Autumn and Winter Wedding Cake Designs

Now, I know that when you pick your wedding cake design, you’re going to pick something in a style you love. You’re not going to think, “we’re getting married in December so need a Winter wedding cake”. However, there are lots of simple ways you can bring a wintry vibe to your wedding cake without going over the top. After all, a bright pink, tropical, flowery wedding cake with a backdrop of a wet and snowy day might not be the best combination. So here are my thoughts on embracing the seasons for Autumn and Winter wedding cakes…

Flavour Combinations

Autumn and Winter are made for rich, indulgent flavour combinations. Gone are the light fruity flavours of Summer, replaced instead with deeper flavours and heavier cakes. Rich chocolates and sticky caramels were made for Winter. So let’s dive into some of the flavours that people associate with Autumn and Winter that make perfect Autumn/Winter wedding cake flavours:

  • Autumn/Winter fruits – although you can find almost any fruit year-round in the supermarket now, when you look at what’s in season during Autumn and Winter, you won’t see many berries. Instead, you start to see apples, pears, plums, and blackberries. Think of all of the fruits you can forage and put into a crumble, and you have your Winter fruits. They taste brilliant in sponges, but are not the easiest flavours to turn into buttercreams
  • Citrus fruits – I spoke about citrus fruits being a really Summery flavour in my previous blog post. And the fabulous thing about citrus is that it also works for Winter too. Logically, that doesn’t fit, but as you move towards Winter, citrus flavours tend to be used with other flavours, like chocolate or spices. You also see a shift towards more of the orangey flavours like oranges, blood orange, mandarin, clementine and away from lemon and lime. I don’t know what came first, chocolate orange as a flavour or Terry’s, but chocolate orange is synonymous with Winter flavour. Citrus fruits make great sponge or buttercream flavourings
  • Spices – think of all the flavours you associate with Winter. Gingerbread, fruit cake, mulled wine, pumpkin spice lattes. They bring a deeper, richer flavour to the season, a little tickle to keep you warm on cold nights. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger are some of the most common flavours you’ll find in cakes over Winter. Spices can be combined with fruits, or used on their own to create lovely sponges and buttercreams
  • Chocolate – I think it’s a combination of the darker colour and deeper flavour, but chocolate is also a favourite in Autumn and Winter. On its own or paired with fruit, it makes for a lovely base flavour for cakes and is quite versatile. It pairs fantastically with pretty much every other flavour on this list
  • Caramel and toffee – I blame sticky toffee pudding for our association between Winter and caramel. Anything with caramel or toffee is calorific, rich and will definitely keep you full for a long time. I think that’s what our bodies want as the weather turns cold. Can be used for sponges, but is often easier to use for rich buttercreams and lavish drips
  • Nuts – nuts are a tricky one as I think people shy away from them with all of the allergies that people have nowadays. However, they really do make great Autumn/Winter wedding cake flavours as they have a rich, earthiness to their flavour. They bulk cakes out really well, and pair quite nicely with most other flavours. They can be used for sponges or buttercreams
  • Alcohol – Christmas parties are the season for festive wintry cocktails. Spirits like Bailey’s and Cointreau and drinks like mulled wine and coffee are suddenly everywhere. Our winter warmers. Not everyone likes an alcoholic wedding cake, but if you do, there are some amazing opportunities to make it seasonal here. A mulled wine wedding cake sounds absolutely amazing if you ask me! But some safer ideas include chocolate and Bailey’s, coffee and walnut or orange and Cointreau

Colour Combinations

When I have consultations with couples, I always talk about flavours first. Perhaps that’s just me as I think flavour is so important. However, when you start to think about the design of your cake, I actually think Autumn/Winter has so many more options in terms of colour. Here are some of the colour themes you might pull on for your Winter wedding cake:

  • Autumn leaves – yellow, orange and red. Not your bright sunshine yellows of Summer, but more muted mustard yellows. Any colour you see on a leaf makes a fantastic combination for Autumn/Winter wedding cakes. If you want to add a metallic to this, gold or copper are brilliant (although real copper leaf cannot be used as it is toxic)
  • Icy tones – white, blue and silver. Embrace the snowy vibes with white, blue and silver. You don’t have to decorate the cake with snowflakes, but you can create really classy wedding cake designs with simple icy colour schemes
  • Rich plums, reds and teals – inspired by the fruits of the season, you often find that Autumn and Winter wedding cakes take inspiration from dark blacks, plums, and burgundy. Again, you don’t have to go wild, but even a richly coloured ribbon would bring a little bit of Autumn or Winter to a wedding cake design
Green, Red and Gold Winter Wedding Colours
Icy Wedding Colour Inspiration
Royal Wedding Colour Inspiration

Semi-Naked Winter Wedding Cake Designs

Most people associate semi-naked cakes with Summer, you see some many decorated with abundant fruit decorations or fresh flowers. And they are beautiful. But, there are a number of skilled cake makers who will be able to create fruit and confectionery decorations to suit Autumn and Winter wedding cakes. In fact, it’s my favourite time to make semi-naked cakes as you can get really creative with the decorations you use – homemade praline, dried citrus wheels, frosted berries and natural spices.

If you don’t like the idea of all those fancy confectionery items, you can keep it simple with Autumn and Winter fruits such as apples, pears, blackberries, cranberries, clementines, figs, dates and plums.

Although I don’t recommend using fresh flowers (more info in this blog post) – you might even think about decorating around the cake with Autumn and Winter flowers like hellebore and poinsettia.


Fondant Winter Wedding Cake Designs

I love bas relief. It’s a technique where moulded decorations like flowers, birds, scrolls and beads are layered onto cakes to create stunning textures. Almost like a decorative wooden panel in an old building. I don’t get to do enough of it! When used in Summer, it looks amazing with bright colours. In Winter, it works so beautifully with a white on white effect.

If you love fruit, but don’t want a semi-naked cake, I really love Winter fruits with fondant cakes. In Summer, I don’t think the effect looks as amazing, but in Winter, with the darker, richer fruits popping against the pale white of the fondant, I think they go together perfectly. If fresh fruit doesn’t appeal to you, you can always ask you cake maker to include some wintry berries in a sugar flower cascade and embrace flowers like the sea holly.

Finally, Winter is a great excuse to use lustres and silver leaf. They ooze luxury and can be used to bring a little colour to a Winter wedding cake.

Autumn and Winter wedding cakes can be really special. They may not be as bright as Spring and Summer wedding cakes, but they can glisten and sparkle in a decadent, classic way. If icy tones aren’t your thing, Autumn and Winter are the best reason to pull out indulgent colours like burgundy and blackberry. Without a doubt, Winter weddings offer so many different design options as well as the opportunity to create confectionery like pralines and dried fruits. If you want to embrace Autumn or Winter with your wedding cake, please drop me a note. I’d love to hear from you! Good luck and happy planning.


With love from lila xx