Ditch the Cake!
11 Wedding Cake Alternatives That Your Guests Will LOVE
Now, before you start yelling at me for suggesting wedding cake alternatives, don’t get me wrong. I LOVE cake. We had a wedding cake AND a groom’s cake for our wedding. I’m not going so far to say that you HAVE to get rid of the wedding cake to the extreme that Kaitlin Menza does in this article: Why You Should Never Serve Wedding Cake At A Wedding.
As a wedding DJ, I’ve had my fair share of cake because, well, weddings. I know when the wedding cake is well made if the cake is still moist by the time I eat it at the end of the reception (I don’t eat cake when it’s served). Especially for outdoor receptions, Florida means warmer temperatures and warmer temperatures mean dry cake if it’s not made properly. But, more times than not, when I begin to eat my cake it is delicious and moist and all the goodness that is wedding cake.
However, this blog is NOT to promote wedding cake. This blog is to wedding cake’s alternative for couples who are looking to do something different and bold. They want to make a statement by going against the tradition and selecting something other than wedding cake for dessert at their reception. Maybe as a couple, one of your first dates was brunch and the restaurant you ate at had THE BEST waffle/pancake bar you’d ever experienced. Maybe donuts are a comfort food you share. It could just be that you are incorporating non-traditional elements into your wedding and what sense would it make to not do something different for dessert as well!? Let’s dive into the non-cake options that are sure to wow your guests!
All Things Breakfast
I’m talking donuts, waffles, pancakes, and cinnamon rolls! You could choose a single option as the dessert, but you’re already breaking the wedding cake tradition. Why limit yourself to just one thing!? Feel free to mix and match. I’ve seen couples use a donut wall for their wedding. You could do made-to-order pancakes and waffles stations. Cinnamon rolls do feel like they can stand on their own but these choices make for such visual variety that your guests (and probably your photographer) will enjoy their aesthetic.
The Case for Donuts
Who doesn’t like a good donut? They’re light and delicious and the frosting choices are great because you can use the frosting to coordinate with the color palette you choose for your wedding. There’s also cream-filled donuts that give more flavor variety. Check out this awesome donut WALL!
The Case for Waffles & Pancakes
Ah, the age-old debate of waffles versus pancakes. I personally don’t discriminate between either, though I do prefer Waffle House to IHOP. Let your guests pick between either by offering made-to-order pancakes and waffles stations. In addition to having the option of pancakes or waffles, you can also amp it up by offering toppings to choose from: different flavored syrups, powdered sugar, chocolate, fruits, etc.
The Case for Cinnamon Rolls
Or as I affectionately call them Cin-NOM-NOM Rolls. These ooey-gooey delights are something that will stand out and be memorable for years when your guests think back to your wedding!
Aren’t We Talking About Alternatives to Wedding Cake!?
Yes. But, Marie Antoinette did say, “Let them eat cake,” and who am I to argue with deceased royalty? And cupcakes, cake pops, and cheesecakes are all technically non-traditional wedding dessert items even if they do have the word “cake” in them.
The Case for Cupcakes
Cupcakes are probably the most common non-traditional wedding dessert option that couples choose. We had cupcakes for our wedding!
Going with cupcakes is a way you can still incorporate cake but provide your guests with choices. You could go with the holy trinity of cupcakes: yellow, chocolate, and red velvet cupcakes or add in whatever else sounds delicious. Or possibly do a bride’s and groom’s cupcake as a replacement to the traditional wedding and groom’s cake.
The Case for Cake Pops
Who hasn’t been tempted by a cake pop as they’ve prepared to order a beverage from a coffee shop? These bite-sized delights are easy on the calorie count but also on the eyes for photos. You could even do a cupcake/cake pop mix for your guests’ desserts. That sounds fun!
The Case for Cheesecake
Some of you may be thinking, “Does cheesecake really need defending?” I would agree with you but let’s pretend it does. Cheesecake opens you up to more flavors than cupcakes or cake pops typically do. You have the classic cheesecake flavors of traditional, strawberry, chocolate, turtle, and triple chocolate (ALL THE CHOCOLATE) just to name a few.
I will admit that I wasn’t going to include these originally because, while I’ve had macarons before, they aren’t something I go crazy for. Please, don’t pick up your torches and pitchforks and get ready to march a mob in outrage for my formerly unenlightened dessert views. According to Heather Pelham of Emerald Coast Custom Cakes, macarons are her “absolute favorite non-cake wedding dessert.” They are an “amazing sweet treat, and they can be made in so many different flavors and colors.” This opens up the flavor palettes you can play with as well as creating visual variety by playing with color. Check out these macarons made by Heather.
Easy As Pie
Pie is such a delicious treat and not just something that has to be limited holidays. Since I’ve lived in the South most of my life, pecan pie is near and dear to my heart. Rhoda and I recently attended a wedding where there were at least 200 people and they had a pie bar that had numerous options. They had cherry pie, chocolate cream pie, pecan pie, pumpkin, pie and apple strudel. The great thing about this selection is that there is something for all the different tastes represented for all guests to enjoy! Oh, and if you want to make it an authentic Floridian dessert experience, consider key lime pie. The tartness goes very well with the warmer climate especially in the April, May, August, and September months.
I Scream, You Scream!
Dessert Table for 100, Alex
If you opt for any of the previous alternatives to wedding cake, you will probably have one to three choices. This next idea is the pinnacle of non-cake dessert ideas: the dessert table. Brownies, blondies, lemon bars, cookies, macarons, pies, etc! You are only limited by your imagination on what you’d like to have for this. The variety offered here is similar to the concept of the pie bar: it allows you to maximize the number of flavors to account for your guests’ different tastes.
But What If You Want Cake Too!?
Easy. Do what Rhoda decided to do. Have a wedding cake WITH whatever other desserts you pick. This will allow you to get the classic cake cutting shots without the dessert having to be solely cake. And you can even go further by doing a two-tiered cake-cut cake where the bottom tier is just a styrofoam base. Sneaky, right?
A Secret Weapon
We’ve wrapped up alternatives to wedding cake. I have one more idea that is not a dessert per se however, it is an excellent addition to whatever dessert you choose, even if after this entire article you ignored the alternatives and decided to stick with wedding cake. Consider adding a coffee bar. They are just starting to become more common in this area. An awesome coffee bar company called Coastal Coffee Bar Co would be a perfect addition to your reception.
Which wedding cake alternative is your favorite? Comment below! Know someone looking for ideas? Share this with them 🙂