Small wedding cakes are not a new concept. Couples have been ordering single-tier cakes, often called cutting cakes, for years as a way to lower costs, downplay old traditions, and, generally, avoid wasting a three-foot-tall cake that goes largely uneaten by guests.
Now, thanks to COVID-19 and the trends that have emerged with our "new normal," small wedding cakes have another new purpose. Ideal for more intimate guest counts, it should really come as no surprise that "COVID couples" are ordering small wedding cakes for their micro weddings, at-home ceremonies, and intimate elopements.
How to Upgrade a Small Wedding Cake
With the right accents, a small wedding cake can look wedding-worthy. The secret is in how you dress it up! Flowers, greenery, and fruit can all work some serious magic by creating volume on the side and height on top. We also love a good whimsical or glitzy statement topper—a foolproof trick to catching the eye.
Adding texture can also add dimension to a petite cake that only comprises one or two tiers. For example: Imagine a geode-inspired fondant, a cable-knit icing design, or spray-painted leaf adornments. That said, sometimes simplicity speaks loudest, which is why we love a small cake paired with a unique cake display. which is why we love a small cake paired with a unique cake display. Consider serving the cake in something unexpected, like a vintage bar cart, or max out the cake table with bud vases or flickering candles.
Just take a look at these 25 small wedding cake ideas that are perfect no matter your 2021 party style.
Go With Buttercream
Buttercream is a classic for good reason! Just look at the two-tiered ridged cake at this micro wedding. It's perfect for any style couple thanks to the small pearl dealing and pair of blooms (here, a seasonal choice of hydrangea and dogwood) that can be adapted for any celebration.
Keep It Simple
Sometimes, simple really is best. Such was the case at this Miami micro wedding: The couple opted to skip some traditions and keep others, such as cutting into this simple, one-tier vanilla rum cake decorated with bright blue blooms.
Add Tonal Flowers
Flowers are an easy way to upgrade an otherwise plain cake. Follow this couple's lead by incorporating blooms from the ceremony for a double design win at the reception.
A small cake doesn't necessarily have to be a single-tier! For a new take on the trend, consider ordering a confection that's long, lean, and monochromatic as this couple did for their modern rooftop wedding in New York City.
Serve Multiple Flavors
Another idea? Serve mini cakes in multiple flavors—that way, you never have to compromise with your partner and guests can choose a slice of their favorite or a few bites of each.
Play Up a Theme
Sure, you can always top a cake with flowers or decorate it in your wedding's color palette, but how can you make it meaningful beyond the wedding day? Here's an idea: This couple, who eloped on a mountain in Malibu, chose to top a mini cake with cherries to honor their new last name, Cherry.
Create an Experience
Why have one cake when you can have multiple? This bride served mini wedding vanilla cakes to each guest to give them a personal experience. We love the sweet and minimalist look—especially the dainty rose toppers!
This small wedding cake is stunning and chic in all of its simplicity. Orchids and cream roses cascade down pleated fondant, adding a stylish twist on traditional white. Inside, this couple's vanilla-flavored cake was filled with blueberries with Earl Grey icing on the bottom tier and cut strawberries on top.
This mini cake packs a punch of summer flair. Mint-colored icing drips down the cake’s rustic body, while a bold white bloom and tropical greenery grab attention on top in a way that makes the cake seem larger than life.
When in doubt, go bold. Colorful blooms are a surefire way to liven up a small white wedding cake. Consider this single-tiered cake, which gets a playful pop of color with pink and coral posies.
Decorate With Pearls
This one-tiered chocolate brown butter cake with Tahitian vanilla buttercream may be small, but it’s big in personality. Tiny white pearls scattered across the top whisper classic elegance, while orange marigolds and fresh kumquats scream whimsy and fun.
Channel Southern Charm
This vanilla-flavored naked cake is the epitome of Southern charm. Fresh pink roses and simple vines of greenery adorn two small tiers on the outside, while a decadent bourbon caramel fills the cake on the inside.
Add Geode Accents
We’re loving this small wedding cake for a bohemian or indie wedding! A metallic geode-inspired finish takes center stage, accented by a fern spray painted gold. Place such a masterpiece on a subtle wooden cake platter that won’t detract from its beauty.
This three-tiered wedding cake takes classic white for a spin with different textured layers that add volume and thickness to its small size. Inspired by the destination wedding locale, Antigua, the couple's cake emits nautical vibes thanks to its rope-like designs and topper of local foliage.
Sometimes, less is more. This naked chocolate cake looks delicious in all its minimalism, complete with a subtle topper of tiny blooms. If you opt for a simple cake, you can always add extra pizzazz to the cake display—like the potted cacti accents on the table.
Create an Elaborate Display
A creative cake display can make all the difference. This petite dulce de leche cake looks all the more eye-catching perched on a gilded bar cart accented with lush beds of ferns.
Pick Bold Blooms
A swath of magenta blooms and accents of oranges dominate a lemon custard and berry-flavored naked cake with vibrancy. We love how the green cake stand adds an extra punch of color to complete the relaxed look.
A glazed caramel drip takes this spring confection to the next level, accented with delicate floral accents in a pastel palette for a dash of springtime sweetness.
A pleated single-tiered white cake with botanical touches is perfect for a garden-inspired wedding. Add a simple wreath of organic greenery and two white roses to elevate its style while maintaining an unfussy look.
Add Whimsical Accents
Set on a vintage platter, this lemon cake marries the traditional with the whimsical for an unconventional look. Yellow and dusty red blooms with sprigs of vines adorn its two tiers, while custom merman and mermaid ceramic toppers evoke a nautical vibe.
A petite wedding cake is sometimes best left untouched. Instead of dressing up your cake, focus on the cake table. Bud vases boasting long-stemmed roses frame a simple one-tiered almond cake with raspberry filling and cream cheese frosting for a minimalist, modern look.
Pile on the Fruit
Don’t be afraid to let your toppings overpower a small wedding cake. Clusters of grapes, pomegranates, and foraged leaves at the base and on top add the illusion of additional layers. The jewel-toned palette also adds dimension while evoking a fall feel.
Add a Statement Topper
One way to give a small wedding cake some flair? A statement cake topper! Sparkling gold flamingos add a glitzy tropical twist to this simple white cake accented with a few flowers. It even keeps with the tropical theme inside with a coconut key lime flavor.
Love the simple yet sweet look? See more creative ways to decorate a cake below.