1. Centerpiece Cakes — "The big trend right now is centerpiece cakes," says Anna Weisend, owner of The Grand Finale in Euclid. "Instead of buying one big cake, each table has one small cake. It's the centerpiece and also the dessert. The guests usually get a little bigger portion and it saves the cost of buying both a cake and flower arrangements."
2. Individuality — "People want something more individual," says Weisend. "They're getting away from plain cakes and going with something that goes with their themes and says something about them. They're going a little more fun."
3. Color — "What I'm seeing is color: Whimsy cakes [are] definitely something that is still happening," says Becky Rink, owner of About the Cake in Avon. "I see a lot of vibrant color and a lot of color in flowers."
4. Chocolate — "People are going with more all-chocolate cakes, even on the outside," says Weisend. Other brides incorporate both white cake and chocolate cake into their designs. "It's very rare that I'd do a whole cake in just white cake," agrees Rink.
5. Bold filling flavors — "They're looking for more exotic flavors," says Weisend, who does a B-52 cake that uses Bailey's, Grand Marnier and Kahlua around chocolate cake. Rink sees cassatta, raspberry swirl and chocolate as more popular flavors now.
6. A variety of flavors — "I have 33 flavors, so it makes it really easy to make a different flavor for each tier," says Rink. Fran Chizmar, bakery supervisor for Catalano's in Highland Heights, incorporates a variety of flavors into one cake to satisfy many palates. "I put different layers on each tier, but it looks the same from the outside," she explains. "So the [bride and groom] have more than one thing for their guests to choose from."
7. Fresh fruit and chocolate decorations — "A lot of brides go with chocolate decorations or plain fresh fruit," notes Weisend. "In the summer, it's usually berries. In the fall and winter, it's pears and apples. But you can use almost any fruit."
8. Faux fondant — Many brides like the look of fondant, but not the taste. "I do a lot of faux fondant with buttercream," says Rink. Chizmar makes a lot of flavored buttercreams.
9. European designs — "European design is another big trend right now, using a lot of designs that started over there," says Rink. "Europeans are much more creative in their tiers. They use a lot more unique items, such as vases, candlesticks and cherubs."
10. A groom's cake — "Grooms' cakes are making a little bit of a comeback," observes Chizmar. "It's a Southern tradition. If the groom likes something different than the bride, then we do a separate cake for the groom."