10 Most Labor-Intensive Desserts

Wedding Cake
Some wedding cakes require a team and several days just to decorate.
Some wedding cakes require a team and several days just to decorate.

In 2011, the average wedding cake in the U.S. cost around $480, according to the BRIDES Magazine American Wedding Study. But some fetch an even higher price -- Kim Kardashian dropped around $20,000 on a 10-layer, 1,900-slice cake covered in chocolate chip frosting for her August 2011 nuptials. And that's nothing compared to the $40,000, 12-tier, 6-foot (1.82-meters) tall cake decorated with thousands of handmade sugar flowers that Liza Minnelli and David Gest featured at their 2002 wedding. That's certainly a testament to the vast amount of labor and time that goes into creating each one, as well as the significance it holds as a traditional part of American weddings. But what's money when you're buying the dessert you'll start your new life with?

Next to the dress, the cake is the showcase piece at a wedding. Cakes can take weeks to make, featuring intricate details, many flavors and sometimes even moving parts -- all customized to reflect the couple's tastes or the wedding's style. Whether it's traditional white with delicate flowers, or something more whimsical and colorful, wedding cakes are some of the most elaborate and labor intensive desserts you'll find. That's why they top our list.

Related Articles


  • Adamson, Melitta Weiss, and Francine Segan. "Entertaining from Ancient Rome to the Super Bowl: A-G." ABC-CLIO, 2008.
  • Baking Bites. "Homemade Puff Pastry and Palmiers." May 26, 2005. (Sept. 21, 2011). http://bakingbites.com/2005/05/cooking-school-puff-pastry-tarte-tatin-and-palmiers/
  • The Boston Channel. "Over-the-Top Celebrity Wedding No. 1." (Sept. 21, 2011). http://www.thebostonchannel.com/r/24389498/detail.html
  • Lockwood, Yvonne R. "Notes on Baumkuchen in Northern Michigan." The Digest, The American Folklore Society, Michigan Traditional Arts Program, Vol. 13, Nos. 1 and 2.
  • Cauvain, Stanley P., and Linda S. Young. "Baking Problems Solved." CRC Press, 2001.
  • Damerow, Gail. "Ice Cream! The Whole Scoop." Glenbridge Publishing Ltd., 1995.
  • Encyclopædia Britannica. "Baklava." 2011. (Sept. 13, 2011). http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/49609/baklava
  • Friendship Bread Kitchen. "What is Amish Friendship Bread?" (Sept. 14, 2011). http://www.friendshipbreadkitchen.com/amish-friendship-bread
  • Essential Dessert Cookbook. Murdoch Books, 2004
  • Fulton, Margaret. "Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery: The Complete Kitchen Companion from A to Z." Hardie Grant Publishing, 2009.
  • Food.com. "Gateau Marjolaine (Marjolaine Cake)." July 11, 2002. (Sept. 21, 2011). http://www.food.com/recipe/gateau-marjolaine-marjolaine-cake-33937
  • Hallock, Betty. "Paul Gauweiler and His Baumkuchen Machine." LA Times, Feb. 18, 2010. (Sept. 13, 2011). http://articles.latimes.com/2010/feb/18/food/la-fo-baumkuchen18-2010feb18
  • Jaeger, Chris. "Wedding Industry Statistics 2011 American Wedding Study Brides Magazine." Wedding Industry Statistics, July 5, 2011. (Sept. 14, 2011). http://weddingindustrystatistics.com/
  • Oddity Central. "Cake Boss Star Creates Mind-Blowing Bumblebee Cake." (Sept. 19, 2011). http://www.odditycentral.com/news/cake-boss-creates-mind-blowing-bumblebee-cake.html
  • Rao, Vidya. "Kim Kardashian's wedding cake costs a cool $20,000." Today, Aug. 18, 2011. (Sept. 21, 2011). http://bites.today.com/_news/2011/08/18/7409397-kim-kardashians-wedding-cake-costs-a-cool-20000
  • Recipe.com. "Marjolaine." (Sept. 21, 2011). http://www.recipe.com/marjolaine/
  • Risley, Mary. "The Tante Marie's Cooking School Cookbook." Simon and Schuster, 2003.
  • Rombauer, Irma von Starkloff, Marion Rombauer Becker, Ethan Becker, and Maria Guarnaschelli. "The Joy of Cooking." Simon and Schuster, 1997.
  • Sokolov, Raymond. "The Cook's Canon: 101 Classic Recipes Everyone Should Know." HarperCollins, 2003.
  • Villios, Lynne W. "Cooking the Greek Way: Revised and Expanded to Include New Low-fat and Vegetarian Recipes." Lerner Publications, 2002.
  • Webb, Lois Sinaiko. "Multicultural Cookbook of Life-Cycle Celebrations." ABC-CLIO, 2000.


The Humble History of Pumpkin Pie

The Humble History of Pumpkin Pie

It's a pie. Filled with squash. Who in the world decided that was a good idea? HowStuffWorks slices and dices the history of the pumpkin pie.

More to Explore