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Wedding Cake Alternatives: What Sweets to Serve if You Don’t Like Cake

April 12, 2019

If you’ve been following my wedding photography for any length of time, you probably know that I’m very much of the mindset that you should do what you want at your wedding.  If you’d never been to a wedding before and were just throwing a party for your friends and family to celebrate your commitment to your person, what would it look like?  Would you wear a white dress?  Do you think you’d want to toss the garter?  Would you… serve cake?

That’s the topic of today’s post.  I’ve had some couples tell me that neither of them like cake, but feel like they’re “supposed to” serve it at their wedding because cutting the cake is tradition.  Well, today I want to share some pretty cool wedding cake alternatives we’ve seen!  If you don’t like cake, there are a ton of other great options for serving sweets at your wedding!

1. Brigadeiros

I’d never heard of Gourmet Brigadeiros until this day, but let me tell you: they’re wonderful!  It’s a Brazilian sweet and you can think of it like a truffle covered in something crunchy, like sprinkles.  The baker here, Le Atelier Du Brigadeiro, put them in cute holders that looked like flowers!

Wedding Cake Alternatives

2. Brownies.

Everyone loves brownies, right?!?  That makes them a great option for wedding cake alternatives!

Serve Brownies instead of wedding cake

Heather & Will served cake, brownies (you can see them as “rocks” under their FJ), and cupcakes.

Couple serves brownies along with the traditional wedding cake

3. Brownie Sundae

Luci and Evan had a multiple layered brownie in the form of a cake.  After they cut it, ice cream was brought out, along with various toppings.  Guests were able to build their own Brownie Sundae and it was a hit!

Brownie Sundae Bar at wedding for couples who don't like cake

4. Ice Cream

Ice Cream is always a great treat on summer days!  If you’re having an outdoor ceremony, dinner, or dance party, think about serving ice cream instead of cake at your wedding.  Amy’s Ice Cream can set up an ice cream bar (like they did here for Erin and Kyle) or you can have someone bring individual servings of different ice cream flavors.

Wedding Cake Alternatives: Ice Cream

You can also bring out an ice cream truck, like the 1964 Good Times Austin ice cream truck, and reminisce of your childhood!  That’s what these two did and guests loved being able to pick their own favorite!  I second shot this wedding for Jessica Frey last July.  The owner of the truck told me her favorite was the Butter Pecan, so that’s what I tried!

Good Times Austin ice cream truck at Pecan Springs Ranch weddingCool alternatives to wedding cake: Ice Cream Truck

5. Donuts

Speaking of food trucks, you could have Gourdough’s come out to treat your guests to their crazy-creative menu of amazing donuts!  That’s just what Andy and Sierra did!

Best Alternative to wedding cake in Austin is Gourdough's Donuts food truck

Ginnie and Matt also brought in donuts, but in a different way.  Instead of a food truck, The Cupcake Bar brought out a build-your-own Doughnut Bar.  Guests picked their flavor, filling, and toppings.

Donut Bar serves as wedding cake alternativeCouple ditches wedding cake for donut bar

Dana and Chase included Round Rock Donuts on their dessert table.  These donuts are world-famous and did not last long once they were put out on display.  They also included bundt cakes, but that’s the next option of alternatives to wedding cake.

Round Rock Donuts is a popular alternative to traditional wedding cake

6. Bundt Cakes

Nothing Bundt Cakes can make full size or mini bundt cakes.  Wedding guests like having the option of picking flavors, so the minis are a great option!

Couple skips wedding cake and replaces it with Nothing Bundt Cakes in mini versions

7. Cookies

More often than not, if we see cookies at a wedding, they’re also displayed with another sweet.  You could totally do a cookie bar with nothing else though!  Order your top five flavors and call it good!  Here, you’ll see two flavors of cookies with Round Rock Donuts and APPLE FRITTERS!!  I’m gonna consider Apple Fritter as part of donuts, but it could be it’s own option.  Dylan about drooled when he saw fritters and kept threatening to take them before the ceremony even started.  I’m still not sure if he did or not – Apple Fritters from Round Rock Donuts may be his all time favorite sweet and he doesn’t usually like sweets.

Tara and Evan served sugar cookies representing their rival sports team next to their wedding cake.

Ashley and Sean had a cake table and a sweets table.  The sweets table had cookies, candy, donut holes, and lots of different flavors from Round Rock Donuts.

Maranda and Jared had all the things!  They had a wedding cake, groom’s cake, cupcakes, a hot chocolate bar, cookies, s’mores, and these pretzel turtles.  I’m all about that sweet tooth life and I know their guests loved having so many options.  They even had strawberries for healthy sweets, if guests wanted.

Chris and Mandy brought out “midnight snacks” in the form of cookies.  They also had cupcakes for guests and that’s the next alternative to wedding cakes.

8. Cupcakes

Cupcakes are probably the most popular replacement to wedding cake.  They’re still cake with icing, so it’s a very close alternative.  The bonus to cupcakes is that most places don’t charge you for extra flavors, like you typically are for different flavors in a wedding cake. It’s less expensive to make a few cupcakes gluten free or vegan, if your guests have dietary concerns, than it is to make a full cake gluten free or vegan.  Guests have more options in flavors and the cupcakes take up more space on a display table.  That means, there’s a larger wow factor for the display and a cute factor for their tiny size.  No one has to physically stand there to cut and serve the cake, either, so guests can access the sweets faster, which means they’re on the dance floor faster.

Cupcakes displayed in tea cups replace the traditional wedding cake at Old Glory Ranch in Wimberley

Jessica and Spenser’s wedding at Vista West Ranch had four different cupcake flavors to chose from.

Vista West Ranch Wedding Photographer shares the cupcake alternative to traditional wedding cake

Yes, you can always get a small cutting cake made, if you still want something to cut together for pictures.

Sweet Treets Bakery wedding cake at Vista West RanchPink and White cupcake display at Horseshoe Bay Resort Wedding

Amberley and Parker had The Cupcake Bar set up a build-your-own cupcake.  They brought in a few different flavors of cupcake and guests were able to pick their own icing, filling, and topping.

The Cupcake Bar interactive wedding dessert bar at Lone Oak BarnAntler themed wedding at The Creek Haus with mini cupcakes dessert station with vintage frames 

Along with their cake, Amanda and John had cupcakes and mini fried pies, which you can see in the right image below.

What to serve instead of wedding cake: mini fried pies

9. Pies

Pies are another popular option that guests love having!  You can have traditional pie and slice it or you can bring in mini-pies.  Either way, you can have whatever flavors you want and guests get to pick their own!  Here, Kyle’s grandmother baked him his favorite to serve at his wedding.

Wedding Cake Alternatives: pieBride and Groom serve pie instead of wedding cake

I love that Courtney and Brian had forks attached to individual pies for guests to enjoy at their Addison Grove wedding.

Beth and Juston served mini-pies in mason jars.  One wasn’t pie, but Peach Cobbler.  They even had chocolate covered strawberries served with the groom’s cake.

10. S’mores

We’re frequently at ranch wedding venues or beautiful barn venues.  That means there is usually space for a fire pit.  Fire pits mean your guests can enjoy s’mores.  You can serve them during the night or package them up as favors.  I think guests enjoy having an activity that isn’t just dancing on wedding days.  If you have a beautiful Texas sky above and a fire pit available, s’mores are a fun addition to weddings. Some venues even allow small burners to be used inside or in a cocktail area.

11.  Banana Pudding

This is my dad’s favorite dessert and I think we’ve only seen banana pudding at one wedding.  I believe the bride’s sister made it because it was the groom’s favorite dessert.  Everyone in the family went for the banana pudding since it was a family favorite recipe.  It’s 100% ok to bring in family favorites!  My grandma made a coffee punch for our wedding!

12.  Cotton Candy

This was served at cocktail hour, but many guests went back for some cotton candy after dinner.  You don’t often see cotton candy available, so it’s different and rare.

13. Cheesecake

This dessert table has wedding cake, mini pies, mini strawberry shortcakes, and mini cheesecakes.  The cheesecakes are the rare item seen pictured here.  My sister did a large display of full-size cheesecake at her wedding.  They picked them up from Saltgrass Steakhouse.

14. Waffles

Waffles are pretty much desserts served at breakfast, right? Taylor Made Sweets made this awesome waffle cake for Christian and Logan’s wedding at CW Hill Country Ranch.  I’ve never seen another one done, but I wish I would!  You could set up different toppings/fruits to serve with it for an interactive station for guests.  People will talk about this because they’ve probably never seen it done before!

Waffle Cake at Wedding covered in strawberries

15. Petit Fours

These are French confectionaries.  The name means “small oven” and are bite-sized sweets.  These were made by Simon Lee Bakery.

Petit Fours at Austin Wedding by Simon Lee Bakery     

16. Lollipops.

Flour & Fig made these beautiful lollipops.  You can have them waiting for guests at each place setting or set up a fun lollipop bar.  They can match your wedding colors, too, for an extra fun decoration!

Flour and Fig lollipops served at weddings

17. Cake Balls

Austin Cake Ball made this beautiful display of cake balls for Mark and Maria’s Twisted Ranch Wedding. There were three different flavors.  Guests had the option of Red Velvet, Strawberry, or Salted Caramel.

18. Macarons

These french sweets are much lighter than most desserts.  If you’re in the Georgetown area and want to try them, head over to Woops!

Of course, if you love cake, by all means, serve wedding cake!

Madera Estates wedding Photographer

My favorite weddings are the ones where you can see the personality of the couple shine through!  That includes the dessert!  If you don’t like cake, here’s permission to serve something different.  Hopefully, you found some inspiration to wedding cake alternatives!

– Mylah Renae

Wedding Cake Alternatives



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