From rustic naked confections to classic fondant designs adorned with pretty sugar flowers, get inspired by the prettiest wedding cakes of the year.

Trust us, we see a lot of wedding cakes over the course of a year. Hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands. So what makes a cake stand out? Classic, elegant confections will always be chic, but we also adore more modern, out-of-the-box designs that push the envelope beyond what you may imagine a wedding cake to be. And while we will always love an all-white wedding cake, we also crave color and metallics—a cake trend that's still going strong and is probably here to stay.

When it comes to cake decorations and embellishments, the very best cake designs display creative-yet-precise techniques, whether it's perfectly piped icing to resemble lace on the bride's gown, hand-painted illustrations, carefully cut fondant appliqués, unexpected tier shapes and sizes, edible ruffles and frills, or intricately hand-formed sugar flowers (that you'll swear are the real thing!). Not to mention flavor—as beautiful as some cakes may be, the best ones, of course, taste as good as they look.

We combed through every real wedding we've featured this year, as well as all of our wedding-cake content, to bring you this roundup of the year's most captivating and compelling cakes. Of the many wedding confections we saw this year, these exceptional designs—from the over-the-top to the simply sweet—impressed us with their intricate techniques, innovative design, unexpected elements, and whimsical details.

Click through to check out all of the cakes, add your favorites to your wedding-planning Pinterest board, and bring these photos to your cake designer to see if he or she can create a cake that's similar yet uniquely yours. Here are our favorite wedding cakes of 2014.

Illustration by Christina Park

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