If you’re having a naked, or semi naked cake, be aware you’ll see the cake colours and therefore if you’re having a mix of chocolate and vanilla, for example, this is going to show and will change the final effect.

When it comes to the decoration of the cake, if it’s going to be covered fully in buttercream, or fondant, it generally doesn’t matter what the flavour of the cake inside is as you won’t see it until it’s cut open.

Is the cake dessert for the wedding breakfast?

If your cake is going to be the dessert for your wedding breakfast, you’ll need to anticipate slightly bigger cake slices than if it was an extra and you had a separate dessert.

You might want the cake to match whatever you’re having for the main meal. For example, if it’s a summer wedding and you’re having something like a hog roast or a bbq, you might want something light and fruity for the cake, such as a Victoria sponge with fresh fruit or a lemon and raspberry cake.

For Liz and Ed’s cake last summer, for example, I made a banana and salted caramel bottom tier, Victoria sponge middle tier, and lemon drizzle top tier.

If it’s the winter and you’re serving a warming stew or pie and mash, you might want a cosy, warming, flavoured cake such as a sticky ginger or toffee apple.

Elizabeth and Edward, Grange Barn // Leicestershire, UK // © Samuel Docker Photography 2018
For Liz and Ed’s cake I made a banana and salted caramel bottom tier, Victoria sponge middle tier, and lemon drizzle top tier.

Do you need any gluten-free cakes?

If you need to cater for someone who doesn’t eat something like dairy or gluten, it’s worth thinking about the flavour of the cake.

Depending on the severity of the dietary requirement, it may be a safer option to just buy a separate cake to make sure you know exactly what’s in it and there’s no risk of anything being in the cake there shouldn’t be. Speak to the person (or persons) with the requirement and they should let you know what they’re happy eating.

If you are planning on having one cake tier as a gluten-free cake, pick a flavour that works well for the dietary requirement you’re catering for. There are some really good bakers who specialise in cakes for those with dietary requirements, such as Bees Bakery and her website is full of ideas for flavours.

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