Couples often spend a lot of time designing the outside of their wedding cake, but the inside is just as important. While your confection does play a role in enhancing your overall aesthetic, your main dessert of the night actually needs to taste delicious to really make an impression. Of course, chocolate and vanilla are always classic options, but your special day is an opportunity to select a one-of-a-kind flavor that sets your celebration apart. The options are endless: Salted caramel, funfetti, matcha, toffee crunch, lemon elderflower, lavender, and pistachio are a few of the many fillings that will up the ante at your celebration.
If you’re unsure which flavor to settle on, we’re here to help. We’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks from cake bakers and designers to guide your decision-making process. Ahead, how to pick a wedding cake flavor that will make a splash on your big day.
Meet the Expert
- Shari Blencowe is a cake artist with 11 years of experience and the owner of Ambrosial Confections in Brooklyn, New York.
- Jasmine Rae is the owner of Jasmine Rae Cakes in San Francisco who has been baking and designing wedding cakes for 17 years.
- Helen Maginn is the owner of New Jersey-based The Cake Fairy LLC, which she founded in 2016.
- Sabrina Hare is the CEO of Couture Cakes by Sabrina, which has been running since 2013 in Washington, D.C.
- Heidi Allison is the owner and operator of Sugar Bee Sweets Bakery. She’s based in Arlington, Texas, and has been working in the space for 17 years.
Prioritize Your Preferences
Since it’s your day, you should serve a cake that you’re actually excited to eat. Above all else, the taste of your confection should satisfy your own preferences. “Choose flavors based on what you love,” Shari Blencowe of Ambrosial Confections advises. “It’s a taste you’ll remember for years to come.” To start, jot down a list of your favorite flavors and combinations. If you aren’t exactly sure what you like, Jasmine Rae, owner of Jasmine Rae Cakes, suggests thinking back on the desserts you typically order at a restaurant. If you're go-to dessert is a slice of Key lime pie or a chocolate eclair, use those flavors as inspiration for your big-day dessert. “Consider how serving the flavor you want most is part of sharing and expressing yourselves at your wedding,” she says. And if you and your partner have different opinions, try compromising by featuring your partner’s favorite flavor in one tier and yours in another.
Consider Your Guests’ Opinions
Although it’s important to serve a sweet that reflects your personality and palate, the last thing you want to do is select a flavor that no one else at your wedding enjoys. Helen Maginn of The Cake Fairy LLC recommends asking a few of your friends and family members which cakes they find the most appetizing to guarantee that your dessert is a hit. That being said, refrain from asking too many confidants because the influx of opinions will prevent you from moving forward with a decision. Likewise, keep crowd-pleasing favorites in mind, but stay away from trying to please everyone. According to Rae, striking a balance between satisfying your guests’ wishes with your own is the goal. If all else fails, Maginn suggests serving multiple tiers with various fillings that you and your loved ones like.
If some of your friends and family members have dietary restrictions—whether they’re gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegan—you’ll want to keep that in mind as well, Sabrina Hare of Couture Cakes by Sabrina says. Ask your guests to note their food sensitivities or intolerances from the start, and consider accommodating their needs by offering an allergy-friendly alternative.
Consult a Professional
Your cake baker is an expert for a reason. With years of experience designing cakes, these professionals know the best-selling and most popular flavors that everyone will love. If you’re at a standstill with your decision, ask your vendor to disclose some no-fail selections. If you have a certain flavor in mind but want to combine it with something else, your cake baker will know the best course of action to take. Still stuck? Maginn advises sharing what tastes you typically enjoy and allowing these cake aficionados to work their magic.
Channel the Season
Whether you’re tying the knot in the summer or winter, taking the time of year into account will give your cake the freshest and most flavorful taste. For spring and summer nuptials, light and fruity flavors will suit the season, according to Hare. For instance, strawberry rhubarb, white chocolate raspberry, and lemon blueberry will capture the warmth, sunshine, and care-free attitude of these balmy months. Saying “I do” in the fall or winter? Choose comforting and warming tastes infused with spices, such as chocolate chai, caramel apple, gingerbread, marble pumpkin, or carrot cake.
Coordinate With Your Menu
“You may want to choose a cake flavor that complements the other flavors on your menu,” Hare notes. For a cohesive spread of cuisine, look to your signature cocktails, appetizers, entrées, and side dishes to inform your cake flavor. If you’re serving a mojito for your signature cocktail, maybe you decide to incorporate a mint or lime filling into your sugar fix. Perhaps your menu includes nostalgic tastes, like woodfired pizzas and sliders. Evoke the same feeling with a s’mores confection. Serving a mixed salad with fruits and vegetables on the side? Opt for lighter fare with a berry filling.
Look to Your Locale
The place you choose to throw down can also help inspire your cake flavor. For those exchanging vows on the beach, coconut guava or passionfruit will evoke laid-back coastal vibes. If you’re hosting your soirée in a garden, floral-infused tastes, like honey lavender or strawberry lemonade, will match your surroundings. Caramel pecan, bourbon vanilla, and snickerdoodle pair well with fétes in a barn.
Go the Custom Route
When in doubt, customize a flavor that’s specific to you. Instead of creating a pre-selected menu, Rae works with her clients to whip up a personalized taste. For this route, reflect on the ingredients and flavors that you love noshing on and that reflect your relationship. Maybe you want to transport your guests to the moment you got engaged in Hawaii or your first date at a rooftop restaurant in New York City. Share your ideas and preferences with your cake baker to help them conceptualize a filling to execute your vision.
Adopt an Open Mind
While attending your cake tasting, Heidi Allison of Sugar Bee Sweets Bakery recommends showing up without any expectations. “Don’t go into the appointment already thinking you know what flavor you’d like,” Allison says. “Wedding cakes are not birthday cakes, and you should have an open mind and have fun selecting a flavor or flavors for your wedding cake.” That way, you’ll be more inclined to try a new taste that might end up being the one you go with.