Best Single Tier Wedding Cake Ideas

For single-tier wedding cakes, presentation makes a big difference.

By Shira Telushkin

Best Single Tier Wedding Cake Ideas
Photo by Zola

The First Look ✨

  • The single-tier wedding cake can be just as memorable and stunning as multi-tiered cakes. A single tier wedding cake even can be more fun, if desired.
  • For your single-tier wedding cake, go big on the presentation. Think bold, bright, textured, and detailed.
  • You make have a single tier cake, but layers are still an option. Also consider going for a theme with your wedding cake, or having multiple single tier cakes.

The wedding cake is an iconic part of any wedding celebration and choosing the cake is an important part of the wedding planning process. Let Zola guide you through everything you need to consider and give you one layer cake decorating ideas before choosing your ideal wedding cake.

How to Decide on the Number of Wedding Cake Tiers

While a single cake tier has its advantages, there are some reasons to go with a more elaborate cake. For example, if the wedding cake is the main dessert at a large wedding, multiple tiers make it easier to ensure there’s enough cake for all the guests.

Multiple tiers also allow a couple to choose more than one type of flavor. A couple could have a chocolate cake with white icing on the bottom tier, a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting on the second tier, and a vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream on the third tier. A single wedding tier usually—though not always—is made of one flavor.

There’s also the question of customs. Over the years, many traditions have developed around the cutting and serving of the wedding cake, from having the couple place both hands of the knife to cut the first slice, to smashing a bit of cake into each other’s faces. There’s also the tradition of saving and freezing the top tier for the couple to enjoy on their one-year anniversary.

Of course, all of these traditions can be maintained with a one-tier cake—the couple can freeze a generous slice of cake instead of a self-enclosed tier—but if the traditions around the wedding cake are important to a couple, they might opt for the more traditional multiple tiers.

For most couples, however, a single-tier wedding cake is perfectly suitable. Perhaps your wedding is going to have multiple dessert options or a smaller guest list. Maybe you just don’t love cake or don’t love the massive style of many-tiered wedding cakes and would rather have a mini cake. Whatever your preferences, there are many single-tiered wedding cake ideas to love.

Single Tier Wedding Cake Ideas

Go Bright and Bold

The single-tier wedding cake might not have the same height and drama as a tiered cake, but there are many other ways to make your guests gasp. Consider a vivid, eye-catching frosting color for your cake. This might mean a bright turquoise cake with yellow piping or an elegant berry frosted cake with dark purple flowers. As many bakers have demonstrated, there’s no need to sacrifice drama just because you’re going with one layer. A vivid cake, like a rainbow cake, adds a pop of color and gorgeousness to any wedding celebration.

Add Texture

To keep your cake center stage, consider adding a little texture to the design. This might mean a contrasting colored ribbon wrapped around the base, intricate lace detail piped in chocolate buttercream frosting, or any other textured element your heart desires, from drip icing, to gold leaf, to studded edible jewels.

Think Elaborate Toppers

The single-tier wedding cake can handle more height without looking over-the-top. A beautiful topper, whether it’s a floral design made out of caramel or a traditional couple done in sugar, can add beauty to an already stunning cake. Creative designs can be made from many edible materials, including chocolate. The right topper might be something less traditional, such as a chocolate cage inverted over the cake. There’s also the option to add real flowers or fresh fruit to the top of the cake.

Go Big on Presentation

The presentation of your wedding cake can make all the difference in its appearance. For a single-tier cake, there are endless options for how to display it. You could place the cake on top of an inverted bowl or a large glass column filled with flowers. You could surround it with matching colored flowers or contrasting natural elements. Whatever you decide, consider placing your cake on top of (or in front of) something visually interesting.

No Design Too Detailed

The advantage of a single-tier wedding cake can be the opportunity to make the details sing. This might mean a hand-painted icing design around the cake, with delicate brush strokes in multiple colors or intricate nature scenes. Some couples opt for an ombre icing design down the sides or even verses from a favorite poem.

Layers Remain an Option

You might be doing one tier, but that doesn’t have to mean one layer. Many single-tier wedding cakes include several layers of cake and frosting within each slice. If multiple tiers isn’t for you, but you want some of the height, then consider a wedding cake with several layers. For couples undecided on flavors, you might even be able to include multiple flavors within a single tier.

Thematic Cakes

The single-tier wedding cake is less traditional, which opens up more options for a couple who wants to have fun with their cake. Think about making your cake on theme with the rest of your wedding. A destination wedding cake, for example, could be designed to look like a beach or the shape of an iconic building in the wedding’s location. Musicians could serve a wedding cake designed with musical symbols. The couple who loves to go riding together could top their cake with a dramatic horse. Since the wedding cake is served after the main festivities, a thematic wedding cake is a great opportunity to introduce some less formal fun and joy.

Multiple Cakes

Some couples don’t want that traditional large wedding cake, but aren’t looking to downsize the amount of cake altogether. In that case, the ideal option might be to have multiple single-tier cakes displayed at slightly different heights and with complementing designs.

The single-tier wedding cake is an ideal solution for a couple that wants a beautiful wedding cake, but not the waste, expense, or even formality that goes with a traditional three-tiered cake. While it might be smaller, the single-tier cake does not have to be any less stunning or memorable. These Zola one layer cake decorating ideas will guide you towards your perfect, single-tiered wedding cake!

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