20 Best Wedding Cake Flavors Ranked

So you and your beau have done it. You've dated for a while and are now finally engaged. Announcements have been made, engagement parties and dinners have settled down, and you've eventually shortlisted possible dates for the big day — now, for the actual planning of the wedding. Research has shown that planning a wedding is an incredibly stressful time for couples. And while your budget, guest lists, and family dynamics are some of the major triggers of that stress, choosing your wedding cake should be the fun part (per Martha Stewart).

You get to spend some time nibbling on sweet treats away from the rest of the wedding bustle. While some couples may have a clear idea of exactly what type of cake they want, others tend to explore an array of flavors that are placed before them. If you're curious about the flavors you're likely to come across, read on to discover how they've been ranked compared to one another.

20. Fruit Cake

One thing fruit cake is bound to do is to split the room in which it is mentioned down the middle. Many people either love its unrepentant mix of dried fruit, liquor, and dense texture or absolutely cannot fathom why it continues to exist. Nevertheless, this is a cake that has also stood the test of time. According to Atlas Obscura, pieces of the fruit cake served at Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's 1840 wedding are still floating around ... or rather grounded, given its texture, in the homes of those who received them as souvenirs.

While the royal wedding popularized the fruit cake as the ultimate wedding cake for decades afterward, fruit cake dates back to the Middle Ages and has inspired various adaptations, including panforte, stollen, and black cake in Italy, Germany, and the Caribbean Islands, respectively (via Smithsonian). It's now commonly served as a Christmas pudding; however, given the contentious opinions it inspires, you're probably better off serving something your guests will actually eat. Unless, of course, you really do love it and want to keep a piece for your 50th wedding anniversary.

19. White Chocolate Cake

White chocolate alone is another ingredient that will likely split a room of chocolate lovers. This is because, more often than not, in conversations that draw comparisons between milk and white chocolate, someone is bound to pipe up that white chocolate is not even chocolate at all since it contains none of the cocoa solids found in darker chocolates. According to The Washington Post, white chocolate not only deserves its name but it's also made using the best offshoot in the chocolate-making process: cocoa butter.

It may be described as an identity crisis and the worst thing to happen to chocolate, as per Spoon University. However, given its high-fat content, cocoa butter is highly regarded within the skincare and pharmaceutical industries — even though the jury is still out on its benefits for the former, per Healthline. What the jury is also still out on is whether white chocolate can really compete with its darker counterpart. It may hold its own in some respects, but is chocolate really the thing to be jesting about at a wedding?

18. Pistachio Cake

Pistachios are one of the most popular nuts, except they are not really nuts! Not only are they seeds that come in other colors, including red and pink, but they are also an ancient snack with origins in Western Asia (via Nuts and Snacks). As a cake flavor, pistachio can be paired with various types of chocolate, citrus, dried fruit, and spices to create some really interesting flavors.

Now, its position here is not so much about pistachio cake lacking as a wedding cake flavor, but the fact that there are other nut cakes that generally fare better. Or rather, it perhaps just hasn't been showcased as well. Nevertheless, given its versatility, even if it's not the star at the wedding cake table, there are always plenty of ways to incorporate pistachio in your dessert selection, whether as macaroons, shortcake bars, cheesecake pies, baklava, or as an accompanying ice cream. If you're feeling especially reminiscent though, there's still this Watergate Cake recipe for a journey down history's lane.

17. Pumpkin Spice Cake

You cannot speak of pumpkin spice without conjuring visceral images of fall, the holiday season, and, of course, Starbucks. Pumpkin spice has become — quite literally — its own unique culture within contemporary society. However, there is also some science as to why so many people can't get enough of it. According to Live Science, it has do with the nature of sugar and the insatiable reward centers it pings in the brain. More importantly, pumpkin spice conjures up feelings of nostalgia. Interestingly, it's also been found to be an aphrodisiac (via Fortune).

So if you grew up indulging in this sweet and spicy yumminess over the holidays, you'll likely seek out pumpkin spice lattes as temperatures dip and your body and brain increasingly crave its warmth. And although it's been shrouded in some messaging controversy and hit its peak in 2015 (via Vox), this doesn't entirely discount the flavor for your wedding cake. The major hiccup here is that its firm association with specific seasons and motifs limits its incorporation into specific wedding themes.

16. Banana Cake

When 2020 rolled around, nobody imagined that in just a few short weeks, it would seem that anybody with access to some bananas and an oven were baking banana bread to cope with a pandemic. The irony is, just three years prior, the world was excited about Prince Harry and Megan Markle possibly veering off the beaten path by having a banana cake at their wedding (via She Knows).

Much has changed since, and many people have had to be unconventional about how they do weddings. But when it comes to cakes and baked goods in general, if you're fortunate enough to have somehow preserved your love for banana bread, you are an exceptional human being and should be protected at all costs. You might even argue that banana cake and banana bread are different, though per Greatist, it may not actually matter. However, the same can very likely not be said for your guests, and collective trauma may not be a reminder anybody needs to be touting on your special day.

15. White Chocolate Raspberry Cake

White chocolate cake may not be the ultimate wedding cake, but add a bramble of raspberries and it'll instantly be elevated. After white chocolate started making a name for itself in the late 1980s (via New York Times), it was soon paired with raspberry cake — there is just something about fresh fruit on a cake, especially one that has a dedicated national day!

National Raspberry Cake is celebrated in the United States on July 31, annually. It remains unclear how this day originated, but the point is that it exists now. And raspberry is an excellent addition if you're wanting to elevate your white chocolate cake. Beyond its excellent nutrient profile, raspberries are also keenly symbolic (via The Country Store and Farm): in the Philippines, it is believed that raspberry canes hung outside your house can protect it from evil spirits. Additionally, when tied to a horse, the Germans claim that the canes can keep it calm.

14. Black Forest Cake

You know how champagne is only champagne if it comes from the Champagne region of France? Well, with both a dedicated day and a festival every two years, it turns out that black forest cake is only black forest cake if the cherries used to make it come from the Black Forest regions of Germany where it was inspired by Bollenhut, traditional hats worn by the women in the region. Originally named Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, meaning Black Forest Cherry Torte, it's believed that confectioner Josef Keller created this layered mound of sponge, whipped cream, and cherry goodness. This was later discounted by his diary, though black forest cake remains one of the most popular cake flavors across the globe.

If your wedding color scheme naturally matches that of a black forest cake, it could make for a beautiful display atop your cake table. You would, however, have to contend with the cake's overall handling. Chief among these is the whipped cream; although refreshing, it doesn't hold very well when not refrigerated (via Love to Know). But if you're willing to go the non-traditional route, you can opt for frosting instead.

13. Coffee Cake

Before we delve into coffee cake, it's worth noting that it actually doesn't always contain coffee. Now, off the cuff, this sounds silly, but the name is more of a nod to its evolution and other untold truths about it. According to The Food Timeline, coffee cake entered the scene during the 17th century when Dutch, German, and Scandinavian immigrants first introduced coffee to Europe. As a people who already had a penchant for sweet breads with their tea, Europeans, of course, had to have an accompanying sweet treat for their cups of Joe, hence the coffee cake.

Given that this version of coffee cake can literally contain any combination of flavors, here it specifically refers to coffee-flavored cakes. For your wedding, Martha Stewart suggests a mocha cake with meringue drops, marble cakes with layers alternating between chocolate and mocha, and a spicy petal cake with ginger syrup and chocolate curls. If you and your guests are coffee lovers, this is a creation that could tickle everyone's fancy.

12. Coconut Cake

Before coconut cake was coconut cake, it was called cocoanut cake. According to the Wisconsin Historical Society, it was only in the 20th century that the spelling in written recipes changed to what we now know it to be. The other interesting thing about these recipes was that the sponge had no coconut — it was only added to the frosting of the cake. Today, the coconut flavor is incorporated into the sponge. But more importantly, the cake itself is predominantly associated with the south of America, with the first documented recipe by an African American cookbook author.

With a rich history and cultural significance, you'll know when you've found exactly the right baker for your wedding cake. And your guests who recognize this are likely to be in for a treat. It may also seem like coconut is somewhat of a left-field flavor, but it is one of the most prepared ingredients and pairings (per Tastewise), which is worth noting.

11. Caramel Apple Cake

With caramel apples and Halloween fitting together like a hand in a glove, it's no surprise that they also share a date. Yes, caramel apples have a special day – National Caramel Apple Day – which is celebrated annually on October 31. Although the day itself is all about overall spookiness (having originated in the 1950s when Dan Walker, a Kraft Foods employee, melted caramel candies and dipped leftover apples from Halloween into them), caramel apples don't exactly need a separate light to shine under.

At some point, one could expect to receive caramel apples while trick-or-treating too, right up until rumors about razors being inserted into the apples spread and people grew increasingly wary (via Daily Nexus). They are also more loosely associated with the fall because it is prime apple-picking season, making this warm, spicy flavor particularly special if you're sentimental. If you'd like to get a little playful, you can serve actual caramel apples and dipping goodies for guests to make their own at your wedding (via Catering By Design).

10. Cheese Cake

In 2020, Loverly declared cheesecake as the new wedding cake, citing its ability to be versatile as well as the ease of making it vegan or dairy-free. Besides savory cheesecake being an actual thing and other surprising facts you probably never would have guessed about cheesecake, the awesome thing about cheesecake as your wedding cake is that you can skip the faff and simply have cheese cake.

You could do some of your favorite traditional cheesecake flavors and then get creative with the decorations. On the other hand, you could do cheese stacks decorated with various selections of fruit and floral finishings, or paired with charcuteries to suit your theme (via Brides). Regardless of what you opt for, having a cheese cake rather than cheesecake at your wedding is bold. And while not all your guests might enjoy it — unless you've managed to curate your circles with cheesy details in mind — it still makes for a wonderful, memorable spin on the customary wedding cake.

9. Cookie Cake

Did you know that chocolate chip cookies were created when Ruth Wakefield dropped chocolate chips into her butter cookies for the first time in the 1930s? Or that the sugar cookie is Commonwealth Pennsylvania's official cookie? Or that the first public peanut butter cookie recipe was documented in 1916? You may have never considered the history of some of your favorite cookies, and just as interestingly, that of the cookie cake. Unlike cookie sandwiches and pizzas, which have only recently become popular, cookie cakes date back to the 1970s, made by the Great American Cookie Company.

Now, cookie cakes are among the 2022 wedding cake trends to look out for. You don't even have to stick to just one cookie flavor either. You can have varied ensembles, such as an indulgent peanut butter chocolate cookie cake, a playful funfetti sugar cookie cake, or an oatmeal raisin cookie cake with cinnamon maple icing (via Tasty). Needless to say, the possibilities are endless.

8. Salted Caramel Cake

You know salted caramel is truly a phenomenon when it flavors unexpected items like chewing gum, beer, sausages, and shampoo (via BBC Good Food). This is not a mindless obsession either because, according to Vice, science has shown that the stuff is, quite frankly, addictive. The reason for this is it triggers a hedonistic escalation. So while you would ordinarily feel satiated the more you eat, salted caramel's indulgent mix of sweet, salty, and fatty instead trigger you to want more.

You may not want to consider this on your wedding day, of course (or maybe this is exactly what you want on your special day). Either way, salted caramel is versatile enough to flavor sausages and shampoo. This means you really won't struggle to personalize it as a wedding cake flavor and can pair it with either sweet or savory flavors to elevate whichever flavor profile you're going for.

7. Almond Cake

If you're a heterosexual single woman reading this while fantasizing about your own wedding someday, you can hurry the process along by placing an almond under your pillow. Greek legend has it that doing so will have you dreaming about your future husband in no time! At traditional Italian weddings, guests are given five almonds as favors; each of these represents well wishes for the couple.

Apart from these almond cake traditions, there are also two distinct types of almond cake. One is known as an almond biscuit, though it's made of pastry, and the other resembles a regular cake. This presents an opportunity to get even more personal and creative with your statement wedding cake. For instance, with cookie cakes being all the rage, imagine what you could do with an almond biscuit wedding cake. Now that would make for a pleasant surprise before you've even considered how pleasant almond flavor already is.

6. Lemon Cake

Few flavors are as refreshing as lemon — ice-cold lemonade on scorching hot days, lemon sorbet after a hefty meal, lemon meringue pie ... the list goes on. Lemon cake is not only a great flavor that requires no gimmicks to shine in the summer, but it can also serve as the base for an array of pairings. You can pair it with thyme, rosemary, or lavender if you adore your herbs, other fruits if you're feeling extra colorful, hazelnuts or almonds for some grounding, or ginger and cardamom for a spicy edge.

Unlike other cakes on this list that have days specifically dedicated to them, lemon features as National Lemon Cupcake Day, celebrated annually on December 15 (via Newsd). Although, it's not difficult to argue that beyond the semantics, cupcakes are actually just cakes. Nevertheless, how grand is it that you get to relish in its tangy zest on your big day.

5. Funfetti Cake

Oh, the wondrous joys of funfetti! When one bride asked, "Is funfetti for a wedding cake too birthday party?" on Wedding Wire, the response was a resounding no and that she should absolutely go for it. When Pillsbury introduced the first-ever Funfetti cake mix (via Eat This, Not That), the company was essentially creating a cake cult that many people have carried fondly into adulthood.

These are probably the same adults who remember having their ice cream cones and vanilla cupcakes dipped into sprinkles (or confetti, hundreds and thousands, etc., depending on where you were located). Maybe it's the childhood nostalgia, the playfulness around all those fun colors, and the sweetness of it all that just culminate into a perfect mixture of undulated happiness and beaming smiles. Which, really, is exactly the kind of energy you want at your wedding. And sometimes your cake is just the thing to add the proverbial cherry on top of your day.

4. Carrot Cake

Another one of Pillsbury's cult cakes, carrot cake is a spicier iteration of carrot pudding, which the company found in a cookbook from 1929 — after a national hunt for its earliest documented recipe (via Vice). It was published in "The Twentieth Century Bride's Cookbook," which is just as well because carrot cake was later notably popularized during the 1970s. This was after European immigrants who had been incorporating carrots into their desserts introduced them to America during the 18th century.

Carrot cake remains a classic to this day, and thus a popular wedding choice among couples. A carrot cake can easily be decorated in accordance with your theme without sacrificing its unique flavor. And the great thing about classics is that they are bound to make almost everyone happy with what they are served. Of course, that should include the couple as well.

3. Red Velvet Cake

"Why are people so obsessed with red velvet cake when it's just a regular cake with red food coloring?" As it turns out, quora discussions like this will trigger bakers to pry themselves away from their bowls of dough and explain that the definition is in the velvet. This is supported by The New York Times, which found that during the 1800s, almond flour, cocoa, and cornstarch were often used to manipulate the protein in flour in order to create a velvety texture. The chemistry around this is also what birthed the devil's food cake.

That intimate dance between buttermilk, cocoa, and vinegar is why over the years, red velvet cake has continued to grow in popularity. It's also a popular wedding cake choice for couples who associate love and romance with the color red. In which case, you can simply showcase the cake itself by presenting it naked with minimal decorations to suit your overall theme.

2. Chocolate Cake

When can you ever go wrong with chocolate? It's the gift that keeps on giving; all that cocoa goodness and the smooth texture is like fairies moonwalking on your tastebuds, if that were a thing. While some couples might want to steer clear of the ordinary by avoiding chocolate as their wedding cake flavor, many more still go for it — and quite enthusiastically, too.

Firstly, everybody loves chocolate ... or rather, almost everybody. Secondly, there is something inherently sensual and romantic about chocolate — whether or not that's down to commerce and marketing can be a debate for another day. Thirdly, it's incredibly malleable to adaptations and personalizations. For instance, Hitched showcased a range of chocolate wedding cakes from a single tier with a simple but elegant rose topping to naked layers with blackberries and fig, textured layers with greenery, drips, and swirls, and, finally, chocolate brownie stacks and mini gingerbread cakes. What's more, if you're a chocolate cake lover, you're likely to have specific favorites that you can simply ask to have tailored for a wedding.

1. Vanilla Cake

At first thought, vanilla might seem like one of — if not the most — boring flavors you could possibly choose for a wedding cake. But there's got to be something to it, particularly considering it's consistently been the most popular wedding cake flavor for decades. Whether we love vanilla because its scent is subtlely similar to that of breast milk, or think of it as brown or white, one thing is for sure: it holds a silent surety that cannot be thwarted or denied.

Of all the flavors listed here, Martha Stewart points out that vanilla can serve as the base for each. And if not the base, it can at least balance and elevate where needed, or just stand firmly on its own. You can decorate it with florals, fresh fruits, fondants, buttercreams, or glazes and still have it suit your theme. And if you want to make a statement, there are still watercolors, streusels, curds, etc. that will allow it to shine without being overpowering. In essence, you get to play it however you want to, which is perfect for an occasion that's all about you.