As far as wedding-related tasks go, choosing your wedding cake has to be one of the most fun. Who wouldn't be excited by the opportunity to taste a variety of different cake and frosting combinations, all created by an expert baker? But it's not all fun and games: You will have to make some decisions along the way.
When choosing a wedding cake, the first thing you'll need to determine is the size you’ll need to feed your guest list. In general, you can assume that only 75 to 85 percent of guests will reach for a slice of cake. Next, you'll have to choose your flavors. Do you prefer classic white cake with white frosting, or do you want something a little more unexpected? The options are as limitless as your tastebuds. Finally, it's time to select your design. If you’re planning a rustic wedding, it's only fitting that you'll want your cake to match in style.
"The rustic wedding cake movement is rather broad, from fully covered with a rustic or textured finish to totally exposed with cake icing contained only within the layers," says wedding cake baker Jo Hameister. "For The Cake & I, the in-between semi-naked has been the most popular. A very thin layer of icing exposing only some of the cake layers peeking through."
Meet the Expert
Jo Hameister is a wedding cake designer and artisan focused on individually handcrafting each confectionary piece. She is the owner of The Cake & I, located in Perth, Australia.
If you're looking for thematic accents, layers of textured buttercream, dried foliage, and pressed wildflowers are all great options for rustic cakes. "Fruit, especially figs and pears, are so divine," adds Hameister. Ultimately, there's no right or wrong way to decorate a rustic wedding cake—so long as you and your spouse feel it fits your vision, you're on the right path.
Below, find 30 rustic wedding cake ideas that might inspire your own dessert direction.
Go for Greenery
This lightly-frosted white wedding cake by The Cake & I was perfect for a rustic reception. Greenery accents and a wooden barrel for display drove the aesthetic home. "I look at this cake and honestly cannot believe this was my first attempt at a naked cake," says Hameister. "It was for a 'shed' wedding on a farm, and it has been my only delivery that I've been able to reverse straight up to the cake table (wine barrel)!"
Choose Dried Accents
A quick and easy way to give an otherwise white wedding cake a rustic touch? Have your baker add dried elements, just like Migalha Doce did here. A variety of different natural grasses can provide so much texture and visual interest.
Add the Right Floral Details
Sprinkle & Dash decorated this naked wedding cake with a swag of pastel-hued flowers and greenery, elevating the otherwise simple design. "Rustic doesn't mean badly made," explains Hameister. "The secret to a really beautiful naked cake is that it's still perfect—straight sides and top. There is nowhere to hide in a naked cake."
Play With Pressed Flowers
We love that this cheerful wedding cake, which was created by Martis Camp, bridges the gap between rustic and romantic styles. Pressed greenery and flowers lend a delightfully whimsical vibe to the dessert, but the overall design still feels natural and unfussy.
Keep It Simple and Textural
The beauty of a rustic wedding cake is often in its simplicity. This three-tiered semi-naked cake didn't need any other decorations to make a statement. Sometimes keeping it simple is the best way to drive your rustic aesthetic home.
Try Chalkboard Accents
Alliance Bakery created this charmingly youthful birch-inspired wedding cake, then adorned it with a chalkboard monogram. While the cake itself is decidedly rustic, it's the display that really drives the vibe home—we love the idea of showcasing your own rustic cake on a swing stand.
Be Creative With Cake Colors
Lucky Bird Bakery used layers of chocolate cake and vanilla buttercream to create this striking three-tiered naked confection. Small, understated sprays of flowers were the only accents it needed.
Wrap Greenery Around Tiers
There's no rule that says rustic cakes can't be tall and statement-making. If you need to feed a crowd, a multi-tiered cake, like this one by Zingerman’s Bakehouse, can easily be accented with rustic touches to suit the overall aesthetic of your day. Greenery, delicate flowers, and dried grasses were used to subtly drive the vibe home.
Be Bold With Color
Naked and white wedding cakes aren't your only options for rustic desserts. If you like color, you should feel empowered to use it. Natural tones, like the terra-cotta used on this Miss Red's Catering Co. cake, work well with a rustic aesthetic and still make a statement. Sage green or a natural tan are other good options should you want something a bit more subdued.
Mix Different Rustic Accents
Natural details are must-haves for rustic wedding cakes. This single-tiered cake by Big Delicious Planet was decorated with pressed wildflowers and honeycomb, which added plenty visual interest to the otherwise white treat. The secret this dessert? Beneath the layers of white wedding cake sat a chocolate cake with chocolate ganache, proving that any cake flavor works for a rustic celebration.
When in Doubt, Go Simple
Planning a rustic celebration doesn't mean you can't serve a traditional white wedding cake. Consider a semi-naked cake, which feels less fussy than one topped with perfectly smooth frosting, and pair it with greenery and white flowers, just as The Pink Oven did here.
Choose Wispy Accents
A natural wood cake topper and dried elements were the perfect additions to this otherwise simple white wedding cake from Sweet Serendipity. Those understated accents perfectly transformed an otherwise classic cake to fit the aesthetic of the day, proving that it doesn't take much to create a thematic wedding cake.
Consider Dried Branches
Trip & Co. decorated this two-tiered white wedding cake with sugar-dried branches and flowers, proving that less is often more when it comes to rustic desserts.
Add in Fruit
Belmond Hotel Caruso's in-house caterer whipped up this simple white cake and decorated it with mini fruits and assorted greenery in a variety of muted tones, proving that rustic desserts can still feel elevated.
Play With Texture
Naked wedding cakes aren't the only way to get textural desserts. If you want something different, take note of this Copper Whisk Cakes treat: The design featured a subtle spread of dove gray frosting at the base of each tier to create dimension while burgundy and orange ranunculus and roses brought color to the mix.
A cupcake tower is a great option for a rustic wedding—these casual, single-serve desserts feel just right for a celebration with a laid-back aesthetic. These mini treats, which were paired with a semi-naked cutting cake, were dressed up with plenty of greenery to create an inviting dessert station.
Layer in Greenery and Flowers
Desserts By Deena created this floral wonder, which would look perfect at any rustic celebration. Though this treat included a variety of different pressed flowers and greenery, feel free to use any organic elements that tie into your overall wedding design—grasses, twigs, and berries are other beautiful ideas.
Opt for Dried Flowers
As far as dried flowers go, lunaria is one of our favorite options for a rustic celebration. Cakes for All Seasons used the silver-hued dried elements to add a rustic touch to this otherwise simple white wedding cake.
Play With Rustic Color Palettes
It's possible to achieve a rustic look strictly relying on color. The proof? This cake, which was coated in pale tan buttercream and topped with a rust-colored rose, fit the vibe without relying on any other details traditionally associated with rustic celebrations.
Try Hand-Painted Tiers
This hand-painted cake, created by Lady in the Wild West, was designed to look just like the wedding's backdrop; the color palette and texture pulled straight from the venue's landscape.
Request Foraged Accents
As the finishing touch on this couple's gray-blue wedding cake by Cake-Aholics, their florist affixed a petite spray of foraged grasses, greenery, and berries across the front. Using natural elements local to your wedding venue is a simple way to tie the overall look of the day together.
Opt for Edible Flowers
Edible flowers, like pansies, make for a great rustic wedding cake decoration. This single-tiered confection was dressed up with nontoxic blooms in an array of rustic hues to match the overall aesthetic of the day.
Pick Donuts Over Cake
Rustic wedding cakes don't always have to be made of, well, cake. Donuts are a great alternative if you want something a bit more casual. Plus, you can use different frosting and accents to nod to your rustic aesthetic; here, The Flour Pot dressed up the display with chrysanthemums in a variety of different colors.
Consider Faux Bois
For a rustic wedding, there's nothing more fitting than wood-inspired details. Lake Tahoe Cakes created a petite cake with birch-inspired faux bois design, then "carved" the couple's first names into the frosting. A tree slab was the perfect swap for a traditional cake stand.
Pair Dark Palettes With Neutral Accents
A black wedding cake can definitely work for a rustic wedding, as evidenced by this single-tiered confection from Sift & Gather. Deckled edges and and dried elements helped keep the cake from reading as too modern.
Give Earth Tones a Try
Earth tones will always fit a rustic theme, no matter how you choose to incorporate them. For this cake, created by Whippt Kitchen, all of the flowers were made from sugar.
Ask for Cheese
Not a fan of cake? Choose a cake made of cheese instead. These stacked cheese wheels gave off a rustic, European vibe; greenery, thistles, and petite flowers served as the perfect subtle accents.
Go Tall and Green
If you start with a semi-naked wedding cake, you're already well on your way to a rustic dessert. To take it up a notch, add simple greenery, ferns, and small flowers—these natural accents fit with a rustic aesthetic without looking too polished.
Make It Wintry
We love the rustic elegance of this stunning Bella e Dolce cake. The exterior faux bois design was painted to match a birch tree's unique characteristics, while pine cones and a few dainty branches served as the ideal finishing touches.