Let’s Eat Some Cake!
At the end of a long day of photographing a wedding I look forward to enjoying a slice of wedding cake. That sugar rush always seems to carry me through the last hour of the reception. The wedding cake is often the stand out detail of the wedding reception. Whether you go for a traditional look (layered with buttercream icing), or a modern trend (naked cakes with creative fillings), you can’t get it wrong as long as it tastes good. Some couples skip the wedding cake in favor of a dessert table. Since I love all things classic and timeless, layer cakes still have my heart, but I also adore these newer trends!
I have seen some amazingly gorgeous cakes and some awesome dessert tables at weddings I’ve photographed. The cake is one of my FAVORITE details to photograph on wedding days. I like to think of it as taking a portrait of the cake. Sometimes I only have a couple of minutes to get the light right and grab my shot. I try to photograph reception details before guests enter the room, ensuring the scene is untouched. This allows the bride and groom to see something that they would otherwise miss since they are typically the last people to enter into the reception. Many times they barely get a good look at the cake before they cut into it!
Since I have a major love of wedding cakes and food photography, I was thrilled when I was given the opportunity to photograph some cakes for Mobile Bay Bride Magazine’s 2018 issue. The cakes that were part of the shoots I did were absolutely stunning! Today, I’m sharing those amazing cakes, plus some of my favorites from weddings I’ve photographed. I can’t imagine how my brides decide on a cake flavor and design because I love them all!
Cake Trends I Love
1. The all-white cake
The all-white wedding cake still reigns supreme! White is definitely a classic choice, but it does not have to be a boring one. I love seeing textured frosting, eye-catching florals and elaborate piping take an all-white cake from plain to fabulous! This cake is one that I photographed for Mobile Bay Bride Magazine and I absolutely loved the greenery that wrapped around each layer. Lemons and berries lend a summery feel to this simple design by Cakes by Judi.
Katie and Trent’s wedding cake is one of my all-time favorites! The gold accents and the texture of the pale flowers brought just the right amount of detail to this statuesque cake. The elegant floral arrangements framed up this area so beautifully. It really made the cake the focal point detail at the reception. To say I am still obsessed with this cake is an understatement! Couture Cakes really outdid themselves with this beautiful creation! Their cakes are also some of the most delicious you’ll ever taste!
I love, love, love texture on a cake and this cake certainly had texture! This cake by J.A.M. Cakery was from one of the first few weddings I second shot with my friend Jennie Tewell, but it remains an all-time favorite. It is also one of the best tasting cakes I’ve ever eaten. Even though I only got to take one bite before we had to rush out and photograph the exit, I still remember how delicious this cake was over three years later! J.A.M. Cakery is now based in Opelika.
I love a cake that makes a statement and Jillian and Collin’s cake did just that! This cake by Pollman’s Bake Shop was huge! I loved how the folding screen and floral garland created such a lovely backdrop for this cake portrait. The Edison lights that were strung above brought the perfect modern touch to this classic Mobile Bay wedding. The pastel roses added the perfect amount of color. I could have photographed this cake all day.
Katie and Patrick’s wedding was full of Southern classics and their wedding cake was no exception! I love this style of cake. The choice of flowers can really change up the look for this timeless design (scroll down to see what I mean!). Cakes by Judi works magic with buttercream frosting!
Different flowers create a different look! I love the color pop of hot pink flowers on this cake that Sally’s Piece-A-Cake created for the Mobile Bay Bride shoot. The design is very similar to Katie and Patrick’s cake shown above, but switching up the choice of flowers gives it a completely different feel! Both options are perfect for spring weddings!
2. Naked Cakes
I was the kid that never wanted the slice of cake with the big rosette made of frosting. I have a sweet tooth, but don’t like overly sweetened desserts, so it’s no surprise that I love the naked cake trend! Naked cakes exemplify the art of simplicity. These cakes can be made to fit in with almost any wedding style and I consider them less of indulgence since each slice only has a small amount of frosting. Does that mean I can have two slices and not feel guilty about it? Just kidding!
I was obsessed with this cake by EllenJay Events that was part of the cake shoot I photographed for Mobile Bay Bride. Fall is my favorite season of the year, so it’s not a surprise that this cake had me all heart-eyes when they brought it in for me to photograph. I love that it’s a sweet potato cake and captures all the warmth of autumn!
I took this next cake photo while second shooting with my friend Jennie. It is still a favorite cake photo all these years later!
3. Cakes that Sparkle
For brides that love their bling, cakes with metallic elements are a huge hit. I love a little sparkle on a wedding cake! Whether you want just a hint of gold or you want to go all out, this is another one of my favorite trends. I love how this cake by The Little Cake Shop had both a bit of sparkle and great texture.
This amazing six-tier cake was absolutely stunning! I love that it’s traditional with a modern flair! The cascade of flowers brought just the right amount of softness to this cake. I still can’t get over this intricate lace detail! Perfection!
4. Why Have One Cake When You Can Have Three?
My friend Debby joked that she was having three cakes at her wedding because one was not enough. I love the multiple cake trend! Brides that go this route usually skip having a large tiered cake and select two or three smaller cakes in varying flavors. Some couples opt for the mini cakes in place of a groom’s cake and select an array of flavors, such as strawberry, lemon, chocolate and coconut. The possibilities are endless! Debby and Richard chose Cakes by Judi for their wedding cakes and I can happily say that I tasted two out of the three and they were fabulous!
Debby loves frosting and Richard doesn’t, so they decided to have one cake with traditional wedding cake and buttercream frosting and two smaller naked cakes (strawberry & chocolate), giving them each a delicious option to enjoy on their wedding day! How cute are these little cakes?!
Cupcakes are also still a popular option for smaller weddings and for couples that want to have more than one flavor option for guests. I absolutely adored this cupcake tree at Karen and Zach’s Mobile Botanical Gardens wedding. A friend of theirs made these delicious cupcakes as a wedding present. Both Karen and Zach work in longleaf pine forest conservation, so the addition of pine cone cake toppers was an adorable touch!
5. Marbled Cakes
I don’t remember exactly when I noticed marbled cakes showing up in my Instagram feed, but I do remember that I instantly loved the look. If you’re a fan of fondant cakes, this is a trend for you! I’m actually not even sure if marbled is the correct term for these cakes. Maybe watercolor would be a better description? Either way, I’m a fan. Both of these cakes were photographed for two different shoots I did for Mobile Bay Bride and both were created by Tara of Couture Cakes. Tara is an amazing cake artist. I’m always in awe of how her cakes look amazing AND taste amazing every single time!
6. Dessert Tables
Dessert tables are my FAVORITE! Who doesn’t love seeing a whole spread of sweet treats at a reception! Try one, or try them all!!! Some couples include a traditional bride’s cake and groom’s cake along with an array of desserts ranging from cake pops to mini cheese cakes, while others skip the traditional cakes completely in lieu of pies, tarts, decorated cookies, brownies and chocolate covered pretzels. This is where couples can get creative and have fun with their dessert selections. Like kids in a candy store, guests swarm the dessert table, eager to try out a little bit of everything. Best of all, there’s sure to be something on the table that will appeal to every guest. I’ve even seen gluten-free desserts represented!
This dessert table spread was created for a shoot I did for Mobile Bay Bride’s 2017 issue. Isn’t this watercolor technique beautiful?! EllenJay Events always puts together amazing dessert tables. They are truly a feast for the eyes! I am not so secretly obsessed with their decorated cookies (just ask my brides!)! It is so hard to stop by their midtown shop without buying one (or two, or three). Whenever I see their decorated cookies donning a dessert table, I know they won’t last long because they are just that good!
Dessert tables are also a great option for weddings that are smaller, or won’t include a meal at the reception!
7. The Groom’s Cake
Did you know the tradition of a groom’s cake originated in Victorian England? I’ve always thought of the groom’s cake as a Southern tradition ever since I was at a wedding where a guest from up north asked me why there were two cakes at the reception. They had never heard of a groom’s cake. I had never met someone who hadn’t heard of a groom’s cake. We were both fascinated. Fast forward a few years and I’ve discovered that it is indeed mostly us Southerners that continue the groom’s cake tradition, but thanks to Google I now know where the idea of the groom’s cake came from. I’m just glad we dropped the tradition of the groom’s cake being made out of fruitcake.
Groom’s cakes are such a fun tradition! I love seeing the groom’s personality shine through them. It’s also fun when you know the groom’s cake is a surprise from the bride. Sometimes I’m photographing the groom’s cake at the rehearsal dinner and sometimes both are at the wedding reception. I’ve seen my share of creative groom’s cakes, but you can never go wrong if you incorporate your SEC football team. These are some of my favorites!
Star Wars is also a frequent groom’s cake theme! I keep wondering if I’m ever going to see a Harry Potter groom’s cake. I’ll probably totally geek out if I ever do!
Are you craving cake yet? I am! Don’t be afraid to have fun with your cake design. Remember, it’s most important that it tastes fabulous and that it’s something you love!
Want more wedding inspiration? Tell me in the comments below what you’d like to see in my next wedding day inspiration post!
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