Our Favorite Southern Cakes to Serve At Your Wedding
You have chosen your wedding gown and the venue has been reserved. Now for the delicious part: choosing a wedding cake! Ordering this sweet, towering confection from a bakery can run into a lot of money, making the wedding cake one of the most expensive items in your tight budget. If you are trying to stick to a budget or simply love to bake (or know someone who does), you might consider baking your own wedding cake. Instead of the complicated, over-the-top creations seen on reality TV shows, consider choosing a beloved Southern classic recipe and turning it into the showpiece of your wedding reception. Along with being simple to make, a homemade layer cake dressed up as a wedding cake is much easier on the budget. Besides, knowing that your grandmother or favorite aunt baked your Southern wedding cake will make it even more special. If you need something larger than a three-layer cake, there are also some options for the more ambitious baker, along with some creative wedding cake designs.
Red Velvet Cake Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
Perfect for an intimate winter ceremony, this red velvet cake with snowy white frosting transforms into a beautiful wedding cake.
Lemon Orange Chiffon Cake
This delightful cake is the ideal recipe for a spring wedding ceremony.
Recipe: Lemon-Orange Chiffon Cake
Triple-Decker Strawberry Cake
Strawberry cakes are a Southern springtime favorite. This delicious recipe has been transformed many times into a wedding cake for small spring ceremonies.
Recipe: Triple-Decker Strawberry Cake
Tiered Poppy Seed Wedding Cake
Whether you are planning a small wedding or an at-home reception, this recipe can be adjusted for the size of your crowd.
Recipe: Tiered Poppy Seed Wedding Cake
Bridesmaid Baby Cakes
Make your attendants feel extra-special by personalizing these adorable cakes with their initials. For a formal affair, use white-on-white frosting or monochromatic hues. Experiment with contrasting colors for a casual look.
Recipe: Bridesmaid Baby Cakes
Small Tiered Cluster Cakes
These small, tiered treats with 3-inch-round bases lend elegance to an intimate engagement party, tea, or dinner. The cake was cut into three graduated circles with biscuit cutters.
Recipe: Small Tiered Cluster Cakes
Master a Southern Classic: Hummingbird Cake
Thanks to Mrs. L.H. Wiggins of Greensboro, North Carolina, this pineapple-banana-spice cake with cream cheese frosting became one of our most requested recipes. It first appeared in Southern Living magazine in 1978, and we still stand by Mrs. Wiggins' original, indulgent, delicious creation. Although Mrs. Wiggins was the first person to introduce us to this now iconic cake, it has a Jamaican origin where it is called a Doctor Bird Cake.
The cooking process for our Hummingbird Cake is relatively simple. Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and ground cinnamon in a large bowl. Add eggs and oil, stirring just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in the vanilla, crushed pineapple, bananas, and one cup of toasted pecans. Divvy the batter up between three well-greased (with shortening) and floured round cake pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Once the cakes are removed from their pans, allow them to cool completely on wire racks for about an hour.
To begin assembling the cake, place one layer on a serving platter. Spread a cup of cream cheese frosting over the layer. Top with a second layer, spread frosting, then top with the third layer. Spread the remaining cream cheese frosting over the top and sides of the cake until it is completely covered. Sprinkle the top of the cake with the remaining cup of toasted pecans.
There is more than one way to get Hummingbird Cake flavor—check out our collection of Hummingbird Recipes. From pancakes to carrot cake, there is something here for everyone.
Apple Stack Cake
A wedding tradition in the Appalachians, guest would bring a cake layer to the wedding ceremony. The family added an apple filling between each layers. The more popular the bride, the higher the cake!
Recipe: Apple Stack Cake
Amaretto Cream Wedding Cake
Inspired by ribbons and lace and reminiscent of fine china, this beautiful cake will be the focal point of your wedding reception.
Recipe: Amaretto Cream Wedding Cake
Chocolate Cake IV
This reader-favorite has been baked as both a wedding cake and a groom’s cake. However you choose to use it at your ceremony, it will certainly be enjoyed by your guests.
Recipe: Chocolate Cake IV
Snowy Chocolate Baby Cakes
For a fun twist on the traditional Groom’s cake, serve these cute baby cakes.
Recipe: Snowy Chocolate Baby Cakes
White Cake with Bourbon Buttercream and Seven Minute Frosting
Top this cake with Sugar-Coated Orange Slices and Sparkling Cherries.
Spice Cake with Citrus Filling
Spice cakes were once very popular choices for wedding cakes. This recipe brings back the classic while adding a bright and delicious citrus filling. For extra beauty, use a kitchen torch to lightly brown the edges of the frosting, if desired.
Recipe: Spice Cake with Citrus Filling
The Lane Cake
The Lane Cake, featured in the March 1966 issue of Southern Living, has become a classic Southern specialty. This gorgeous rendition, with a peachy makeover and an unforgettable meringue frosting, will be as eye-catching as the bride.
Recipe: The Lane Cake
Coconut Chiffon Cake
Coconut is the doyenne of Southern layer cakes and, served as a wedding cake, this masterpiece will be right at home with your heirloom linens and silver.
Recipe: Coconut Chiffon Cake
35th Anniversary Hummingbird Cake
The Hummingbird Cake, first published by Southern Living back in 1978, quickly became a beloved favorite with Southern bakers. The delicious blend of spices and tropical fruits, along with a Creamed Cheese Custard Filling and Browned Butter Frosting, makes this an excellent choice for a wedding cake.