The cutting of the cake is a wedding tradition that has been around for centuries. Typically, the bride and groom cut the cake after the wedding breakfast, and serve it to their guests as dessert. You can purchase beautiful wedding cake knife and server sets that will last as a lifelong memento.
But there are many reasons why you might want to skip the traditional wedding cake. Maybe you think wedding cakes are too old-fashioned, and you want to be different. Perhaps you’re put off by the price point of professional wedding cakes, and are looking for something you can craft yourself. Or maybe you just don’t like the taste of cake!
Whatever the reason, we’ve put together a list of 12 tasty and impressive alternatives to traditional wedding cakes. Whether you’re after something sweet or something savoury, we’ve got you covered.
Sweet Alternatives to Wedding Cake
You’re a big fan of the sweet life, but a traditional wedding cake doesn’t appeal to you. If you’d still like something sweet that you can serve to your guests as dessert, here are six great ideas for your wedding cake alternative.
Wedding Cupcake Tower
Do you like cake, but want to avoid the expense of a professional, multi-tiered wedding cake? If so, look no further than a tower of cupcakes! Multi-level cupcake stands are available from most homeware stores. A tower of cupcakes looks just as impressive as a proper wedding cake, and it’s also easier to serve.
You can make the cupcakes yourself, if you’re a dab hand in the kitchen and you want to save on costs. Alternatively, commission them from a professional, or buy them from your local bakery. Choose as many different flavours as you like and let your wedding guests pick their favourites.
Multi-Tier Wedding Cheesecake
If cheesecakes are more up your alley than sponge cakes, why not have a towering cheesecake creation on your wedding day? Choose from fruit flavoured toppings, chocolate, or even salted caramel. Make them yourself if you’re up for the challenge – if not, ask a professional baker if they could whip something up for you.
New York-style baked cheesecakes will hold up better to being stacked directly on top of one another than the fridge-set kind. However, if you prefer no-bake cheesecakes, you can set them each on their own individual stand – or use skewers to hold them in place.
Fruit Pie Wedding Cake
Some say that the world is split into cake lovers and pie lovers. If you’re very much the latter, there’s nothing stopping you from having a sweet wedding pie instead of a cake! There are so many options – apple pie, cherry, blackberry, gooseberry, rhubarb. If you fancy something even more indulgent, what about pecan pie, pumpkin pie, banoffee, or key lime?
Stack your glorious sweet pies on top of one another and create a wedding pie masterpiece that will impress your guests. The best part is that you can cut into the top tier just as you would a wedding cake!
Wedding Doughnut Wall
Who doesn’t love doughnuts (or donuts, depending on how you spell it)? They’re like cakes, but deep-fried and crispy. Whether you’re a fan of iced ring doughnuts or the jam-and-cream filled kind, both would make a fantastic wedding centrepiece in lieu of a wedding cake.
You could use the aforementioned cupcake stand and load it up with doughnuts instead. But for a much more visually dramatic alternative, consider a doughnut wall. This is a vertical structure upon which rows of ring doughnuts are hung on hooks. Ice them in colours that match your wedding theme, or go all white for a minimalistic look.
Wedding Biscuit Sculpture
Biscuits (or, as the Americans call them, cookies) are absolutely perfect for crafting stunning, 3D wedding masterpieces. A biscuit sculpture is usually made from a firm, strong biscuit that will hold its shape in the oven, and won’t crumble easily under pressure. Gingerbread is a great example – imagine a Christmas gingerbread house, but something a bit more grand and dramatic.
Of course, your biscuit sculpture can be made in almost any shape you desire. It can also be made with any flavour (ginger is certainly not required if you’re not a fan). The addition of spun sugar, macarons and other decorations can take it to the next level.
Wedding Chocolate Fountain
Chocolate fountains are the ultimate in decadence, and what’s more, they look the part at a wedding. The fountains that you can buy in homeware stores are usually small and designed for intimate gatherings. However, you can hire huge, towering, multi-tiered fountains for big events like weddings. Use white chocolate, and it’ll even look like a wedding cake!
Choose any number of interesting ingredients for your guests to ‘dunk’, and let them get stuck in. Popular dipping foods include fruit kebabs, marshmallows, breadsticks, rice krispie squares, and biscuits. Your wedding guests will love it.
Savoury Wedding Cake Ideas
If you don’t have a sweet tooth, the idea of a traditional wedding cake obviously won’t appeal to you – and nor will any of our sweet alternatives. But don’t despair; it’s your wedding, and if you’d prefer something savoury, go for it! Here are six ideas for a show-stopping savoury wedding cake alternative.
Wedding Cheese Wheels
We’ve already covered wedding cheesecakes, but for savoury fans, have you considered a wedding cake made of cheese? We’re talking multi-tiered creations made from cheese wheels stacked on top of one another. Decorate with vines of grapes, ribbons, or even fresh flowers. Cheesy weddings aren’t always bad!
You can still have your cheese ‘cake’ cutting moment, and slice it up for your guests. Bring out a fabulous array of crackers, biscuits and fruits to serve it with, and don’t forget the wine. It’s like a cheeseboard, but so much better.
A croquembouche is a French patisserie creation made from hundreds of little choux buns (like chocolate éclairs, but round). The buns are traditionally filled with pastry cream, stacked into a huge, dramatic tower, and drizzled with caramel. But what many people don’t realise is that choux pastry doesn’t have to be sweet – it also goes extremely well with savoury fillings.
For a savoury twist on a croquembouche that would be perfect for a wedding, fill each choux bun with soft cheese and herbs instead of cream. Serve it to your guests as a starter before the wedding breakfast, or as part of your reception buffet.
Wedding Pork Pie Cake
If you are a pastry lover, but sweet pies don’t appeal to you, savoury pies could be right up your street. One of the most popular savoury pies, often used as a wedding cake alternative, is the pork pie. Its heavy filling and its robust hot water crust pastry holds up well to being ‘stacked’ (the way that a wedding cake would be).
For more delicate pies such as steak and ale, or even cheese and onion, why not make (or commission) individual round ones, and display them all on a tiered cupcake stand? Set it as the centrepiece on your wedding reception buffet table and watch your guests gawp.
Deli Meat Wedding Cake
Cold wedding buffets are popular in many European countries. If a Smorgasbord-style feast is your preference, you can’t go wrong with deli meat. Using a traditional wedding cake stand (or a cupcake stand), drape various meats – such as cured ham, chorizo, salami, prosciutto, roast beef and pastrami – over each tier. Add garnishes such as herbs, slices of tomato and onion, or other veggies.
The result will be a spectacular creation the same shape as a wedding cake, but much more suited to a savoury palette. You can’t ‘cut’ it, but your guests can help themselves along with other buffet foods such as quiches, salads, breads and dips.
Wedding Sushi Tower
Sushi is a traditional Japanese food made from seasoned rice. It’s usually formed into a shape (like a ball or a roll) and wrapped around, or served alongside, various fillings such as seafood, seaweed, meats, and vegetables. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not all ‘raw fish’, and it’s quite a delicacy.
Sushi is often seen as an art, and the great thing about it is that it looks (as well as tastes) beautiful. A tower of elaborately crafted sushi would make a stunning wedding centrepiece, and a great replacement for a traditional wedding cake.
Tiered Pizza Stand
Pizza originated in Italy, but it’s now one of the most well-loved foods around the world. There’s a reason why pizza parties are so popular – pizza makes a great sharing food, and can bring people from all walks of life together! So why not celebrate your love of pizza at your wedding?
As well as serving a multitude of pizzas at your wedding reception, you could buy (or make) a multi-tiered pizza stand and use it as a wedding cake alternative. It’s easy to provide vegetarian, vegan and even gluten-free options by having a different type of pizza on each tier. The only question is: deep-pan or thin crust? You decide!