A wedding cake is an edible display that is as much a conversation piece as it is a much-anticipated dessert. Today’s wedding cakes often feature frosting in hues to match the wedding colors and incorporate intricate details that reflect the overall theme of the wedding. Couples spend hundreds of dollars on that tiered masterpiece, and, according to WeddingWire, the cake alone will eat about $500 out of the wedding budget.
While wedding colors and on-theme details will influence the look, style and perhaps even the flavor, the cake also needs to be seasonally appropriate. Cake designs for winter will vary greatly from those in spring or summer. When the seasons change, new fruits emerge. These bounties influence flavor choices, frosting hues and even floral details; art imitates nature, and a wedding cake is an edible work of art.
So what are the best wedding cake designs for each season? Get inspired by these seasonal flavors, hues and details to create the ideal cake for spring, summer, winter or fall!
Wedding Cake Designs for Spring
The season of greenery, new budding flowers, warmth and longer days, spring is a time of renewal and it’s filled with bright colors and sweet flavors. Pastel hues reflect the softness of this season, and bright green hues serve as a reminder of new life. When crafting a cake for a spring wedding, pull from the color palette of nature and the taste of spring fruit:
Look outdoors! During spring, the flowers begin to pop. You’ll see purples, pinks, yellows, indigo…every color of the rainbow! Spring also heralds in celebrations like Easter and May Day (or Beltane…as it was known during the ancient days). Fertility festivals like Beltane often included floral wreaths that crowned the heads of women and brightly colored ribbons decorated May poles. During Easter, pastel hues are often used to dye eggs. For piping details on cakes, choose bright happy spring colors.
Flowers are often used to decorate wedding cakes, and these details can be both real or edible. Opt for seasonal flowers to decorate tiers of wedding cakes; if you choose real blooms, staying in-season will be cost-efficient, too. However, the type of flower you choose depends on your location. In spring, however, bluebell, daffodils, roses, tulips, crocus and lily of the valley are in bloom. Choose these and other spring blooms as cake accents!
Lots of fruit is harvested during spring. The best flavors that embrace the warmer and colorful season are also some of the sweetest. Apricots, strawberries, honeydew, lime, lychee, mango, oranges, rhubarb and pineapple are all spring fruits. You can opt for a vanilla or chocolate cake with fruit compote between each layer. Or infuse frosting with a flavor of the season. Let your own palate be your guide; if you can’t choose just one flavor, choose a different flavor for each layer.
Spring Has Sprung: Designs
There are so many symbolic ways to embrace spring. Basket weave designs nod to Easter baskets. Greenery is symbolic of spring, so swirl ivy and vines around the cake tiers. You can even decorate the cake with love birds nestled together in an edible bird’s nest on the top tier. Create sprigs of blooms on each layer. Or even fill the entire cake with blooming flowers everywhere for spring extravaganza!
Summer Wedding Cakes
The temperature rises fast during the summer months. Heat influences how much we eat and what we eat. And the summer season also brings bright hues and the glow of sunshine. While the grass and trees remain green, new blooms pop up and water becomes a must. If you’re planning a summer wedding, use the warmth of the season to guide your cake flavor and design.
Yellow is the color of sunshine, so don’t hesitate to use it in your cake. But summer is also the time to celebrate nature-inspired hues like Pantone’s 2019 Color of the Year “Living Coral.” Think bold and bright during summertime, too. Fiery reds, aqua, magenta, lime green (or Pantone’s Greenery), bold violet, fuchsia, orange and shiny warm metallics like copper and gold all embrace the summer vibe.
So what’s in bloom during summer? Daisies, sunflowers, dahlia, marigolds, peonies, and zinnia. Use these and other summer flowers as fragrant (or edible) details on your cake.
Opt for lighter flavors during the hot summer months. Citrus is ideal, and lemon custard or lemon poppyseed cake is a great choice. Orange infused icing or an orange liquor flavored cake also embraces the season. Or embrace tropical flavors like coconut, mango or even pineapple.
Summer Fun Designs
Have a blast with summer cakes. Turn your cake into a waterfall or even a tropical volcano! Or have each tier feature a unique summer scene: a beach, the ocean (complete with surfers) or sunbathers on the sand. Your cake also could feature an underwater theme; decorate the cake with seashells, edible coral or fun crazy colorful fish and sea creatures.
Fall in Love with Your Wedding Cake!
When the temperatures begin to cool down and the leaves turn the colors of rust, cherry and harvest yellow, fall has arrived. This is the time for bountiful harvests, warm color palettes and comforting hearty food. Embrace fall (or autumn) by infusing warm hues and more complex flavors.
Fall hues are rich, deep and earthy; reds, browns, golden yellows and, of course, burnt orange. The leaves are the best source for the color palette. When selecting hues for a cake (or your wedding), warmer tones are appropriate. Stay away from bolder hues like pinks and bright purples!
Fall isn’t really the time for blooming buds; although some flowers arise in fall. According to House Beautiful, Beautyberry, goldenrod, heather, heliopsis, pansies and chrysanthemums all bloom in the fall. Of course, pumpkins, gourds and colorful leaves can (and should) also be used as décor influence for fall wedding cakes. For leaves, though, opt for edible!
Pumpkin spice lattes (aka PSL) are the flavor of fall. When it comes to cakes, pumpkin is an amazing choice. But richer flavors and spices also are fall appropriate. Spice cakes, apple cakes, and even pecan and hazelnut all nod to fall. Mix these flavors with traditional chocolate or vanilla for a decadent post-dinner dessert.
Halloween and Thanksgiving are the biggest autumn holidays. Yes, you can create a festive fall cake if you want! Go scary with bewitching designs or haunted house inspirations. Create intricate spider webs on each tier or wrap layers in deep dark black fondant and add dark fall flowers. Or embrace the season of bounty by decorating the cake in mini pumpkins or gourds and adding fall leaves.
Winter Wedding Cakes
Baby, it’s cold outside! Winter means snow, holidays, and so many festive flavors. Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, Kwanzaa and New Year’s and Valentine’s Day are all winter celebrations that can influence a wedding cake. But the icy snowy beauty of the outdoors can also inspire the sweetest decoration at the reception.
Rich velvety jewel-inspired hues like deep emerald, ruby, sapphire and amethyst all are seasonally appropriate options. But silver and gold also nod to holiday sparkle and festivity.
Winter means bright red berries, springs of green mistletoe, evergreen branches and poinsettias. Dark red roses are also beautiful choices to use on top of wedding cakes. When you want to add pops of holly berries, though, opt for fake berries (or fondant designs).
Winter flavors are similar to fall; think pecan and pumpkin but also warm caramel, rich dark chocolate, and, of course, peppermint and gingerbread, too! Brides also notes that Mexican Chocolate (that’s chocolate with heat!) and S’mores are also great winter choices! Candy canes can also be used to create crunch and a cool taste in frosting!
You can celebrate the holidays with details inspired by Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa. Or use the colors of these special celebrations as the basis for your designs. The winter weather might also influence your cake design; create delicate and sparkling snowflakes out of sugar, mold fun (or funky) snowmen from fondant or marshmallows or design winter scenes to add charm and a unique look to your cake. Turn each layer into an ice rink with small skaters or wrap each layer in fondant to look like a festive present! Getting married around Valentine’s Day? Decorate the cake with hearts, cupids or even sweet messages of love.
Your wedding cake often becomes one of the most prominent decorative elements at your reception. While the cake is meant to be eaten, it’s also a work of art that often nods to the chosen colors and thematic elements of the wedding. A wedding cake isn’t just a slice of sweetness, but an expensive investment that also represents the style and personalities of the couple. And while wedding details influence this dramatic dessert, the season does as well. Each season bring its own hues, tastes, natural elements and designs, and these details can—and should!—be infused in the wedding cake. Not all colors or tastes work well for every season, so nod to nature to help create the look and taste of your wedding’s greatest and most anticipated dessert.