Welcome back to my wedding planning journey, guys + gals! Today we’re talking cake + sweets – an important component of any wedding!
Call me traditional, but when I think wedding cake, I think tiered, white, and lovely, like these pretties below:
All cakes from Martha Stewart Weddings except bottom left, which is from Southern Weddings (photo by Tec Petaja)
In fact, that cake in the upper left is my all-time favorite wedding cake — it’s absolutely perfect in my mind!
However, after tasting the cakes at my sister’s wedding, I pretty much decided that I could never serve a tiered confection at my wedding. For me, tiered cakes are always too dense and/or dry. I’m not a baker, but I think this is because they have to be denser in order to support the weight of the tiers — I’m not sure a fluffy tiered cake is possible! (However, should any pastry artists out there wish to prove me wrong, I am always up for taste tests!)
Besides, we don’t really have the budget for a gorgeous tiered cake, anyway. Instead, we’re going to be serving an assortment of mini desserts (to go along with our mini food!). We’ll also have a small cutting cake, but more about that in a minute. First, let’s feast our eyes on some delicious-looking + diminutive desserts!
There’s mini pecan pies…
mini key lime tarts…
mini fruit tarts…
and even more exotic offerings, like mini donuts, milkshakes, candy apples, and waffle bowls with ice cream!
Pecan pie photos by Caroline Joy (via SW) and Braedon Flynn (via SW); key lime tart photos by Karen Wise (via Style Me Pretty), Jessica Lorren (via SW), and Jodi Miller (via SW); fruit tart photos from Cannelle et Vanille and Martha Stewart Weddings; mini cookies both from Martha Stewart Weddings; mini milkshakes photo by Julie Lim (via SW); waffle bowls and candy apples from Martha Stewart Weddings; donuts photo by Chris Court
We’re still debating which, exactly, mini desserts we’ll be servings at our reception, but I do know that mini fruit tarts will be in the mix – they’re John’s favorite, and one of his only requests! I also know we’re going to be serving a special treat made by my Momma — I’m not going to spoil the surprise for any of our guests that might be reading, but I will say that all of my high school friends could probably guess correctly right away — these little treats have been a staple at the Ayer household for as long as I can remember! I’m so grateful that our caterer, A Thyme to Cook, is willing to transport and set out our homemade treats along with theirs — it makes it so much more possible to contribute family recipes and still have everything move smoothly and flow seamlessly!
Now about that cutting cake. We were originally going to have A Thyme to Cook make it, as well, but as we took a harder look at our budget, we realized that this was one detail we could pretty easily take care of ourselves, and save some money while doing so. I don’t think I would be brave enough to make a cake a few days before our wedding that I’d actually be feeding to our guests, but since John and I will be the only ones tasting this cake, I’m not that worried! All we have to do is make it edible and decently pretty on the outside. Here’s some of the “doable” cake inspiration I’ve been gathering:
Bow cake photo by Braedon Flynn (via SW), meringue cake photo by J. Malahy (via SW), white cake buffet photo by The Nichols (via Style Me Pretty), heart cake buffet photo by Brooke Images (via SW), ruffled cake photo by Melissa Schollaert (via SW), flag cake photo by The Nichols (via Style Me Pretty), and raspberry cake photo by Aaron Delesie
Surely my family and I can pull off something like the above – what do you think? Oh yes, and we’ll totally be making the cake itself from a box — no way am I going “from scratch” on this one!
I’d also love to hear what y’all will be serving for dessert at your weddings. A traditional cake? A cake buffet? Pies? Mini desserts? Please comment + let me know!
In case you missed a post…
The main characters
Where we’re getting married
I go dress shopping
We choose a photographer
I ponder bridesmaid style
We’re renting a tent!
We discuss bouquets + boutonnieres
We send out our save the dates
I gather hair and makeup inspiration
Jessica Lorren, Brooke Images, Jodi Miller Photography, and Melissa Schollaert are fabulous members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!
We’re planning on having a dessert buffet of pies, cupcakes, and doughnuts (Krispy Kreme, of course!), but I also wanted to have a very small cake for our actual cake-cutting. I hadn’t thought about making it myself, but like you said, we’ll be the only ones eating it and it would be far more economical. How far in advance will you make it? I just wouldn’t want to be worrying about it the day before or the day of.
Hi Laura! That all sounds DELICIOUS! We’ll probably make ours the Wednesday before the wedding. I don’t really care if it’s all that fresh, since I’ll probably just be eating a bite or two anyway! :) You could also make the cake layers a few weeks or even months before your wedding and freeze them!
That is true. I think you may have inspired me to bake my own wedding cake!
Hiya Emily! My fiance and I are doing a tiered cake and mini pies. We can’t wait! We’ll be using my apple pie recipe and my mother will be making my grandmother’s chocolate chess pie. YUM! Your wedding is going to be lovely! Congratulations!
Hi Haley! YUM! Mini pies are just the most adorable thing to me… I’m sure yours will be lovely!
I love the idea of mini desserts! They will be a huge hit.
We opted to do a cake buffet with 5 flavors-they are each a 2-3 layer round cake like you would by from a bakery…only we ordered 2 of all of them, so we can have backups for when they run out. My grandmother has been gifting me milk glass cake stands for the past few years, and unbeknownst to her, we will be using them for our cake buffet! I thought that was a sweet way to pay homage to her. :)
In place of a traditional groom’s cake, he opted to do a cobbler bar with vanilla ice cream…so far, everyone loves the idea!
Brittany R: sorry, typo! “like you would *buy from a bakery
Hi Brittany! A cobbler bar sounds AMAZING, and I love the idea of using the cake stands from your grandmother as a surprise! I’m sure she’ll be thrilled!
We are doing 2 cakes – a groom’s cake and a bride’s cake. His cake is going to alternate between tiers of chocolate and strawberry w/ vanilla buttercream and will be grey on the outside with one tier possessing the pattern from his argyle sock! My cake is going to be lemon w/ lemon buttercream and will be all white on the outside with one tier possessing the chevron pattern we used on our stationery and table linens! We are going for a very modern look with one tier taller than the rest and both cakes will be the same size. Our cake is definitely contributing/enhancing the decor!
PS: Y’all can totally handle a traditional small cake! You should do funfetti!
Hi Madelynne! Love that you’re using patterns pulled from other places in your design — so fun!! And you’re right, those cakes will TOTALLY add to the overall vibe/decor!
Hey Emily – So, I made a small layered cake for a photoshoot last year. I would highly recommend getting the following tools: round shallow cake pan, skinny knife for trimming top layers, those plastic pipes that you shove in the cake to support the layers, a good icing spatula, cardboard platter that you wrap in pretty paper and construct the cake on (dang near impossible to move a cake once its layered and iced…duh.) and you might want to find a DEEP freezer. My cake melted in the car ride bc I didn’t have it frozen beforehand. ALSO – get one of these:
I carried mine it just a general rubbermaid box and you guessed it, cake all over the place. It’s totally doable but you just need the right tools. Go add those things to your registry ;o) xoxo
Hi Desiree! Thanks for the tips! I actually learned a bit about cake making from the owner of Sugarland a few years ago for an SW feature, and one tip she had was to use bubble tea straws for the supports! They work great!
OBSESSED with that Pecan Pie tower… my absolute favorite dessert (my grandmother’s recipe is the best of. all. time). I’m just jealous I didn’t think of it for my own wedding :)
Emily, I love the mini dessert idea. It reminds me of the cookie table tradition in a lot of Italian American weddings that I attended while growing up in Northeastern Ohio. There were always lots of pizelles, tarts, and oh so heavenly clothespin cookies. Yum!
Hi Lindsay Ann! I completely agree with the similarities! Also, you’ve really got me intrigued as to what a “clothespin cookie” is…
You’re going to be a gorgeous bride Emily! And I know how you feel so many dessert options! We just picked donuts for our mini dessert bar options. I am obsessed with donuts so it was a total “duh” moment when we selected Glazed in Charleston to create the fun flavors! They are the best!
Good luck planning girl!! xo
I LOVE that you’re making your own cake! As an aspiring self-taught baker I think everything is better (and sweeter) homemade. The rose cake you have shown above is actually super easy (even for a not so regular cake baker). There are tons of how to videos online if you’d like to give it a try. Plus, no one would ever know you made it yourself.