Wedding cake? No thank you!

There are lots of reasons to give wedding cake the finger. Some people, for example, just don’t like cake. Others have been so traumatized by eating awful, dry cakes at receptions that they’re scared to give cake a go. Then, of course, you have your mavericks, who just want to serve dessert options that fall outside the norm. And there are a handful of folks out there who just plain don’t care about all the cakey pomp and circumstance, i.e., the cutting and the feeding and the smooshing.

I think a lot more people would consider nixing the cake if it meant they could avoid having overzealous relatives yelling, “Cram it in her craw!” during what ought to be a sweet little feed à deux. While discussing cake options, I said this to The Beard: “We’re spending a lot on our clothes, and it would be a real shame to ruin anything re-wearable or donate-able with cake smears.” Lucky for me, he agreed.

That said, cake doesn’t have to be your centerpiece, even if you do want to share a public nibble. There are all manner of sweets on can share to ensure that no possible photographic opportunity is missed.

Where are the little strawberry brides?

Dipped strawberries are an obvious choice, being that they’re portable and quite a lot of people enjoy them. Furthermore, they’re not nearly as messy as cake can be, and people tend to limit themselves to one or two before calling it quits.

Mmmm, monogrammed!

At a recent wedding I attended, the cupcakes served in lieu of cake were the actual centerpieces at each table. You could do the same thing with wedding cookies, propping them up somehow and rounding out the display with ribbon or lace or flowers.

Glug glug burble glub

Personally, I think chocolate fountains are beyond vile, but different strokes for different folks, I say. They are quite messy — the last time they came up in comment-driven conversation, someone recounted seeing one at a bridal expo. The fountain in question was spritzing melted chocolate onto the table, the floor, and anyone unlucky enough to stand to close. Do note that this is the drippiest option.

Save your fork!

Sometimes stuffing your pie hole is a good thing! Chris and Jenny served fruit pies in addition to the cake their caterer INSISTED they have. They even cut the cake, though as it was never properly announced, very few people were party to the slicing. I think they should have cut the pie!

Okay, so it is cake...but it's not wedding cake.

Yes, petits fours are cake, but you have to admit with all that tasty icing (and jam and mousse and what-have-you) they taste very little like a slice of your standard wedding cake. As a bonus, their diminutive dimensions make them a perfect shared morsel. Two bites, and it’s gone.

If, however, none of those options strike your fancy, there’s always fresh fruit, doughnuts and pastries, chilled mousse, truffles, brownies, dessert souffles, caramel apples, a sundae bar, a candy bar, cheesecake, flan, tiramisu, or crepes. The sky really is the limit here, dear readers. Any dessert will do!

22 Responses to “Wedding cake? No thank you!”

  1. mkb says:

    Some friends of mine did cut the pie. They did it at their sweetheart table. It was a heath bar pie, and they had many, many other pies.

  2. Linda says:

    I want to have pie at our wedding. FI wants cheesecakes. I think we might have both. Neither of us really like cake that much. But people do recoil in horror when I mention that I don’t want a cake at the wedding. I love the chocolate covered strawberries though!

  3. Twistie says:

    Mr. Twistie and I had individual fruit tarts instead of cake. He doesn’t like cake, it was easier to come up with tarts that didn’t blow his diabetic diet completely, and everyone who knows me knows I’m the queen of pie crust. Once Mr. Twistie admitted he didn’t like cake, it was easy. We had half a dozen flavors, too, so everyone could find something they liked. We never did actually do the feeding thing. I think we all just forgot about it because there wasn’t a cake to ceremonially cut.

    But nobody complained, and the tarts got eaten.

    I like cake, but I can make one any time I like. In fact, I’ve got the remains of a fabulous banana cake in my kitchen right now and they’re calling to me.

    Those tuxedo strawberries are beyond awesome, NtB!

    Linda, have a combo of pie and cheesecakes. It may confuse people, but I guarantee you they will eat it. In their hearts of hearts, some of them will like it better even if they think it’s odd. Besides, the point was never that the food shared was cake, but that food was shared, and that’s just as easily done with pie or cheesecake as it is with a more traditional wedding cake.

  4. Never teh Bride says:

    I’m with Twistie, Linda. Ignore the haters and enjoy whatever desserts it is that you like on your wedding day. At the end of the night, it’s just sugar-laden food!

  5. Pencils says:

    It’s your wedding–have what you want for dessert! Something interesting makes the wedding more memorable.

    Our wedding cake was a cheesecake, made by my mom. A big, three-tier cheesecake from Martha Stewart’s old Weddings book. It had an apricot glaze on the top of each layer, and piped icing to hold it in and look decorative. And our pretty lovebirds topper on top. Even though it was homemade, it was a beautiful cake. (People occasionally offer my mom money to bake and decorate cakes although she only does it for love.) I’d wanted one since my mom made the same thing for my sister’s wedding in 1989. However, my husband doesn’t like cheesecake, as plenty of people don’t, so we also had a cupcake tower of chocolate, yellow, and carrot cake cupcakes. Each topped with colored icing and a flower.

  6. Dianasaur says:

    Mmmm, my mom made our cake, and it was delicious and gorgeous. My husband doesn’t really like cake, he’s a pie man, so my aunt made him his own little pie. It even had a ceramic blackbird coming out of it (like the nursery rhyme) which totally worked with our renaissance theme.

    The best cake moment was that we had invited an elderly mentally handicapped man from church to our wedding, and our wedding day was his birthday. He loves chocolate cake so we bought him a small cake and wrote “Happy Birthday Bobby” on it. Then after we cut our cake we called him up and presented it and had everyone sing happy birthday to him. He got so choked up and emotional, it was really special.

  7. Toby Wollin says:

    Sometimes things just don’t work out the way you think they will. My husband and I were getting married on a really thin budget and my mom offered to make the cake. She baked a traditional English wedding cake, which was(in her memory) a heavily fruited cake covered in this almond icing that had the consistency of concrete and was meant to be cut up and mailed out as a momento to people who could not make the wedding. Now, if we’d actually been at a traditional English wedding, in England, perhaps the guests would have known what to do with the cake (not eat it and would have had another dessert), but we weren’t and they didn’t and everyone found the cake to be almost inedible. I’m just glad no one broke a tooth on the frosting.

  8. C* says:

    My H and I love cake so that was an easy choice for us as far as our wedding reception went. But, because we got married in PA but we live in UT, we had an open house-style reception in Utah where we served a ton of different desserts: frosted sugar cookies, baclava, mini fruit tarts, sweet breads, brownies. By far the best dessert served (IMO, of course) was the Apple Spice Cake Donuts which we displayed in pyramids. Our guests loved the choices!

  9. Twistie says:

    Toby Wollin, I have a great story about traditional English wedding cake. Years ago, I went to see a concert by a brilliant Scottish fiddler named John Turner. He’d recently been married and he wrote a fiddle tune about the cake. With every repeat, the first downbeat got a little harder and a little longer and a little more tortured.

    Why? Because his bride actually broke her wrist when they tried to cut the darn thing and they spent their wedding night in the emergency room!’

    Traditional English wedding cakes are built to last the ages, not to be a fluffy light treat.

  10. Cassie says:

    When my mom and step-dad got married, they had pie. About six different kinds of pie, from a local Amish bakery. Everyone was thrilled. They cut the pie together, and fed it to each other – on forks! – and it was cute. We even took the wedding topper from my grandmother’s wedding cake back in 1951, changed a few small details (took out gross-looking foil flowers and ribbon, added silk flowers that matched the colors) and set it on the top of the pie my parents cut. It was very sweet.

    Now, as far as chocolate fountains go.
    I used to work for a local chocolate company, and my store was the one in charge of renting out the fountain for weddings and other events. Which also meant we were in charge of cleaning it up afterwards, and manning it at said event, if the people wanted someone there. Nightmare. If you REALLY want one of them, go for it, but they are a pain to clean up, expensive as hell, messy as all get-out, and not very attractive.

  11. JaneC says:

    We had cake, from a bakery. Initially my mother was going to make the cake herself, but a good friend (and former event planner) talked us out of it. We were very careful about choosing a bakery, and it paid off. The cake was beautiful and tasted great (it was lemon-flavored and very moist), the bakery staff were kind and helpful, and it wasn’t super expensive.

    The top layer is still in my freezer, nearly four months later. I should cut off two slices and get rid of the rest of it–it’s taking up too much space. I feel bad about the waste, though. Maybe we should have a party.

  12. Carol says:

    Mr. Carol’s mother is well known for her pies and my mother is the Cookie Queen of the Midwest. So we had a huge assortment of cookies and pies at our reception plus a small cake for those who preferred that. (Strawberry and custard cream filling – I’m not a cake person but this was quite yummy.) People are still talking about how lovely it was. Sigh. It was a wonderful day!

  13. Wendy says:

    We’re doing the cupcake trees as table centerpieces at our wedding in a couple of months. People keep asking us how we are going to do the cake cutting ceremony without an actual cake. I don’t see why we can’t cut a cupcake. There’s also concern that people might eat the cupcakes before it’s time for dessert. That’s fine with us!

  14. WideBride says:

    We are having two cakes in fact – one will be a normal sweet cake with icing etc etc and the other is a ‘cheese’ cake – literally rounds of cheeses stacked on each other to make a tier, which will be decorated with grapes. It’s something I have seen a few times here in the UK but has yet to catch on in most other places (including my native New Zealand). We always wanted a cheese course in addition to pudding and this is just a fun way to present the cheese!

  15. Nony Mouse says:

    The chocolate fountain at my reception was a hit. Of course, it wasn’t a model that was throwing chocolate all over everybody either, and YMMV, but our guests enjoyed it.
    Also, the best ‘cake’ at our wedding was a chocolate mousse cake that didn’t have lights on it ’til right before serving so it didn’t melt, but the mousse was by far favored over the more traditional cakes.

  16. TeleriB says:

    I admit to having (and loving) a chocolate fountain. It was the one extravagant thing I really, really wanted for the reception, and about the only piece of set dressing I was really attached to. It’s chocolate. That you put on things. It seemed like the most amazing, delicious idea to me.

    We had a cake for ceremonial cutting purposes; it was Duncan Hines out of the box, frosting out of the can, and washed fall leaves from the front lawn as decorations. I think my husband brandished the cake server at me, so I struck an en guarde with the knife at him; then he fell back into some movie kung fu pose with the cake server. We froze for a moment, then laughed and turned to the cake – and all the guests roared in protest, insisting that we pose like that again so they could get pictures of it. It’s one of the iconic images from our wedding.

  17. JC says:

    We’re doing what are basically cheesecake cupcakes – a local bakery makes individually sized cheesecakes. They come in about 40 different flavors, so we’re going to choose a big assortment. I can’t wait…mmmm, Bailey’s flavored cheesecake!

  18. WideBride, you have to see the “cheese” cake my friend Ilene had at her wedding:

  19. WideBride says:

    class-factotum, that cheese looks amazing! Clearly a hit with the guests too. And the Bride’s outfit – WOW! She looked fabulous!

  20. I know! She looked so great! It was such a happy day for everyone. (I LOVE her red shoes!)

    The cake was delicious. Ilene’s husband is in the cheese business, so they wanted a cake that looked like cheese. It was chocolate with raspberry, I think, and then hazelnut with amaretto??

  21. Never teh Bride says:

    I love it, class-factotum! And this coming from someone who doesn’t care overmuch for cheese!*

    *Cheese-shaped stuff is all right, though.

  22. LeeLee says:

    Both my husband and I love cake, but wedding cake is usually dry and nasty. We had a cake- and- champagne – only reception, so I wanted the cake to be extra-tasty. Who knew that Italian Creme makes a fab wedding cake? Our groom’s cake was chocolate mousse with almonds. Yum. Everyone raved about the cakes and didn’t notice that the champagne was a little on the cheap side. We used a fountain, so there were no bottles as evidence.