7 Fun Ways to Transform a Cheap Wedding Cake To Look Expensive

Many Nigerian brides love the idea of Instagram-worthy weddings, and that means that everything about their weddings has to be picture-perfect, and that includes the cake. For a low-budget bride with little cash left to shop for a cheap wedding cake, in this post, you will discover the 7 cool different ways to revamp a cheap wedding cake into an expensive-looking masterpiece of a cake.  All the wedding cake makeover hacks in this article are not new at all and have long been used at even big Nigerian weddings and abroad (just that they don’t talk about it). So, let’s get right into it – scroll down.

transform cheap wedding cake makeover

All-white wedding cake with green-white floral accent. [Photo credit: DotunAyodeji/ Instagram]

Secret Cake Makeover Hacks to Transform Any Cheap Wedding Cake Into A Masterpiece

Some brides go all out to have a big, expensive wedding cake even when they cannot afford it.  Don’t make that wedding cake mistake; you don’t need to, because I’m about to tell you how to transform your budget cake into an expensive cake masterpiece. There’s nothing wrong with ordering a huge cake if your entire wedding budget can accommodate it without sacrificing other important things. But when you don’t have much money to afford the big, tall, wedding cake of your dreams, help yourself with the cake makeover tips below, get have the cake of your dreams at a fraction of the price.

#1. Place the Cake on a Tall Stand to Make it Appear Bigger

You can make a small wedding cake look bigger and taller by placing it on a tall table or table. This also makes it stand-out and look special.  This type of cake presentation gives off the illusion that the entire cake is bigger than it actually is, and elegant too.  Isn’t that what you want – a bigger and taller wedding cake?

Avoid:  Bigger or wider cake stands or tables make a cake look tiny, kind of swallowed. Also, avoid cluttering your wedding cake table with other objects; doing that will take away the shine and focus of the cake and make it look less special. Let the cake table and/ or stand house only the wedding cake.

Extra Tips:

  • A neat and properly pressed table linen adds an extra air of elegance to a wedding cake. Ensure that the table cloth on your cake table is wrinkled, ironed properly and has no stain. If not, guests will stare more at the shabby linen instead of the cake. Be sure to do a check on the condition of the table linen before the D-day, to avoid ugly wedding day surprises.
  • Table cloth colour matters: Make your wedding cake stand out by choosing a contrasting table cloth colour. Same colour for both table linen and cake prevents the cake from standing out; instead, it will disappear in the sea of sameness. I already talked about how to choose the right wedding cake table and table cloth, be sure to read it inside our post on wedding cake cost-saving tips (I’ll leave the link at the end of this article).

#2. Place a Cake Topper to Make the Wedding Cake Appear Taller

Cake toppers easily jazz up any ordinary-looking cake and help transform it to looking extraordinary and elegant.  They are very simple and also make a wedding cake look better in pictures.  You don’t have to spend too much to ask your cake vendor to make a sugarcraft mini bride and groom figures on top of the cake. That is costly because it’s time-consuming and not easy to make. Sometimes, they turn out not looking okay.  If you can’t afford the regular cake topper made of icing, you can buy a cute, ready-made inexpensive wedding cake topper similar to the one Akah and Claire had during their weekday wedding in Lagos. Theirs were two letters, each is the initial of each partner’s name.  The simple topper added a touch of elegance to their simple semi-naked wedding cake.  The overall look was beyond gorgeous.

nigerian wedding cake mistakes

#3. Place  Flower Separators Between Cake Layers to Transform a Small Wedding Cake Into a Big Cake

This cheap cake makeover hack will automatically transform any small stack of cakes into a bigger one, making a few tier wedding cake tiers look like it is more. Your guests will think that every layer is all-cake.  For example, if you can only afford a 3-tier cake but desire a 5-tier cake, use this simple hack to get a 5-tier cake for the price of 3.  Ask your baker to do this during the cake creation process – just show her a picture of a wedding cake with fillers between the tiers/ layers.

Here’s how it works:  Separate each cake layer and then fill the empty layers with flower separators (like in this picture).  Now, imagine the wedding cake stacked without the flowers separators filled in-between the layers? Obviously, it will look smaller and not as tall. This wedding cake makeover trick is not new, and you too can use it.

ALSO: The Best Looking Wedding Cakes for Inspiration

#4. Fake it to Make It Big (Foam Cakes to the Rescue)

Another way to transform a small cake that has few tiers into a bigger cake is to add layers of fake, foam cakes on top of real cake tiers in order to achieve a bigger cake. Also called styrofoam cakes (or dummy cakes), they look very real that no one will know. If you are saving money on your wedding cake, but still want to show off a huge cake, this transformation hack will help you keep to your budget and get an expensive-looking cake.  Even brides who have huge wedding budgets still use this cake transformation hack to save money. It’s something you have to tell your baker ahead of time because the fake, foam cakes are also stacked and decorated together with the real cakes.

Here’s how it works: Layers of real cakes are staked at the bottom and tiers of fake, foam cakes are stacked on top (of the real cakes).  After that, icing sugar is used to cover all cake layers (real and fake) and they are all decorated normally.  The end result is one big beautiful wedding cake that guests cannot tell some are not real cakes. Here’s how to makeover a small wedding cake: Let’s say, for example, your budget can only get you a 2-tier cake and your heart had been on a huge 7-tier cake.  You can rent or buy 5 fake, foam cakes. All the cakes (real and fake) are stacked and decorated. At the end of the day, you will have your dream 7-tier wedding cake to display at the reception.  During cake-cutting, you will cut from one of the real cake layers at the bottom.

Check that – you pay for 2 real cake-tiers plus a few extra cash to rent or buy a few foam-cake layers, and you get a big wedding cake with 5 layers.  How cool is that idea? It’s not a new idea. Many people here in Nigeria and abroad have been using this cake makeover hack to jazz up little, cheaper cakes and make them look like ‘next-level’ wedding cakes.  Many people are doing this and no one would know (unless you tell).  Fake, foam cakes are used to increase the overall cake size, by helping to add extra needed number of tiers, thereby increasing the wedding cake height. This is a great option if you want to have a cake to impress your friends.  You’ll also save money on your wedding cake if you do this.

#5. Get An Elegant Cake Stand and/ or Cake Table

If you want your wedding cake to look beautiful in pictures, consider how and what part of the reception it will be displayed.  Wedding cake presentation is as important as the cake itself.  How or what you use to present your wedding cake at the reception venue can add to or diminish its worth.  What many cake bakers and brides in Nigeria do is just place the wedding cake on a table. There’s a thing called “cake stand’ and your cake can be placed on it before being placed on a table, although some cake stands are as tall as a table. I highly recommend it if your baker does not have it (you should ask before the wedding day).

A good cake stand will add elegance to your wedding cake and make it stand out.  A good wedding stand is a key to making any cheap wedding cake look expensive. It’s like the icing on a cake. Besides, every wedding cake should have a cute stand. If you’ve worked hard to make sure your cake looks nothing short of beautiful.  It, therefore, makes sense to put some thoughts into having a befitting cake stand and/ or table to showcase that gorgeous sweetness (the cake) in all its glory. I am always shocked at the shabby tables some brides in Nigeria have their cakes placed on for display.  I’m also surprised that many brides here have no idea that “a wedding cake needs an elegant stand to complete its beauty’, and also to look good in photos. Just don’t make the common wedding cake mistake of placing the cake stand in a far corner of the reception venue.

Where your wedding cake is placed for display at the reception either makes it look ordinary or more expensive than it actually is. An elegant wedding cake stand always adds class to the whole shebang. You can instantly elevate any cheap cake, say from a level 3-over-10 to 10-over-10, just by placing it on a damn good stand. If you don’t find a decent one to rent or borrow from your baker, buy a cake stand yourself, they are affordable and can give a massive lift to the look of your cake.  It’s a good idea to budget for hiring or buying a nice cake stand as part of your wedding cake budget.

#6. A Small Elegant Wedding Cake PLUS a Fancy Cupcake Stand to Add Extra Glamour

Now, if you are the bride that likes variety, cupcakes are the rave at stylish weddings, and the good news is that they are cheap. There’s this cute trend about setting up a cupcake stand, and some brides are even ditching the traditional wedding cakes for elegant cupcakes-on-a-stand.  They look super gorgeous.  Talk of a way to add glamour to your wedding on the cheap. You love the glamour and wedding guests love cupcakes.

One of the methods in a previous post on how to save money on a wedding cake in Nigeria, I talked about a combo idea of getting one small decorated wedding cake to display in your wedding reception AND also buying a cheap supermarket-made plain cake to serve guests. Each is cheap and they are both cheaper than buying a full-on decorated cake for so many guests.

Here’s a twist of that method: you can choose to buy or have DIY cupcakes to serve your wedding guests, instead of the plain, supermarket cakes.  You’ll be using these cupcakes to play double-duty and also serve as a centrepiece attraction that amplifies your reception venue decoration.  Talk about killing two birds with one stone – for cheap.  This wedding cake hack is incomplete without a cupcake stand, which you can either rent from a baker or buy it yourself (they are not pricey).

#7. Add Accent Detail to a Minimalistic Cake Design

If you have a minimalistic cake design or a one-colour wedding cake, you can make it more interesting by introducing accent to the mix.  Colours are the most common way of adding an accent to a cake design. However, professional bakers also use textures and patterns to create an accent in cake decoration.

Here’s an example of a wedding cake with an element of accent: Let’s say you have an all-white wedding cake, you can sprinkle gold accent colour OR wrap a blue ribbon around each cake tier.  Alternatively, you could even have to cascade floral applique or place a strip of red fresh flowers diagonally on one corner of a white wedding cake. Neutral or subtle/ dull colours sometimes appear boring, but cake accent details (like in that example) help transform a subtle coloured wedding cake into a more interesting to the eyes. In order words, adding cake accent will take any cake from boring to the next level.

Here are some fun ways your baker can revamp a somewhat boring wedding cake to bring more life and colour into it:

  • Sprinkle an accent colour to a one-colour cake to make it pop:  If your wedding cake is only one colour, add a touch of contrasting accent colour to break away from a one-colour cake, adding a sharp and beautiful contrast and ultimately make the cake stand out.  For example, a one-colour wedding cake with a touch of an accent colour looks more beautiful than the one without.
  • Elevate a minimalist cake design by sprinkling accent details: If you have a super-simple wedding cake, adding a touch of accent (colour, texture or pattern) to it will give the cake a polished/ elegant effect. The wedding cake image at the beginning of this post illustrates this concept.
  • Introduce a pop of accent colour to break up the monochrome-ness in a cake colour:  Add a pop/ touch of contrasting colour to break the monochrome, same-same colour and introduce some drama to the mix. (an idea is to add a touch of bold or bright colour/ accent to a subtle/ dull colour cake; add a pop of subtle or neutral colour to a bright or bold colour cake).
  • Use Icing to Craft Texture on the Walls of the Cake:  Cakes are usually smooth on the externals/ outside, but a baker can add texture to part of the cake in order to make it stand out.
  • Drippings:  An example is a white cake with chocolate dripped from the top.  That crates an effect that transforms the look of the initial cake. Accent cake drippings are usually of a contrasting colour, which helps give off the desired ‘different look’.
  • Ribbons:  Wrapping a ribbon of a contrasting colour around tiers of a wedding cake can transform a monotone-colour cake to into a elegant version of the original one.

About Styrofoam Cakes at Nigerian Weddings: All You Need to Know

Fake cakes, also known as styrofoam or dummy cakes or faux cakes, have long been in existence in Nigeria, and I have even seen them on display at some big hotel pastry shops, looking like all real cakes.  For some, how you know is when you ask to buy that same cake you’re seeing – some bakery staff and pastry store salespersons will tell you the truth that it’s a dummy cake and a real one can be made for you.

Stacking fake cakes on top of real cake layers is quite common among brides in Nigeria. As the name implies, fake or faux cakes are made from styrofoam.  It’s a secret that has been used by many big Nigerian weddings, with some of them trending for their cake size on Instagram and BellaNaija. Now you know the secret of some ‘flashy weddings’ – use it!

Other Articles in this Series:

Now, Your Big Wedding Cake Dreams Can Come True on a Cheap Budget

That’s all on so many ways to revamp a cheap, ordinary-looking wedding cake to look expensive, and also save money in the process. Talk about ‘eating your cake and having it back’. You don’t have to overspend to have a picture-perfect wedding cake (like the picture featured above).  Take action and put every cake makeover tip and advice above and you will be sure to have a picture-perfect wedding cake that will wow your guests.  No one will know you didn’t break the bank to get it.

Let me add that these ideas for revamping cheap cakes do not only apply to weddings. You can also use them to transform cakes for other types of events or parties, such as for bridal shower cakes, birthday cakes, bachelorette party cakes, even bachelors’ eve party cakes. Use them to wow others.

Thanks for reading, and if this article has helped you in any way, please help me share it on social media, or email it to someone,  to help others that need it. Also, if you later use any of our wedding cake makeover tips above to design your cake, come back to comment to let us know and/ or share the cake picture with us on any of our social media pages.

Your turn now – is there any other cheap cake transformation idea you think I should have added above?  If so, tell me about it in the comment section down below. Also, which of the above wedding cake makeover hacks is your favourite?  Either way, I want to hear from you – let’s keep the conversation going.  And don’t forget to hit the share button below.

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About Stella Anokam

Stella is the founder and Editor of this blog (NaijaGlamWedding). Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. Submit your photos to be featured - it's FREE, because we love everything weddings, bridal showers, engagement shoots.

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