White Wedding Cake with Frosting Flowers
Credit: Miki Duisterhof/Getty Images

Getting the wedding cake of your dreams really depends on how well you communicate your vision for it to your baker. Would fondant icing work better for you or should you go for buttercream? Cornelli or scalopped piping? Single or multi-tiered? The sweet world of wedding desserts has its own lingo and to help you get fluent in it, we put together a list of the ten most commonly used cake terms and what they mean.

1. Buttercream

The classic recipe for buttercream icing only has two ingredients—butter and powdered sugar. Wedding bakers use the cream as a filling or, most often, as decoration because of its versatility.

2. Basket weave

The basket weave pattern looks very elegant and is usually used as decoration on the side of a wedding cake. It is exactly what its name suggests—a style of checkered weave that looks like basketwork.

3. Cornelli

This is a gorgeous lace design created through a filigree piping technique.

Baker Denise Smith of My Daughter’s Cakes says it is a beautiful way to add a bit of lacey texture to a cake without going overboard.

4. Fondant

Fondant icing is most often used to decorate wedding cakes. It is made out of sugar, water, and gelatin (or corn syrup), and has the texture of clay or soft dough.

5. Ganache

“Ganache is a combination of chocolate and heavy cream, and can also have additions of butter or vanilla, liquor and fruit flavors,” says Smith. It can be used both as a cake filling or icing.

6. Marzipan

Made with only three ingredients (almonds, sugar, and egg whites), marzipan paste is easily moldable so bakers usually use it to create edible flowers or fruit with it.

7. Torte

A torte is a type of cake (the word comes from the Italian torta which means cake) that’s much denser and heavier because it is made with a flour substitute (nut meal, for example). Tortes are actually very popular in Europe so if you are planning a destination wedding, a torte, like the classic Austrian Sacher for example, is a great option.

8. Single-tiered cake vs multi-tiered cake

This is just one cake as opposed to a multi-tiered cake made out of several cakes stacked on each other.

“Some people shy away from single-tiered, decorated cakes for intimate weddings, but they can be very beautiful,” explains Smith.

9. Naked cake

Naked cakes lack the outer layer of butter cream or icing and make beautiful options for rustic or barn celebrations.

10. Scallopping

This piping technique looks very elegant and is perfect for a classic wedding celebration.