Wedding Cakes – a glossary of terms

Dec 13, 2018

Wedding Cake Glossary

Don’t know your sugar paste from your fondant or your layers from your tiers?
Wedding cake terms can be confusing. If you’re about to plan your wedding cake or meet with your potential cake maker, get clued up on these terms to help you know what you want from your wedding cake be it traditional or a more modern alternative.


The visible different-sized sections of a cake which are traditionally stacked on top of each other ranging from smaller at the top, to larger on the bottom.


Inside each tier there will be layers of sponge alternating with cake filling which will be either ganache, buttercream or cream

Royal Icing

Royal icing

A strong white icing which is used to precision pipe details onto traditional cakes, create writing and also used as a strong edible glue to hold tiers together. Royal icing was also traditionally used to cover fruit cakes.


A malleable paste which is rolled out and used to cover a cake for a smooth and even looking finish. Also known as sugar paste.



A mixture of butter and sugar which is used as a cake filling and on the outside of a buttercream cake such as a semi named cake. It can also be used to create other textured effects, can be piped into shapes like flowers and can be coloured to create ombre or water colour effects.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

A mixture of butter, eggs and sugar which is whisked and heated to the point that the eggs are slowly cooked creating a light buttery meringue cake filling and covering.


The term used for cakes that are lighter and more airy than a traditionally more dense cake like fruit cake.

Fruit cake

A traditional cake usually made for Christmas and as a more traditional wedding cake which is soaked in brandy can be kept for long periods of time. The top tier of a traditional fruit wedding cake would be kept until being served at the
christening of the couple’s first child.


An almond based malleable paste traditionally used to cover and preserve fruit cake. A layer of either royal or fondant icing would then be used on top of this so that the marzipan acts as a glue.

Chocolate ganache

Chocolate ganache

Now takes the place of marzipan in more modern wedding cake making. Milk, white or dark chocolate is heated with cream and then cooled and whipped to create a cream which dries solid and forms sharp edges onto which fondant can be placed and shaped. Can also be used as a cake filling.

Cake board

The flat board onto which a cake is placed to keep it stable.

Cake stand

A raised pedestal or platter style stand on to which a cake is placed to display it and give it more height.

Cake topper

A decoration which is placed on the top of a cake which could be a model of the couple, text cut from acrylic or card, flowers or a modern chocolate sculpture.

Sugar flowers

Sugar paste which is molded into the shape of realistic looking flowers used to decorate wedding cakes.

Wafer paper decorations

An edible paper used to create shapes and decorations used to decorate modern wedding and celebration cakes. Sometimes referred to as rice paper.

If you’ve got any more questions about wedding cake terms, or anything to do with wedding cakes for that matter, get in touch and tell me all about your wedding plans. Can’t wait to hear from you!
K xx

About the writer and cake enthusiast…

Hi! I’m Katie and I have been fully cake obsessed since, forever…

Malarkey Cakes is built on a mixture of all my passions. My work is inspired by my background in art and design and I’m honoured to make wedding cakes for couples in love in London and the South East.

I’m passionate about blogging to share my knowledge and give guidance on the ins and out of ordering a wedding cake, making the most of it and making sure it gets the attention it deserves. I also share my tips on wedding planning and team up with fellow suppliers I am lucky enough to work with and who I highly recommend.

When I’m not designing, making or eating cake, you’ll find me trying out new food in London’s amazing restaurants, drinking great coffee, taking in stunning architecture, on long walks, smashing a decent weights workout or exploring the world.

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