Wedding cakes have long been the centerpiece of the reception, but large multi-layered cakes are being replaced by new trends.
Couples are choosing smaller cakes or no cakes at all and instead offering several different desserts or individual dessert servings.
“Southern tradition in wedding ceremonies calls for having a large wedding cake, often referred to as the bride’s cake, and a groom’s cake,” said Tashmia Prowell-Turner, child and family development area agent in Madison County with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “But many couples are opting to offer multiple selections of food and desserts at their receptions.”
A smaller wedding cake can help trim the budget and make room for more dessert options. Individual desserts, such as cupcakes and cake shooters, are popular additions or alternatives. Most cake shooters are packaged like push-up ice cream treats and contain cake and icing in various flavors. Couples can personalize each cake shooter with their monogram or other decoration.
“Most pastry chefs charge by the size of the cake and complication of design, so having a smaller cake can be less expensive, depending on how many and what types of other desserts are offered,” Prowell-Turner said.
Many couples offer other desserts to make the celebration more personal. Individual desserts, such as pies, cheesecakes or cookies, give the couple more opportunity to incorporate their personal tastes or unique stories into the reception.
“I customize each menu for each client, and a lot of my clients are asking for distinctive, single-serving desserts, like cake shooters,” said Kelly Pittman, owner of Elements Catering and Floral Design in Columbia. “It gives the couple a chance to offer more than one or two different flavor combinations of cake and icing. It can also be a fun way to reflect the couple’s personality or a special aspect of the couple’s relationship.”
If the reception includes a formal dinner, small, simply decorated cakes can serve as centerpieces at each table before guests eat them for dessert. For less formal receptions, a small, elaborate wedding cake is perfect for the purpose of pictures, but guests can eat slices of frosted sheet cakes.
Some couples are accommodating their guests’ preferences by offering a dessert bar. Dessert bars may offer several different kinds of desserts or may offer one type of dessert that can be customized to the guests’ liking, such as ice cream sundaes. Variety can meet the needs of guests who are allergic to gluten, dairy or nuts.
“Dessert bars are a good way to accommodate all guests,” Prowell-Turner said. “Some guests may not enjoy the bride or groom’s favorite flavor of cake, so having more dessert options to choose from can ensure everyone will enjoy the reception.”