Wedding planning involves countless choices, from choosing a wedding venue to selecting a color palette and tapping a ceremony officiant. Also on every to-do list? Choosing a wedding cake! The wedding cake is a tradition—whether you’re dreaming of a textured buttercream cake, something decked and detailed in piping, or maybe even a semi-naked cake.
Buttercream is easily the most classic choice when it comes to wedding cake frosting, and it is incredibly versatile. Long gone are the days of needing to choose a fondant cake to get a smooth look. Buttercream options can step in to accomplish any style, all while matching the overall theme and aesthetic of your wedding.
What is a Buttercream Wedding Cake?
Traditional American buttercream is made with—you guessed it—butter as the main ingredient. This creamy frosting is whipped up by combining butter, powdered sugar, and milk or sometimes heavy cream. Occasionally, the butter might be swapped for shortening, depending on the baker’s preference.
Italian or Swiss meringue buttercream are two other popular options for wedding cakes. These alternatives are made with egg whites, sugar, butter, and water, each utilizing a different method to make the frosting. And while Italian or Swiss meringue buttercream isn’t quite as sweet as traditional buttercream and provides the ability for a smooth finish, keep in mind that it may not hold up as well for long periods of time, especially at warmer temperatures.
No matter the type of buttercream you choose, the beauty of this frosting is that it allows a baker to accomplish so many different designs and detailed piping on a cake. Whether you’re looking for a super sleek and smooth exterior, or you’re hoping for a bit of texture, color, or ruffles, buttercream is an adaptable option. It can truly be tailored to fit any wedding style, serving as the ideal canvas to add florals or greenery to adorn the cake.
Ready for some major cake inspiration? Read on for 32 of our favorite buttercream wedding cakes from real weddings.
Include a Surprise
This cake is dressed in classic buttercream on the outside but it's anything but boring. Inside, it's filled with a fun surprise: Funfetti filling! Recreate this stunning cake (with a twist) by incorporating a favorite flavor or adding blooms from your venue, as this couple did in Palm Springs.
Decorate With Fresh Fruit
This is such a classic design for a buttercream wedding cake. With two tiers paired with fresh apricots, figs, and greenery, it’s a gorgeous look for an outdoor wedding. And that slight texture added to the buttercream? The perfect way to add a simple rustic touch!
Show Off With Succulents
A wedding cake doesn’t always have to be sleek and smooth. Utilizing buttercream can serve as the perfect canvas to add a rustic vibe, such as chocolate drip! We love the way the chocolate drip and succulents add contrast to this smooth cake.
Channel the Season
Speaking of statements, just look at this sweet treat! By mixing fresh berries with fresh blooms, this cake looks equal parts romantic and rustic—the exact vision of this hyper-personalized real wedding in San Diego.
Add a Cake Topper
This cake may be small, but it's definitely sweet. Here, lemon cake and buttercream frosting make for a fresh flavor combination, while the ruffled buttercream texture makes for a simple yet elegant look—especially when paired with a special cake topper.
Consider Cascading Blooms
This confection stands tall in the most stunning way! It's assembled with a super smooth buttercream that makes for the most beautiful backdrop to the cascading florals, which add just a touch of romance.
Add Notes of Citrus
We love the idea of infusing elements of citrus into the big day, and this confection was the perfect complement at this California wedding. It features a vertical striped texture on the buttercream, complete with white flowers and bright pixie tangerines.
Looking for a cutting cake? Consider decorating a petite buttercream cake with any extra flowers from your bouquet and table settings. We're all about this mix of dusty orange roses, dried ferns, and orchids.
Add Hints of Gold
This cake is simple with a punch—and we can’t get enough! This four-tiered confection looks stunning (this real wedding had a subtle vintage theme) on the outside but has a surprise inside: orange blossom cake with candied pistachios and orange buttercream, along with tiers of cardamom cake with fresh raspberries.
Make a Ruffle
Buttercream is a classic choice just like this ruffled two-tiered cake. With layers of chocolate cake, fresh fruit filling, and textured buttercream, it offers everything a cake lover could want in one bite. And adorned with plenty of white florals and greenery to top it all off? Totally timeless.
Semi-naked cakes are a wedding trend that's here to stay. And here's a secret: They can’t be pulled off without using buttercream! For this popular style, bakers add a thin layer of buttercream and scrape it off to let the cake layers shine through. And with the addition of simple white and green flowers to round out this cake, this look is absolutely beautiful.
Do you find buttercream too sweet? Even if you’re not a huge fan of frosting, you can still incorporate it in smaller amounts to present a beautiful cake. Naked or semi-naked cakes provide a great option, utilizing smaller amounts of buttercream for a rustic look.
This textured buttercream look is so charming! And what a way to make a statement at an English-garden inspired wedding than with cascading peonies and roses?!
Go for Greenery
We love the look of this simple buttercream cake, with a bit of contrast added by showcasing different heights in the tiers. It's another timeless design thanks to the classic buttercream frosting and delicate greenery.
Top With Sweet Sprigs
With sprigs of greenery and a few white blooms, this cake décor is so simple and lovely. Add in smooth buttercream and a dotted piped border and this cake is nothing short of stunning.
Think in Color
This cake definitely stacks up to a look with charcoal-hued frosting and fresh blooms and greenery on top. Talk about a unique cake design to make a statement.
Buttercream is naturally white, thanks to the butter and powdered sugar in the recipe. But if you want a pop of color, don't be afraid to ask your baker about making one tier in a shade of your choice, or matching the entire cake to your color palette.
Consider Fresh Fruit and Herbs
Buttercream provides an ideal baseline to add so many different flavors and garnishes to complete a wedding cake look. Topped with fresh flowers, fruits, and herbs, this cake is perfect for a stunning farm wedding.
This is the most beautiful blend of modern and rustic! With a sleek, smooth buttercream frosting and just a few slices of blood oranges, this apricot-flavored cake is truly stunning.
With dulce de leche cake, this four-tiered creation—served at this beautiful Santa Barbara wedding—features vertical striped buttercream frosting with a contrasting caramel drip. Yum!
Make a Colorful Statement
We love a bold pop of color! And this four-tiered buttercream confection pulls it off so well. Perfect for a beach wedding in Florida, bright bougainvillea and garden roses pull together a tropical vibe.
Who says you have to choose between a smooth buttercream look and a semi-naked cake?! We love the way this gorgeous cake topped with lovely florals and greenery accomplishes both.
Have a specific color palette in mind? Weave it into your cake display by adding coordinating blooms, as this couple did by dressing up a plain white cake with pink and coral stems for their modern Charleston wedding.
Embrace a Theme
Another take on upgrading a simple white cake, this creation is perfect for couples looking to make a tropical punch whether they're marrying in the tropics or not. This cake is proof that it's possible—it was served at a tropical-themed wedding in Los Angeles!
Want to know more about your frosting options? Check out our ultimate guide below.