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As someone who grew up in the Christian faith, I know what an important day a child’s First Communion is. It is a significant milestone for Catholic children, and it is typically followed by a gathering of family and friends over good food and, of course, cake. So, if you’re a Catholic and your kid is having their First Communion, you would want the perfect cake to complete your celebration. And I just have the best First Communion cake ideas for you.
I have written about and planned many kinds of parties to celebrate a wide range of life events that many people can relate to — from birthdays and graduations to weddings and baby showers — and I’d admit that First Communion parties are not one of them. It’s because First Communion parties are usually just intimate family and close friends-only affairs, and there’s not much fanfare involved in such gatherings. It is usually just food, music, and great conversations.
But because I grew up in a traditional Catholic family, I also know how children actually look forward to their First Communion, even without the party component of it. I remember being a kid and seeing my parents receive communion at church on Sundays, and how I used to be excited for the day I could do the same.
I know it’s the same for other Catholic children throughout generations. So, as far as First Communion celebrations in my family go, I always make it a point to get a special First Communion cake.
First Communion marks the very first time a Catholic child — or adult — will take part in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, where one symbolically receives the body and blood of Jesus Christ. They will then be able to receive Holy Communion for the rest of their lives. And since this religious milestone is intimate, sacred, and solemn, the after-party or celebration is pretty low-key.
As such, First Communion cakes are usually simple and subdued. I am talking about cakes that reflect the solemnity of the affair. That typically means no loud colors and no designs that would take us away from the essence of the Holy Communion.
However, I also want to show you that while these cakes are simple and usually elegant, you can also give them a dash of creativity. So I try to look for First Communion cakes that are unique and not too conventional and plain-looking. I also look for First Communion cakes that apply modern cake decorating styles.
My Bottom Line Up Front
First Communion cakes are typically white. So, when I have to get one for newly minted communicants in my family, I prefer those with hints of color. I also love fault line First Communion cakes since this cake trend makes it look modern.
Here’s a gorgeous example of the kind of First Communion cake I’m talking about:
First Communion Cake Ideas
1. Soft Handpainted Details
Soft handpainted details make cakes look lovely, elegant, and delicate — just the way First Communion cakes should look. If the painting is on the cake itself, it is done using edible ink on smooth fondant. You can also do get the paintings done on paper and put them on as toppers.
This handpainted cake is beautiful in its simplicity and understated elegance. The leaves are in soft greens and purples on white fondant, making the cake look beautiful but not taking away the spotlight from the golden cross.
Here are cakes for a boy and a girl communicant. The toppers are simple paper or board with pretty watercolor artworks in pastel colors.
2. Dainty Florals
This beautiful two-tier cake showcases buttercream flowers done using a small palette knife. It is topped with a wreath of soft-pink carnations and little pink blooms. The result is a feminine cake that’s perfect for a little lady’s First Communion.
You can also do florals this way. This white First Communion buttercream cake uses edible pansies that have been harvested fresh and then crystalized to preserve their soft purple, lilac, white, and yellow colors. Add a simple gold cross to complete the look.
These lovely florals are done with piping bags. You can “draw” little flowers and leaves using buttercream or royal icing in different colors around the cake’s side, and you’d have a lovely cake. Add a First Communion topper or a simple little cross to complete the look.
3. Flower Drawings
How do you decorate a plain white buttercream cake and make it a beautiful but fun creation? Have the communicant draw flowers on a piece of paper and get these drawings printed on wafer paper, then position these edible illustrations on swatches of colored buttercream. Your girl would surely feel proud and giddy to see her art on her cake. That would make her First Communion cake meaningful, too.
You can also apply the same technique for non-floral designs.
4. Ivory and Gold
Ivory and gold are pretty common color combinations for First Communion cakes. But you can give yours a non-traditional twist by adding some trendy cake elements.
This two-tier white fondant cake has sugar roses, macarons, meringues, and golden pearl sprinkles. The macarons have been dusted with gold leaf.
Thin layers of fondant are wrapped diagonally from the base of this cake to create a skirt-like feature. Two-dimensional fondant shapes are placed as toppers. Spikes and molded flowers also add texture and gold leaf for finishing touches.
5. Decorated Sugar Cookies
You can get a plain buttercream cake and decorate it with customized sugar cookies. This cake, for example, has all the Holy Communion symbols in cookie form, from the chalice and host, bread, grapes, and dove.
6. Stenciled and Faultline Twin Cakes
Do you have two kids having their First Communion together? Whether they’re twins, cousins, or best friends, you can get twin cakes for the celebration after.
These twin cakes are color-coordinated but are designed differently. One is a white-and-teal cake with stenciled details for texture and fondant accents, while the other one is a simple three-layer fault line cake.
7. Chalice and Angels
Chalice is one of the symbols for communion. Angels are spiritual symbols, too. So you can put one or these two together on your cake.
A fondant chalice, angel figurines, and sugar flowers all adorn this little white cake.
This light blue buttercream has a fondant angel and a bunch of white flowers on top of it.
8. Dried Flowers
Dried flowers have become a trendy decorative element in cakes. Many cake makers prefer using them because they are fuss-free and easy to use, and as long as you have an eye for a pretty dried flower arrangement, they would add elegance or a rustic charm to the cake.
A few stalks of lavender and other dried grass and flowers are all you need to make a plain white buttercream cake look beautiful. You can add a First Communion topper or a simple cross up front and it’s a done deal.
You can also use dried rabbit tail and pampas grass and stems of natural cotton balls to adorn your cake. This one, for example, is a two-tier cake with stenciled buttercream frosting, a dove, and a golden cross at the front, and dried grass arrangements on opposite sides.
Dried bunny tails and pampas grass, wafer paper, palette knife painting, and a unique wire topper make up this one-of-a-kind First Communion cake.
And here’s one gorgeous three-tier buttercream cake with dried blooms adorning the entire side of each layer.
9. Edible Wafer Paper Art
Edible wafer paper, which is also called rice paper, is a potato or rice starch-based material that is slightly transparent and is used as an accent for cakes. Wafer paper, when formed or sculpted skillfully, adds a lovely texture to your cake.
This is an example of how you can use wafer paper sculpturally. You can use it to create something abstract yet flowing and dynamic. You can add a topper to make this sophisticated cake a First Communion cake.
In this cake, the sheets of wafer paper have a marbled blue look, just like the buttercream frosting. They give the illusion of waves or water splashing.
This one, meanwhile, shows how you can use wafer paper in different colors and make them look like gold-edged flower petals wrapped gracefully around one side. You can add a simple gold cross up front to make it a First Communion cake.
You can also use wafer paper differently. This four-tier First Communion cake shows the sheets dusted with pink on the edges, then wrapped around the cake and formed into delicate paper roses.
Here’s yet another beautiful cake using edible wafer paper differently. The sheets are sculpted into something rich in texture and then draped diagonally across the front.
White wafer paper sheets with gold-painted edges are shaped into flowers and three-dimensional petals. Plant a gold cross on top to seal this cake’s fate as a First Communion cake. This two-tone creation is beautiful in its simplicity.
You can also use wafer paper to print edible cake wraps. This edible cake wrap around the first tier has a blue and white Moroccan tile pattern. The gumpaste cross is painted with a similar-looking pattern for a cohesive effect.
10. Marble Effect
Marbling is also another cake decorating technique making waves among cake decorators. This one has blue and indigo streaks on white buttercream. Add some gold leaf to match the gold cross, and you’re all set.
This two-tier cake has a marbled frosting on the first layer and a plain white one on the top layer. Finish it off with some silver leaf and sugar flowers.
11. Palm Leaf
Palm leaves are also quite the trend these days. They’re usually made of paper folded accordion-style.
This cake shows you two palm leaves adorning the top along with chocolate balls, synthetic flowers, and a little gold cross. The white frosting is smeared with pink buttercream using a palette knife.
This two-tier buttercream cake has gold and white palm leaves plus other foliage, including fresh (or just fresh-looking) eucalyptus leaves.
12. White and Lilac
White and lilac make a lovely color combo for a First Communion cake because together, the result is soft and subdued.
For this cake, the white buttercream has lilac-colored swatches. On top are white and lilac roses.
This white buttercream cake, meanwhile, has lilac blooms in fondant.
What makes this one different, on the other hand, is the ombre effect of the little lilac flowers. And let’s admit it, the flowers leaving some space to form a cross in the middle is quite original.
13. White and Pink
White and pink is another delicate color combination — even more so if the pink is in a very light shade.
Take this cake, for example. The buttercream frosting is done in a very soft shade of pink, as are those water paper flowers. White buttercream is smeared on the sides, accented with gold leaf.
Look at this white and pink cake. The buttercream frosting is traditionally done in white, and it is adorned with blush-pink roses on top, which make it look even more feminine. A cross and circle are placed front and center, so there’s no mistaking this cake as something other than a First Communion cake (or a christening cake).
14. Fresh Flowers
One of the best ways to decorate a naked cake is to use fresh flowers. And this white two-tier First Communion cake shows you just how to do it.
Fresh roses in white or soft pink are perfect cake decors when you’re aiming for a feminine and delicate look. Then you can add a cross in gold or rose gold.
Are we talking about a First Communion cake for a girl? It’s not only flowers and the color pink that make cakes look feminine. Try butterflies. Butterflies in soft and delicate hues would be lovely decorative elements for this type of cake.
These butterflies draped across a three-tier cake are made from edible wafer paper.
You can also use butterflies sparingly if you have a small cake. Use a thin wire to stick them into the cake and give them the illusion of being in flight.
16. White Orchids
White phalaenopsis orchids are just beautiful, and they look splendid and majestic just on their own as a decorative element. If you use them to adorn your cake, you would hardly need anything else.
Here is a textured two-layer buttercream cake. Plant two or three blooms into certain parts of the cake, add a gold cross, and you’re all set for your First Communion celebration.
This all-white cake is simply breathtaking, proving that you don’t need colors to make a cake look gorgeous. The first tier is plain white fondant with a simple gold cross and the second layer has fondant origami sculpture with sugar phalaenopsis blooms as topper.
Orchids would work for boys, too. Here’s a cake for Flynn’s First Communion. Do some palette knife painting with blue buttercream and get the party started.
17. Gumpaste Sculpture
If you or someone you know has mad gumpaste sculpting skills, then you can create your own gumpaste masterpiece. You can even do it on an all-white cake like this, and it won’t look too plain or boring.
18. Palette Knife Art
Get a plain-looking cake and create art on it using a palette knife and colored buttercream as if it were your canvas.
This white buttercream cake has pistachio-colored foliage, dusted with gold flakes and white and gold sprinkles.
These lovely cakes show simple yet impeccable palette knife work. You can pick a few colors and create a wreath on top of your white buttercream cake and perhaps stamp “First Communion” in lieu of the “I Love You.”
19. Drip Cake
Drip cakes are also a thing these days. So you can apply this modern decorating trend to your First Communion cake, add a few other decorative elements like this cute paper doll of a girl holding her Holy Bible and her rosary.
Speaking of rosary, this religious symbol can be used on First Communion cakes.
This two-tier cake, for instance, applies the marble and faultline techniques. As toppers, you have a fondant bible and a real rosary that the communicant can keep as a souvenir.
This First Communion cake is mainly white, with a gorgeous Precious Moments topper. Draping down the edge of the top layer is a fondant rosary.
Frequently Asked Questions
Answer: Prices for First Communion cakes depend on a few things. Of course, the bigger the cake, the more expensive it will be. The type of cake and the flavor of its filling will also dictate the pricing since the ingredients will vary, including cost and availability. Frosting and other decorative elements will be factored in, too. For example, buttercream frosting is less expensive than fondant, and it will also be easier and quicker to apply on the cake.
Then there’s the skill level of the baker, especially when it comes to decorating your cake, as well as the complexity of the design. Needless to say, the more skilled and more experienced your baker is, the higher they will charge for their masterpiece. You may also need to pay extra if the cake maker is designing the cake themselves.
Answer: The best way to set a budget for a First Communion cake, or a cake for any occasion for that matter, is to get a price estimate from your local bakeries or cake maker. You should first have at least an idea of the kind of cake you want and ask around. Plan your budget around these estimates or quotations and make sure to give it a bit of allowance.
You may need to pay more than what you’ve been told if your final cake design turns out to be a lot more complicated than what you’ve earlier described.
When it comes to your final choice of cake maker, I suggest that you pick a cake shop you’ve already tried before or get recommendations from friends and family instead of just settling for the cheapest one.
Answer: As soon as you have the dates set, you have finalized your plans about the size of your party, and you have your final cake design or concept ready, call your order in and finalize it. A three-week lead time is ideal, but your cake maker may allow less than that if they don’t have too many orders to fulfill or more than three weeks if they’re swamped.
A child’s First Communion is one of the most significant and most awaited occasions in their life as a Christian. So, this always calls for a celebration among family and close friends. But because this kind of religious affair is solemn and holy, First Communion cakes lean towards the simple, elegant, symbolic, and subtle or subdued side. They’re not customized according to the child’s interests or favorites.
As such, deliberate care is necessary when picking a design. The trick to picking the perfect First Communion for your child is to keep it low-key, beautiful but not loud, and to inject a certain level of uniqueness to it by applying some modern cake decorating styles.