Summer is the best season for berries, stone fruits, and just-picked produce that comes straight from the garden. With one eye on what's in-season and the other on what's in the oven, wedding cake bakers are known for developing creative flavors for their clients' big-day desserts. To help inspire your own seasonal wedding cake, we asked three top bakers to share the flavor combos they're most excited about this summer.
Kelsey Robinson of San Francisco's The Whole Cake recommends her lemon-lavender cake for summer weddings. It's exactly what you'd imagine: A lemon cake made with steeped lavender flowers, then layered with vanilla Swiss buttercream and a swirl of bright lemon curd. "It's very summery, and recommended especially for a wine country wedding," Robinson says.
Banana Cake with Caramel and Sea Salt
Another one of Robinson's favorite flavors for a summer wedding? Banana cake with caramel and sea salt. She's not the only one who loves it: It's one of her bakery's most-popular requests during wedding season, and adds that although many of her clients say they don't usually love banana, it's a hit at every tasting.
Yellow Butter Cake with Fresh Peaches
Based in Eagle, Colorado, baker Megan Joy likes to use local produce to create her best summer cake flavors. One of her favorites is a yellow butter cake studded with fresh Colorado peaches. She pairs it with toasted pecan frangipane, Western Slope peach preserves, and a local Colorado whiskey buttercream. "It's one of our most popular summer options," she says. "Clients adore this cake!"
For a bright and fresh combination of flavors, Joy suggests layering white butter cake with tart lemon ganache, mixed berries, and hibiscus flower buttercream. The result is a hibiscus-berry wedding cake that's light and refreshing, perfectly suited for a celebration on a warm summer evening.
Devil's Food Cake with a Berry Twist
Chocolate lovers, this one is for you. You can still serve a rich, decadent chocolate cake in the summer, swears Joy. She layers rich Devil's Food chocolate cake with locally-sourced wild huckleberries, maple caramel, and milk chocolate buttercream. She says, "We love using wild huckleberries for their bright berry flavor and to add a local touch to our cakes." By brightening the palette with that tartness, these cakes become instantly approved for summer.
Vanilla Cake with Apricot-Peach Filling
Betsy Thorliefson, owner of New York City's Nine Cakes, says fresh fruits and berries are the hallmarks of her favorite summer cake flavors. As luck would have it, her vanilla cake with apricot-peach filling and vanilla buttercream is one of her most popular requests during the summer. Thorliefson says, "Couples love it because it's very light and fresh, and comes across as an instant classic with the quintessential late summer fruits."
Vanilla Cake with Ginger Buttercream
A cake that layers lime curd with vanilla cake, ginger buttercream, and crystallized ginger is another of Thorliefson's summer favorites. "The lime curd keeps everything very bright and fresh tasting, while the ginger provides a nice spicy counterpoint to the lime," she explains, so work with your baker to come up with flavors that embrace the freshness of the summer season.