Taking a Break From Cake: Wedding Cake Alternatives

by Anna Kelly

A little while back, we featured a post about cake inspiration. In that post, we really only talked about traditional weddings cakes – usually tiered, decorated, and meant to feed a crowd. I promised then that we would take a look at some wedding cake alternatives, and the day has finally come.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve noticed the rising popularity of cupcakes. Sweet and little, cupcakes are a perfect quaint alternative to a large wedding cake. In the guest-pleasing department, cupcakes are awesome – they allow for a huge variety of flavors so no one is left out.
Many couples choose to have one small cake tier above the cupcake stack, so that they are still honoring the tradition of “cutting the cake”, but others are throwing tradition to the wind and going cupcake-only. Here are some particularly sweet examples of the cupcake alternative:

Another popular cake alternative is the cake pop. All the same benefits of cupcakes are present here too: portion control, variety of flavors, neat-o display options.

As you can see above, cake pops can be made on sticks (like a lollipop), or just stacked together. I just love the hombre-style colors of the cake pop tower on the right.

Incidentally, cake pop towers bear an uncanny resemblance to a classic French celebration cake known as croquembouche:

The tower is comprised of profiteroles (pate a choux balls filled with pastry cream), and bound together with caramel and spun sugar. The name translates to “crunch in the mouth” (a result of the crunchy sugar on the outside).

Now to one of my favorite cake alternatives: pies. What is more American, more love-filled, than a pie?

While a pie may appear to be the dressed-down cousin of the fancy-pants cake, pies can still have a place at a more formal affair. Check out the refined mini-pie tower on the right:

If dressed-down is what you’re going for, though, any kind of pie can fit right in. Many couples even have family members prepare their particular specialties, which lends a familiar and heartfelt vibe to the whole dessert course.

So cake’s not your thing. That’s cool. If the sound of the Krispy Kreme truck is what gets your mouth watering, consider a donut cake! I love the look of the donut hole cake to the left (and it certainly gives lots of flavor options).

I may be straying from our topic a tiny bit now, but a candy table is another great way to be sure that your guests’ collective sweet tooth is satisfied. I guess that this is more of a favor alternative than a cake alternative, but I couldn’t resist both pictures below. Whether you choose a vibrant carnival feel, or a classic assortment of white candies, a candy table is sure to be a hit.

Here are some other unique alternatives that I couldn’t pass up:

Are you nostalgic for Hostess desserts? Why not make your wedding cake out of them? Same goes for Oreos – just make sure to have plenty of milk! On the far right, Rice Krispie treats get a major makeover as a dressed up tiered cake.

Finally, some savory alternatives if you’re just not into sweets. From left to right: assorted cheeses with figs, stacked crepes, and sushi!

Traditional cakes will never go out of style, but if you’re looking for an eye-catching (and palette-tempting) alternative, consider some of these great ideas!


Retail marketer who loves shopping, fashion, design, travel and dining out. NOLA native, Francophile, and DC-lover living in Charlotte since 1998. Married to a die-hard Wahoo for over 25 years, mother of one Princeton Tiger, a labradoodle and two cats. I'm the creator & editor of scoopcharlotte and scoopthelake - if you think you'd like to join our program, email me at scoopcharlotte [at] gmail.com today!


  1. Here’s an idea…how about some soft-serve ice cream instead or along with cake? We can dress up our fabulous soft-serve in all kinds of fancy ways, or just leave it plain. The truck is beautiful and we’ll work with you to create a dessert and a budget you’ll love! Check us out at SticksAndConesIceCream.com

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