Short and sweet: small wedding cakes that are big on style and taste

With intimate weddings on the cards for the foreseeable future, Scotland’s wedding cake experts reveal how to make your wee cake small but mighty

Liggy Cake Company pampas grass cake and dessert table
Liggy’s Cake Company‘s dessert table puts small cakes and treats front and centre

How much cake do you actually need?

“A single-tier cake will give around 30 portions and a two-tier cake around 45,” says Laura Japp of Lanarkshire bakery Jappacakes. While guest numbers are limited, you might think one tier is the obvious choice, but there’s more to it than that… 

If you want to go big regardless…

“Our cakes are made with fresh ingredients and are never frozen ahead of the wedding,” advises Laura. “If you can’t imagine getting married without a proper, bigger, tiered wedding cake but only have a few guests, there’s no reason not to freeze the leftovers!”

You might also consider asking your cake maker to include a dummy cake tier, giving you the height and look of a larger cake with fewer leftovers.

Cake Couture by Caroline small buttercream cake and Lana-lou Bakes cakescicles
Left: Cake Couture by Caroline (Photo: NC Photography); Right: Cakescicles by Lana-lou Bakes

Cost isn’t just reliant on cake size

“My smaller cakes start from £70, but design does play a big part in your final cake price,” says Alanna Sinclair from Fraserburgh-based Lana-lou Bakes. “Sugar flowers, ruffles or any other intricate, hand-finished details will add to the price of the cake,” adds Alanna. A smaller cake with all the design-y bells and whistles might not be any cheaper than a simpler, two-tiered cake, so bear this in mind when settling on a size. 

Cake Couture by Caroline orange geometric small wedding cake
A bold geometric wee cake inspired by the Forth Rail Bridge by Cake Couture by Caroline (Photo: NC Photography)

Big on flavour

An obvious advantage of multi-tier cakes is that they give you room for more flavours. Most bakers suggest sticking to one flavour per tier, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be adventurous. “Don’t discount mixing flavours within a single tier,” says Kate Archer from Gorgeously Sweet Cake Emporium in Aberdeenshire, who, this summer, made a single-tier cake with alternating layers of chocolate and vanilla sponges, salted caramel sauce and salted caramel buttercream.

“Speak to your cake maker, who will be the best person to advise which flavours are complementary. Listen to them if they tell you the ones you’d like aren’t going to work: mixing flavours can be done, but only in a very certain way,” cautions Kate.

Colourful pink and unusual wedding cakes by The Bluebird Cake Company, Ruby and Pearl Cake Art and Lana-lou Bakes
From left: The Bluebird Cake Company, Ruby and Pearl Cake Art and Lana-lou Bakes

Pass the taste test – socially distanced

If you’re currently forced to limit your travel owing to Covid restrictions, don’t worry: most cake makers can bring the tasting experience to you. “At the moment, I am sending out tasting boxes by post,” says Caroline Calder from Fife’s Cake Couture by Caroline. 

Small wedding cakes by The Bluebird Cake Company and Gorgeously Sweet Cake Emporium
Left: The Bluebird Cake Company; Right: Gorgeously Sweet Cake Emporium

If you’re having to downsize your cake…

“There will always be elements from a larger cake that can be scaled down and the design simplified to suit your needs, so discuss this with your cake maker,” says Caroline.

Have fun with colour

“It’s easier to have a small amount of a big colour, so don’t be afraid to use this to your advantage and make your cake really stand out,” suggests Kate.

Wedding cakes by Gorgeously Sweet Cake Emporium, Jappacakes and Ruby and Pearl Cake Art
From left: small cakes by Gorgeously Sweet Cake Emporium, Jappacakes and Ruby and Pearl Cake Art

Finishing touches bring impact

“Pampas grass, palm spears and bunny tails all give height and finish off a small cake beautifully,” enthuses Alanna at Lana-lou Bakes.

For a classic look, Laura Japp recommends using fresh flowers on a single-tier cake, which, when matched to your bouquet and other florals, can tie together different elements of your wedding impeccably.

Cake Couture by Caroline small pink ombre wedding cake and Rosewood Cakes stencilled fern and gold leaf small wedding cake
Left: Cake Couture by Caroline; Right: Rosewood Cakes (Photo: Ross Alexander)

Taking centre stage

When the wedding rolls around, please don’t allow your bake to be abandoned on any old table in the corner; with a little bit of thought, your cake can become a focal point of the room.

“‘Cake staging’ is the industry term for making sure the cake is shown off in all its glory,” explains Claire Davidson from Liggy’s Cake Company, which has branches in Stockbridge and Bearsden.

“We’re launching a collection of Sweet Treat Table Packages which are the perfect way to really show off your cake and treat your chosen few guests to an array of delicious accompanying treats.” 

Extra goodies and a high-impact look no matter your cake size: frankly, what more could you want?

Small wedding cakes by Gorgeously Sweet Cake Emporium, Jappacakes and The Bluebird Cake Company
From left: wee cakes by Gorgeously Sweet Cake Emporium, Jappacakes, The Bluebird Cake Company and Gorgeously Sweet Cake Emporium