33 Delicious Alternatives to the Classic Wedding Cake

These treats that are anything but traditional.

rice krispie cake

Photo by Kristen Weaver Photography; Dessert by KRISP Treats

 

We've said it before, and we'll say it again: A traditional wedding cake will never go out of style. But why settle for a classic, white confection when your wedding day should be an event that is uniquely yours?

Whether you just aren't a fan of standard big-day cakes or are obsessed with a specific sweet treat, your wedding dessert is the perfect opportunity to share your tastes with your guests. Ready for inspiration? Consider dressing up a traditional cake with additional treats (macarons or doughnuts, for example), opting for an entirely different sweet (hello, brownies and waffles!), or embracing a non-cake dessert that celebrates your wedding location or heritage. 

In short: Don't be afraid to break tradition and select a confection that says something about you, or at the very least, is something you'll actually look forward to eating at the end of the night. Below, 33 of our favorite alternative ideas to the classic wedding cake.

01 of 33

Embrace a Breakfast Classic

cake
Photo by Haley Richter Photography; Cake by Clara’s Groovy Deliciousness; Venue Promise Ridge

Why not embrace a breakfast classic if cinnamon rolls are your fave? Stack giant cinnamon rolls decked in plenty of cream cheese icing for an alternative that will shock and delight your guests. 

02 of 33

Choose Savory Cheeses

cheesecake

Photo by J Harper Photography

 

No sweet tooth? No problem! Opt for stacked wheels of cheese to create a literal cake of cheese. We love the way this tiered beauty is dressed up with florals and greenery. 

03 of 33

Add a Macaron Twist

macaron cake

Photo by Quarter Moon Co; Dessert by Nutmeg Cake Design; Florals by Devon & Pinkett; Clay Accessories by Curious Clay

Why not embrace the traditional tiered cake, but dress it up a bit? Adding a variety of colorful macarons to the tiers of a cake is such a simple, yet unexpected, way to take a cake to the next level. 

04 of 33

Dress Up a Childhood Classic

cake

Photo by Kristen Weaver Photography; Dessert by KRISP Treats

 

Lean into the classics with a cake made from rice crispy treats, with Fruity Pebbles mixed in. We love the nostalgic vibe of this dressed-up sweet. 

05 of 33

Make a Doughnut Tower

doughnut cake

Photo by Pepper and Light Photographers; Dessert by Truffle Cake and Pastry

Doughnuts are a total classic, but they don’t have to be dull! For a unique take on a traditional tiered wedding cake, stack the round sweets in a mini-tower and then decorate with blooms and petite flags (that can be used to note different flavors or showcase details of your love story, like your initials or wedding date).

06 of 33

Wow With Waffles

waffle cake

Photo by Dayna Studios; Planning and Design by Beijos Events

 

Ready to truly wow your guests with your creativity? Bring waffles into the mix! Stack them on a beautiful cake stand to resemble a cake and dress it up with blooms and greenery. And, of course, don’t forget the maple syrup come showtime!

07 of 33

Consider Cheesecake

cheesecake

Photo by Georgia Verrells

 

Is cheesecake more your style? Combine multiple cheesecakes to create a layered look, and then dress it up with a fruit drizzle paired with fresh blooms. 

08 of 33

Opt For Cake Pops

cake pops

Photo by Chloe Moore Photography; Desserts by Dip’D N Drip’D 

 

Cake pops are a great choice if you want something portable. Plus, they can be crafted to match any color scheme, making them the perfect addition to a stunning dessert table

09 of 33

Order Pancakes

alternative cake

Photo by Blair Schluter; Cake by Laurannae Baking Co.

Ditch the dessert options altogether and opt for a unique breakfast alternative. Bring pancakes into the mix by stacking them in multiple sizes. We love the idea of two partners pouring the syrup together to create a symbolic sweet. 

10 of 33

Dress Up Mini Desserts

cakes

Photo by D’Arcy Benincosa

 

How sweet are these! These mini ladyfinger desserts, filled with mousse or pastry cream and topped with a variety of fruit options for a delightful dessert, could be dressed up to match any color scheme or wedding theme.

11 of 33

Pack On the Sugar With Churros

churro cake

Photo by Rach Loves Troy; Cake by Vintage Soul Cakes

Churros are the perfect sweet, especially when they’re paired with ice cream and caramel. Dish up individual desserts for a surprising snack.

12 of 33

Tower High With Cupcakes

cupcakes

Photo by Rachel Parsell Photography; Dessert by Hey There, Cupcake

 

Celebrate with an array of treats, including a single tier cake, cupcakes, and even macarons. We love the way this display put together multiple desserts to offer an option every guest would love. 

13 of 33

Go All-Out With Macarons

cake

Photo by Kaity Brawley; Dessert by Le Macaron; Florals by Kaleidoscope Floral

 

A macaron tower can certainly stand on its own, but adding a few special touches can make it all the more beautiful. Incorporate a few fresh blooms into your tower for a lovely look. 

14 of 33

Decorate With Doughnuts

doughnut cake

Photo by Clay Austin Photography

 

Have your cake and donuts too with this sweet option! We love the idea of decking out a cake in mini doughnuts for a sweet look. 

15 of 33

Turn Things Upside Down

cake

Photo by Lianne Gray Photography; Dessert by Where the Ribbon Ends 

 

 

If you don’t want to totally ditch the option of cake, why not turn the concept on its head? Opt for a statement dessert that pairs a two-tiered cake with a lovely display of macarons. 

16 of 33

Consider Croquembouche

cake

Photo by Kaity Brawley; Planning and Design Avec MOI Events; Florals by Isn't She Lovely

 

Croquembouche is definitely a dessert that makes a statement as it towers high. Made from choux puff pastry and filled with crème pâtissière, this traditional French dessert is absolutely dreamy. 

17 of 33

Bake Some Brownies

brownies
Photo by Elias Kordelakos; Dessert by Alexandra's Cakes; Planning and Design by Tie the Knot SantoriniOwner

Really hoping to keep things simple? Why not go back to basics with a childhood favorite. Stack a cake stand full of brownies and add in greenery to dress it up. 

18 of 33

Mix It Up With Millefoglie

cake

Photo by Purewhite Photography; Dessert by Galateo Ricevimenti 

Hosting an Italian destination wedding or celebrating your heritage stateside? Millefoglie is made by stacking light puff pastry cakes with delicious pastry cream. Topped with plenty of fresh fruit and a dusting of powdered sugar, this is perfect for the couple hoping for a dessert that’s stunning but not overly sweet. 

19 of 33

Make a Statement With Macarons

macaron cake

Photo by Amanda K. Photography

 

Macarons are the most delicately beautiful sandwich cookie, made with a meringue base and often filled with buttercream frosting, fruit curd, or ganache. Make a statement by putting together a tower of macarons in a single color, or opt to incorporate multiple colors for a fun display. 

20 of 33

Serve Mini Pies

mini pies

Photo by Anna Delores Photography

Want to go for a more homemade vibe? Mini pies will do the trick. Opt for a sweet design and put together a display with multiple flavors for your guests to choose something they’ll love. 

21 of 33

Embrace a Childhood Favorite

cake

Photo by Cheers Babe Photo

 

What a way to truly embrace a childhood favorite! This three-tiered sweet combines stacked layers of rice crispy treats with a bit of buttercream, greenery, and figs to elevate the look. 

22 of 33

Serve Individual Cakes

cake

Cake by Maggie Austin Cakes 

 

Want a cake without the traditional tiered look? Consider serving up individually plated sweets. These dainty desserts, each dressed up with simple décor, are simply charming. 

23 of 33

Embrace Chocolate Cream Puffs

cake

Photo by Harwell Photography

 

Calling all chocolate lovers—this one is for you! Creating a tower out of chocolate cream puffs is an absolute dream come true, but dressing it up with dainty roses makes it all the more beautiful for a stunning display. 

24 of 33

Deck Out a Candy Bar

cake alternative

Photo by The Everlasting Photo 

 

Who says you have to choose just one dessert? Putting together a dreamy display of treats may be the perfect option for you! Deck out a table filled with your favorite candies, donuts, and even mini bundt cakes to satisfy every sweet tooth. 

25 of 33

Reimagine Cinnamon Rolls

cake alternative

Photo by Jenny Williams Photo

 

Want to switch up the traditional dessert table option? Ditch the cake and bring breakfast pastries into the mix. Put together a display of individual cinnamon rolls, paired with a fountain of icing for dipping.

26 of 33

Make a Rainbow

macaron cake

Cake by Winifred Kristé Cake

Macarons can truly make for the most charming addition to a cake. Keep a single tier as the bottom of this tower for the cake lovers in the house, but build on top of it with layers of colorful macarons for a gorgeous option.  

27 of 33

Look to Italian Favorites

cannoli

Photo by Chantelle Watt Photography; Dessert by Truffle Cake and Pastry

 

Why not bring a favorite Italian pastry into the mix? Cannolis can be dressed up for a dessert table or displayed in a tower for a unique alternative. 

28 of 33

Keep Tradition With Kransekake

cake

Photo by Andrew Parsons

 

Kransekake is a traditional Scandinavian sweet, stacked tall with rings of almond cookie and royal icing. Consider embracing your heritage with this dessert, or simply bring it into the mix for a not-so-sweet option. 

29 of 33

Portion Out Parfaits

cake alternative

Photo by Amy Allmand Photography; Dessert by Katelin Hayes Desserts

Mini parfaits are such a sweet alternative to a tall, tiered cake. Layer cake with frosting, and top your desserts with fresh berries for a beautiful display. 

30 of 33

Feature Frosted Doughnuts

doughnut cake

Photo by Chantelle Watt Photography; Dessert by Truffle Cake and Pastry

 

Why not create the classic tiered look with donuts instead of cake? Stack frosted doughnuts and dress up the tower with plenty of blooms for a beautiful display. 

31 of 33

Embrace a Seasonal Favorite

An apple cider donut tower decorated with orange roses, styled by Judy Kim

Photo by Cyrience Creative Studios

An apple cider doughnut tower decorated with orange roses, styled by Judy Kim. Guests are guaranteed to love the treat—especially in the fall!

32 of 33

Go Mini With Cheesecake Bites

cheese cake

Photo by Chantelle Watt Photography; Dessert by Truffle Cake and Pastry

Bring your love for cheesecake to the table with bite-sized desserts. Put together displays of simple mini cheesecakes or incorporate other options such as chocolate or cherry flavors to please any guest. Dress them up with sugar decorations or opt for a fresh bloom on each for a sweet look. 

33 of 33

Consider a Bundt Cake

A two-tiered frosted bundt cake topped with a mini bride and groom topper, created by Nothing Bundt Cakes

Photo by Jess Barfield Photography

This two-tiered frosted bundt cake topped with a mini bride and groom topper, created by Nothing Bundt Cakes, proves that simple and sweet can be a total treat.

Check out more fun takes on the traditional wedding cake, below.

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