Having a garden wedding? The setting can determine a lot, like location, attire, and activities. So of course it’s important to carry the theme through to your catering. To get a better idea of mouthwatering cake ideas that tie into a garden theme, we reached out to a handful of bakers for their best takes on garden wedding cakes.
Dream Cakes has been a wedding cake mainstay in Portland, Oregon for over 25 years. When crafting cakes, owner Johannah Zuniga has used everything from dried flowers to herbs and fresh berries. “If you want the cake to stick to the theme, the design is the way to go. If someone came to me with a ‘garden-themed’ event, I'd use edible flowers and ‘grass/moss’ made out of graham crackers and coconut flakes. I'd make it look natural and organic,” she says.
In terms of flavor, try something like white butter with lemon curd and fresh berries, says Zuniga. To procure the fresh berries, “we go to the markets every weekend, so all fresh produce will be from a local garden.”
John Hensley of Lark Cake Shop in Los Angeles and Pasadena echoes the sentiments of leaning into fresh berries and fruits of all kinds. “Garden themes tend to happen in the spring and summer, so the most popular flavors for a wedding cake are fruit-based or filled with fresh berries. On our menu, the berry shortcake and lemon key lime would be great options for a garden-themed wedding.”
“There's nothing better decoration-wise on a cake for a garden-themed wedding than fresh flowers,” says Hensley. “It's budget-friendly and looks amazing. In terms of the look of the actual cake icing, the majority of the garden-themed weddings we do are either semi-naked (which is where you see some cake peeking out behind the icing) or textured. Rustic wedding flower looks are most popular for a garden wedding. Typically you don't see anything too formal in a garden-themed wedding.”
Located in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, Ladybird Bakery has been crafting custom wedding cakes for nearly a quarter of a century. Owner and lead baker Melanie Louise Clemens specializes in creating classic recipes to suit whatever tastebuds or theme a couple has in mind for their wedding day. “Some ideas are cake with strawberry jam on the inside and rosemary as a decorative element—they taste so great together.” Another option? “Buttercream flavored with lavender or rosemary is good.”
As already noted, cake design is a key element of nailing a garden-themed wedding cake. “People have been using wood as a pedestal, which is a nice garden earthy touch,” says Clemens.
Pastry chef Jenean Carlton of Carlton’s cakes in Atlanta says you can find a heightened romance by pairing your cake design with a theme.” Consider the aesthetics of a secret garden themed-wedding with a cake to match,” she says. “I love the idea of ivy leaves and moss, all sugar-based, rambling along cake tiers.”
The theme isn’t the only way to add extra enchantment, says Carlton. “Some brides opt for watercolor-style buttercream finishes on their cakes. This effect is especially beautiful with pastel colors. A slight whisper of color along iced tiers is dreamy, particularly when the color fades out and vanishes into white or ivory buttercream.”
You can also channel color through flowers, taking additional inspiration from the seasons, says Carlton. “When it comes to color, spring wedding cakes or summer garden-themed wedding cakes look best with pastel colors and might include hydrangeas, peonies, roses, and small white flowers like lilies of the valley. Conversely, cakes created for fall weddings could include deeply pigmented sugar-based fondant flowers, such as roses, dahlias, and ranunculus.”
So how can you best bring this to life? “All of the colors of the wedding should flow well together—and this includes the interior colors of the cake as well as the exterior,” explains Carlton. “Be sure to discuss all of the details of your wedding, including color choices and floral designs, with your pastry chef or cake artist. Your wedding cake serves as an artistic focal point for your wedding. Having an understanding of the wedding colors and details allows your cake artist to create a cake that will not only be delicious but will also be a beautiful design that matches your wedding theme.”
Think big when it comes to the cake for your garden-themed wedding. Bringing the theme to life in your cake opens up numerous possibilities from presentation to taste, mood, and more. There are so many unique flavor profiles you can achieve with this theme. There’s no doubt you can create a slice that you’ll be excited to retrieve from your freezer once you reach your first anniversary.