Next to the ring and the vows, the wedding cake is one of the more ingrained wedding traditions in American culture. We’ve all seen the multi-tier white cake with the delicate sugar flowers, elegant and understated and incredibly expensive. An amazing cake can definitely be a conversation piece at your wedding, but there are plenty of options out there for an innovative couple. Here are five suggestions for wedding cake alternatives, in order from more traditional to most out-there:
Instead of one huge layer cake, why not go for several different flavors of cupcake? You can experiment with small batches of different fillings and frosting rather than just one or two on a big cake. What’s more, they’re pre-portioned: no waiting for the caterer to cut the cake before your guests can serve themselves. Plus, there’s no need for plates or forks; cupcakes are portable and finger-food.
A Cake for Each Table
Wedding receptions can be a little awkward as social circles collide and friends and family meet each other for the first time. One way to encourage guests to mingle is to do away with the single big cake and put smaller cakes of different flavors on each table. Make an announcement at the beginning of the meal that guests are encouraged to seek out other flavors and trade with other tables and watch the fun begin! It’s much easier to make friends when you have a reason to interact with each other, and trading a slice of chocolate with raspberry ganache for a slice of lavender-vanilla is an excellent reason.
Pies Instead of Cakes
This possible alternative is really a question of personal taste. For a rustic wedding, a down-home wedding, or a wedding for a couple who just aren’t “cake people,” pie can be a wonderful way to go. Instead of a three-tiered cake, you can go with several different flavors of pie on a cake stand. Pie is the ultimate comfort food; for a more casual reception, you can’t go wrong with a slice of Dutch apple.
Mini desserts, or dessert shots, are a great way to let your guests sample a variety of desserts without overly taxing their waistbands which makes them a great option as a wedding cake alternative. Instead of a single piece of cake, let them choose a miniature tiramisu, a tiny crème brûlée, and a little flourless chocolate torte. No one will mind having dessert buffet style if you have four or five unique options for the guests to mix and match.
If any kind of dessert is a little too conventional for you, and especially if you’re having a morning wedding and brunch-themed reception, a donut tower may be the perfect cake alternative. A multi-tiered display of stacked donuts, with several different brightly-colored frosting finishes, will definitely get your guests talking. Pair it with a coffee fountain for breakfast-themed nirvana.
If those suggestions are still a bit too conventional, you can make a playful reception centerpiece out of just about any foodstuff arranged into that classic three-tiered shape that most wedding cakes are displayed. We’ve seen wedding “cakes” made of stacked Oreos, Twinkies, even cheeseburgers (with ketchup for dipping). Whether it’s sweet or savory, conventional or extremely quirky; make sure your cake fits your personality as a couple, and your guests will love it.