Wedding cakes come in a range of shapes, flavors and sizes, including the traditional stacked wedding design or tiered cake, fruit-filled cake, individual cupcakes, and many more. A cake can be a single layer, multiple stacks or even double-barrel stacks. Common flavors include vanilla, chocolate, red velvet, marble and strawberry with fondant, marzipan or buttercream frosting. Cakes can be decorated by cake artists and bakers to match any wedding theme or color palette. Several factors affect the average cost of a wedding cake including the size of the cake, the ingredients, the number of tiers, the delivery location, any special flavors or decorations, and more.
Number of servings
Most bakers price wedding cakes by the slice. The number of guests invited to the wedding — or the number of cake servings—directly affects the cost. Bake My Day Baking in Dallas, Texas, charges $2.50-$8 per slice, based on the complexity, size and design of the cake. Specialty cakes, custom cakes, couture cakes or layer cakes generally cost more.
The price per slice for a wedding cake may increase if the customer requests a special color that the baker must custom-create for the frosting or cake batter. More exotic colors, like edible gold color or edible gold leaf, or more intricate color schemes, such as multicolored tiers with sugar flowers, will also increase the cost per slice.
Tall cakes are in. They’re elegant and creative, and offer a snazzy twist on tradition. In 2016 and 2017, 80 percent of couples wanted a layer cake at their wedding and 57 percent wanted at least three layers. Bakers use the term "double barrel cakes" to describe two cakes that are stacked to look like a single elongated layer when covered in fondant or decorative cake icing. Tall cakes are more complex to create, and the extended tiers provide more room for decoration.
Ingredients and cake flavor
Bakers can create almost any flavor combination you can dream up. Wedding cakes with multiple layers that are each a different flavor, or with multiple filling options, will typically cost more per slice than a cake with a simpler flavor combination or with standard flavors like vanilla, chocolate or red velvet. Also, cakes with organic, gluten-free or exotic ingredients will also generally cost more per slice than standard cakes. One way to offer flavor options without driving up costs is to provide multiple mini-cakes in addition to a large one. A current popular flavor is vanilla white chocolate, featuring a moist vanilla cake filled with a fluffy white chocolate mousse and topped with a white chocolate Italian meringue buttercream icing.
Buttercream and fondant are the two most common wedding cake frostings. For couples looking to save, buttercream frosting almost always costs less per slice than fondant. Fondant usually needs to be poured over a layer of buttercream, so the baker is actually making and applying two layers of frosting when using fondant. Here are some frosting price examples:
Specialty Cakes by Amanda in North Richland Hills, Texas:
$3.50+ per slice for wedding cake with buttercream frosting
- $5+ per slice for wedding cake with fondant frosting
Sweet Confections Cakes in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania:
$4+ per slice for wedding cake with buttercream frosting
- $6+ per slice for wedding cake with fondant frosting
Having the cake delivered to the reception site is another factor in the total cost of a wedding cake. Sweet Confections Cakes charges $50-$195 for delivery. Delivery in expensive locations like New York City, New Jersey or Brooklyn may be considerably more than in more suburban areas. Cake delivery and setup takes coordination. Complex cakes are often assembled after delivery, so verify with the venue that there’s a set space for cake assembly. Make sure air conditioning settings are adequate for a cake to stand on display for several hours. Determine whether the cake will need to be refrigerated between delivery and setup; for example, ice cream filling or super soft cream cheese will melt in heat. Be sure to connect your wedding coordinator or day-of point person with your bakery so they can plan.
If you have a supertall cake, there will be a cake plate and dowels for support in the bottom and middle of the cake. When slicing, cut the top 4 inches of the cake, then remove the plate and dowels and continue to cut the bottom half of the cake to serve. Better bakers can offer guidance to your serving team on how to best present and serve the cake.
As soon as you book your wedding venue, you should consider booking your baker as well. This may seem extreme, but boutique bakeries often limit themselves to one wedding cake per date, just as many venues only host one wedding per day. A popular baker will require at least four months of lead time, although many bakers offer a rush service for an additional fee.
Most bakers recommend paying for cake delivery, especially for a tall cake with multiple layers or elaborate decoration. That way the money spent on the cake isn’t lost when a nonprofessional attempts to move or assemble the pieces.
- Bakers may offer lower-cost wedding cakes for budget weddings. Sweet Confections Cakes offers a simple white cake with white frosting starting at $3.50 per serving to accommodate budget-conscious brides and grooms.