POPSUGAR Celebrity

15 Wedding Desserts to Try in Lieu of a Classic Cake

Feb 27 2015 - 10:00am

Grandiose wedding cakes [1] will always have their place at some receptions, but more and more, couples are opting for alternative desserts to serve their guests. Cupcake towers, macarons, minidessert buffets, doughnuts, and cake-pop stands are just a few trending desserts circulating the American wedding [2] scene.

— Additional reporting by Aemilia Madden

Source: Focus Photography [3] via Green Wedding Shoes [4], Bayly & Moore [5] via 100 Layer Cake [6], Jennifer Morrow Photography [7] via Style Me Pretty [8], Love Me Do Photography [9] via Green Wedding Shoes [10], and Lisa Vorce [11] via Style Me Pretty [12]

Cheese Cake

For some couples, there is no better after-dinner treat than a rich, creamy, stinky cheese. Cheekily pay homage to the classic layer cake by stacking a variety of wheels.

Photo by Love Me Do Photography [13] via Green Wedding Shoes [14]

Strawberry Shortcake Jars

Put pretty much any dessert in a mason jar and it looks adorable; this cute layered serving style works for everything from cakes to puddings to summery strawberry shortcake. While they may not be quite as grand as a cake, neat rows of mason jars are bound to catch guests' eyes.

Photo by Lisa Vorce [15] via Style Me Pretty [16]

Pancake Station

Sure, pancakes may not be a dessert per se, but this fluffy brunch staple has become a true wedding [17] day trend. Buttermilk pancakes [18] add a homey touch to more casual ceremonies.

Photo by Ely Fair Photography [19] via Green Wedding Shoes [20]


Guests love a dessert that they can put together themselves, and classic s'mores offer a nostalgic touch, plus they taste great. If the real deal seems a bit messy for the big day, there are plenty of s'mores-inspired desserts [21] to fill the sticky-sweet void.

Photo by John + Louise Photography [22] via Style Me Pretty [23]

Rustic Pie Table

If you're on team pie (vs. team cake), put your love for this homey dessert on display. Some couples are even stacking tiers of pie in lieu of cake; it's a rustic idea, perfect for a wedding [24] in a rural setting.

Photo by
Laura Nelson Photography
[25] via Style Me Pretty [26]

Wedding Cake Pop

If you love cake but would prefer a wedding [27] dessert that's a touch more playful, consider the cake pop. These moist desserts are dipped in a candy shell for an extrasinful sweetness and are an excellent alternative.

Photo by Jennifer Morrow Photography [28] via Style Me Pretty [29]

Miniature Dessert Buffets

Many modern weddings choose to go with a buffet of minidesserts such as petite pies, cupcakes, and puddings; guests can pick their favorite from the spread.

Photo by Focus Photography [30] via Green Wedding Shoes [31]

Whoopie Pies

The miniature trend also includes whoopie pies, where traditional cupcake flavors such as red velvet dominate.

Photo by Scott Clark Photo [32] via 100 Layer Cake [33]

Tuxedo Cookies

Rather than pay for a separate groom's cake, offer guests tuxedo iced cookies.

Source: Flickr user Cake Girl by Hyeyoung Kim [34]


If you've been bitten by the macaron bug, opt to include a colorful macaron tower. These petite desserts add elegance to any reception.

Photo by Bayly & Moore via 100 Layer Cake [35]


A croquembouche [36] — basically, puff pastries stacked in a tower and drizzled with caramel — is a stunning wedding [37] cake alternative. The puffs are popping up in weddings and bridal magazines everywhere.

Photo by Laura Novak Photography [38] via Style Me Pretty [39]

Doughnut Display

Gourmet doughnuts and beignets are appearing on dessert menus across the nation, changing the reputation of this inexpensive breakfast bite to a coveted white tablecloth dinner (and thereby wedding [40]) dessert.

Photo by Still Musician [41] via 100 Layer Cake [42]

Cupcake Towers

Cupcakes seem like they are here to stay. Many brides opt to have a small cake on the top tier of a cupcake tower in order to participate in the cutting-of-the-cake tradition.

Photo by Vicki Bartel [43] via Style Me Pretty [44]

Fruit Tarts

Take it from this couple, who got married on the Amalfi Coast [45], and celebrate the occasion with an Italian fruit tart.

Iced Belgian Waffle Cake

Draw inspiration from this rustic wedding [46] and serve up stacks of iced Belgian waffles.

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