If you’ve chosen to serve cake for your wedding, there are several key details you'll need to decide on before your big day. Finding the ideal baker to make your wedding day sweet is an important first step. And of course, you’ll want to look at just how big of a cake you need and choose the most stunning design. The last important piece of the puzzle? Choosing your wedding cake flavor.
Selecting your wedding cake flavor is all about finding a balance between what you and your partner would love, along with what you’d like to share with your guests. And while sticking with a timeless vanilla cake with vanilla frosting is a safe bet, there are plenty of other popular flavor options to consider. According to Randi Smith, owner of Sugar Euphoria, many couples are looking for crowd favorites, but they’re selecting flavor profiles that take classics up a notch. And many other bakers say couples are getting more adventurous. “I used to hear concerns about certain flavors not being appropriate for a wedding cake, but now our clients are looking at the cake as another area to surprise and delight their guests,” adds Heather Leavitt, owner of Sweet Heather Anne.
Meet the Expert
- Randi Smith is the owner of Sugar Euphoria based in Raleigh, North Carolina.
- Heather Leavitt is the owner of Sweet Heather Anne in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
- Nicole Redd-McIntosh is the owner of Nicole Bakes Cakes in southern California.
- Lindsey Johnson is the owner of Lady in the Wild West, based in Freedom, Wyoming.
- Dominque Pickering is the owner of Poppy Pickering Cake Design based in West Yorkshire, England.
- Tiffany MacIsaac is the owner of Buttercream Bakeshop in Washington, D.C.
Ready to find inspiration for your perfect wedding cake flavor? We asked expert bakers to share all about the top flavors their couples are requesting.
Long gone are the days of "vanilla" being synonymous with "boring." Vanilla or vanilla bean cakes can be just as flavorful as other options. For most bakers, it’s their top requested flavor, and that’s all due to the versatility of this cake flavor and the possibilities for incorporating different fillings and frostings. Think of it as a delicious, blank canvas.
“My most popular is vanilla—I think because it lends itself to meld with so many other flavors!” says Nicole Redd-McIntosh, owner of Nicole Bakes Cakes. “It's a clean palette to have fun with.” Redd-McIntosh pairs vanilla cake with a mixed berry compote and strawberry buttercream for her Berry Much flavor, along with offering a vanilla cake soaked with tequila syrup, paired with tequila buttercream swirled with passionfruit curd.
For Lindsey Johnson based in Wyoming, she says her couples love the pairing of vanilla cake with huckleberry. “It's a classic white cake with a Rocky Mountain twist. With that vibrant purple huckleberry layer, it looks gorgeous when cut and served and gives guests a taste of a regional berry.”
For Smith, one of her most popular flavor combinations is a vanilla bean cake with lemon curd and mixed berry buttercream.
A lemon cake is a popular choice for a late spring or summertime wedding—and it can pair with so many fillings and frostings. According to Dominque Pickering, owner of Poppy Pickering Cake Design, her lemon, elderflower, and blueberry cake is a popular choice. It’s a twist on a typical lemon cake, and she says it tastes wonderful on a hot summer’s day along with a glass of bubbly.
A lemon cake can also be paired with lemon curd, a raspberry filling, berry frosting, or even lavender. “Our most popular flavor is an elderflower-soaked lemon cake with blackberry jam and vanilla buttercream,” adds Tiffany MacIsaac, owner of Buttercream Bakeshop.
If you’re a chocolate lover, there’s no reason to stray from a chocolate wedding cake. And while it may not seem like it’s everybody’s first choice, it’s the second or third most requested flavor for many bakers.
One of Leavitt’s most requested combinations is a chocolate cake paired with salted caramel sauce and crème fraiche buttercream. For Smith’s clients, a chocolate cake with espresso buttercream and dulce de leche is very popular.
Carrot cake is definitely on the list of popular flavors, and there are plenty of possibilities of what this cake can taste like. Classic carrot cake might be paired with cream cheese frosting, but it also pairs well with whipped cream or a fluffy vanilla frosting with a drizzle of caramel sauce. And of course, you can choose whether you’d prefer your carrot cake on the simpler side, or if you’d like it packed with plenty of mix-ins such as nuts or pineapple.
White Chocolate Cake
Pickering says one of her most popular flavors starts with a white chocolate cake. It’s paired with raspberry for a touch of fruit, creating a modern twist on a Victoria sponge. “With raspberries in the sponge, the slight tartness with the sweet white chocolate is a perfect combination,” she says.
Olive Oil Cake
While this may seem like an unexpected addition to this list, there’s a reason olive oil cakes have become more popular in recent years. And Leavitt says her citrus olive oil cake is following that trend. “The crumb is delightfully light and the flavor is packed with citrus, almond, and a subtle earthiness from the olive oil,” she says. “The citrus helps to balance out the sweetness, creating a flavorful cake that is delicious even before adding the fillings.” Leavitt pairs her citrus olive oil cake with blood orange curd and citrus praline buttercream.
The cake flavor would also pair beautifully with a browned butter frosting or even a lemon frosting.
Red Velvet Cake
Red velvet is a classic cake with a beautiful texture and stunning color. According to Smith, this southern classic is on her list of most requested. The cake can be kept traditional with the pairing of cream cheese frosting, or you can choose to switch up the flavor. Consider requesting a raspberry filling or pairing this cake flavor with a berry cream cheese frosting.
For those looking for something delicious in the fall, spice cake is a great choice. Redd-McIntosh says spice cake or pumpkin are popular requests she gets in fall or winter. Spice cake is typically a light, fluffy cake with the addition of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, allspice, and ginger for great flavor. Pair it with fluffy vanilla frosting, cream cheese frosting, or something different with the addition of dulce de leche or maple frosting.