Wedding Cake Tips

wedding cakes

Wedding Cake Tips (cont.)

Wedding Cake Glossary Learn the language of cake

By Roxanne Webber


Tiered/Stacked: Layers stacked on top of one another in diminishing sizes to create a classic-looking wedding cake.

Spaced/Raised Tiers: A tiered cake with space between each layer. Usually utilizes a plate-and-pillar stand.

Floating Tiers: A tiered cake that uses a special stand to separate the tiers without pillars.


Rolled Fondant: A thick and pliable sugar paste (like an edible Play-Doh). It’s what gives cakes a supersmooth matte finish and a slightly rounded appearance, and is what you’ll see on most “magazine” wedding cakes. It can be tinted with intense colors, and stands up well in hot outdoor settings. Fondant is often used to make drapes and other decorations. It’s not known for being tasty, however.

Marzipan: A paste made out of almonds and sugar. Strongly flavored, it can be colored, rolled thinly, and used to cover a cake. It can also be molded into fruit or other shapes.

French Buttercream: A rich, light-bodied frosting made by beating boiling sugar syrup with egg yolks, then whipping in butter.

Italian Buttercream: A very light, fluffy frosting made by whipping butter into an Italian meringue (egg whites whipped with hot sugar syrup).


Ganache: Similar to what you’d find in a truffle, this is a somewhat soft filling made from a mix of chocolate and cream. Sometimes it’s also poured over a cake while still warm to form a glaze.

Mousse: A light, airy filling made with whipped cream folded into fruit, chocolate, or other flavorings. It’s usually stabilized with gelatin.

Bavarian: Not as fluffy as a mousse, this consists of a custard base (usually flavored with fruit) folded into whipped cream, and also stabilized with gelatin.

Pastry Cream: A custard thickened with flour or other starches. It’s what classically fills éclairs and cream puffs, and is almost always flavored with vanilla, chocolate, or coffee.


Gumpaste and Pastillage: Sugar pastes used to form flowers and other edible decorations that dry very hard.

Pulled Sugar: A method for making glassy-looking decorations out of sugar. On wedding cakes it’s often used to create ribbons. It’s made by melting sugar and pulling and folding it before it cools.

Swiss Dots: Decorative dots of icing piped onto a cake

Basket Weave: A piping technique that gives the appearance of woven frosting, like a basket.


Génoise: A lightly textured yet rich cake made with eggs and butter.

Sponge Cake: A very light cake that contains no butter and is leavened only by beaten egg whites.

Butter Cake: A lighter relative of the pound cake; richer and denser than génoise or sponge.

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