Wedding Cakes: Trends & Tastings 2021

Lillian StevensCakes & Confections4 Comments

OBX Wedding Guide cakes

In 2021, wedding cake trends will be driven by intentionality and personality. Luckily, this is not the time to worry about carbs, so free yourself of that notion. Before calling the bakeries or pastry chefs, though, jot down your ideas and explore some options. Then, grab your groom and get ready for the real fun: cake sampling. 

As with everything associated with your wedding, decisions are dictated by how much you want to spend. And naturally, the more elaborate the cake, the more expensive. However, a beautiful cake does not have to bust your budget. 

Choose a Baker

Once you’ve identified a few bakers that you like, arrange a meeting for a cake consultation so you can share details about your wedding venues and your vision for your fabulous cake. Brides on a tighter budget might find that grocery store bakeries offer great and affordable options. Supermarkets have zeroed-in on the wedding cake business. In-house bakers or pastry chefs possess increasingly sophisticated skills that go far beyond decorative piping. 

No matter what type of baker you choose, as with all of your other wedding vendors, it is wise to decide on your budget before you get carried away. Speaking of prices, cake prices are generally calculated by the amount of labor and hours the baker spends on the cake and on the number of guests you expect to feed. Most bakers price wedding cakes by the slice, which could vary from $1.50 a slice up to $15 or more
a slice.

When designing or selecting your cake, you will want to reinforce your overarching theme as well as the season, your gown, the flowers, even the menu you’ve chosen for this day. As with most other items on your to-do list, do not wait until the last minute for this, or your choices might be limited. Whether four-star pastry chef or supermarket baker, a wedding cake is a custom work which will require plenty of time devoted to   the task at hand. 

No matter your style or budget, your wedding cake (or alternative to one) is a prime opportunity to tap into your creative side, enhance your wedding decor, and most importantly, delight your guests with a sweet treat at the end of the celebration. 

Flavors and decor

While vanilla remains on-trend as the most popular flavor, it is followed closely by chocolate. Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting is a real crowd-pleaser, as is red velvet cake. Many brides are also choosing to have layers in toffee, fudge, coffee, carrot, and fruity flavors too.

You might also consider providing a gluten-free or vegan-alternative cake to accommodate guests with food restrictions or special diets.

More and more brides and grooms see their wedding cake as more of a decorative feature than a consumable, so designs are ever-evolving. Here are a few that are trending. Spoiler alert: They will taste as good (if not better!) than they look. 

Black Cakes

If your styles range toward the contemporary, let your love of modern décor set the tone. Black is one of the hottest new wedding colors and it’s a color that works with every color palette or style. 

Floating Tiers

We’re talking impressive cakes that look like they’re doing balancing acts, but they are really sculptures (this isn’t your mama’s floating tier cake). Bakers use electromagnets to make the top tier float above the other layers. Whether they’re floating on flowers or 3-D shapes, a floating cake done right is nothing short of magical.

Understated Textures

It’s all in the details. To be more specific, you’ll be seeing cakes with a focus on unique textures in the fondant or frosting—whether you want it to emulate something as soft as velvet or as “hard” as concrete.
Get creative!

Single Level

A single-tier cake is the height of trendy minimalism. Worried it won’t be able to feed all of your guests? Have a sheet cake to supplement (it’s the oldest trick in the book). Also, a simple design doesn’t mean the flavor has to be boring—use it as an opportunity to incorporate
fun fillings.

Once you’ve nailed your favorite flavors, have fun with décor. A few trending styles:

Tile prints

From terrazzo to beach-themed mosaics, tile prints are one of the boldest wedding cake trends for 2021. Couples who want to make a statement with their wedding cake will love this trend, especially since it goes well with other eye-catching elements, like metallic foils, bright colors and geometric accents.

Deckle edges

This type of cake is intentionally left a little rough around the edges, and the result is undeniably sweet. Deckle edge cakes give the illusion of ruffles (or even flower petals) encircling your cake, making this trend a fabulous choice for a romantic or classic wedding theme. The term “deckle” is actually borrowed from stationery. Perhaps you’ve seen wedding invitation suites and escort cards with torn or raw edges that create a vintage, antique look. 

Edible flowers

Edible flowers (yes, really!) remain a major wedding cake trend. Couples are accenting their wedding cakes with everything from elaborate cascading flowers to fresh greenery and floral cake toppers, but this trend is a totally unexpected way to incorporate botanical elements into your dessert tables. Pansies, carnations, marigolds, violets, and even some types of roses are all edible.

Write on

The trend for wedding cakes with writing on them follows the fashion for monochrome cakes, as they tend to be white cakes with black iced writing. Many couples choose a single word or phrase, while others have a whole poem or verse in beautiful writing on their cake. A word about monograms: why not stake your claim on your cake with your initials? This is the South, y’all, and a monogram is a great way to honor your newly shared last name or combination of your first initials. Customize the look with painting, piping, or appliqué. The options are nearly endless.

In closing, while cakes may grow smaller in size, they may be more dynamic in detail. A well-designed smaller cake can have a major wow factor. Whether it’s an intricate pattern inspired by the detail on your gown or vibrant flowers that play with your color palette. Of all the 2021 trends, intentionality is an overarching theme that will influence what marriage celebrations look like in the next year.

Top feature photo by Sarah D’Ambra Photography

4 Comments on “Wedding Cakes: Trends & Tastings 2021”

  1. Wonderful Article Lillian! Getting the perfect cake is as important as choosing the perfect destination. As weddings are becoming smaller events – with less people, destination weddings are gaining popularity. Makes the event cost effective, safe and more intimate.

    1. Thank you! I couldn’t agree more. It is important to accent the wedding with that perfect cake.

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