Sweet Touches Here's what couples are serving for dessert

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A variety of desserts seems to be the vision for today’s weddings. It doesn’t matter how elaborate or simple the wedding is, couples want to satisfy their guests’ sweet tooth with lots of options. And not just a traditional cake — although that’s a good starting point.

That cake

There are endless ways to make the wedding cake unique to a couple. Couples are keeping it simple and decorating their cakes with flowers,  if they want to decorate at all. “I am noticing a less designed cake and more of a natural cake with fresh flowers,” says Nicole Besnoska, a manager at Yia Yia’s Bakery in Baltimore. Besnoska says she has been using a natural cake or “dirty ice” cake for informal weddings to black-tie weddings.

“Grooms cakes are making a slow comeback,” she says. “We have done super simple and very elaborate grooms cakes with pictures and fondant designs as well.”

Yia Yia’s Bakery recommends couples begin the cake-tasting and designing process six months before their wedding day.

Flavor forward

Shonda Gray, owner and head cake artist of Cake Mix in Baltimore, agrees with Besnoska. Cakes with less fluff and more flavor are trending. “We’ve been seeing rustic cakes,” she says. “These tend to be naked cakes with floral accents. Another popular request is for cakes that are simple, clean and elegant.” Usually, this looks like an all-white cake with little to no icing texture.

Another trend: cakes upon return. Lately, Gray has been receiving requests to design a small cake when couples return from a destination wedding. “They generally like to have a beach-themed cake at the local reception to carry the destination theme all the way through,” she says.

Examples of these cakes can be found on Cake Mix’s Facebook page, she says. Check them out.

The desserts
While a traditional cake is still the focal point of the meal’s final course, couples are choosing fun additions to the dessert menu. Bars and buffets, a trend from the early 2000s, are still popular.

“We have had more orders for mini cupcakes and miniature tarts. Guests enjoy a slice of wedding cake and a small bite of something else,” says Josh Valentine, production manager at SugarBakers Cakes in Catonsville.

“We are still doing a lot of dessert trays or bars at weddings,” Besnoska agrees. “I have noticed people will go with a smaller cake and dessert mix.”

Yia Yia’s most popular dessert trays include truffles, fruit tarts, brownies and cream puffs.

Cookies out, doughnuts in

In contrast, cookie bars, once the rage, are beginning to fade. “Custom cookies have taken a back burner; we rarely do them anymore,” Besnoska says.

Cake Mix, so far, has somewhat evaded the doughnut trend, Gray says, adding that she hasn’t seen the social media posts with trendy doughnut walls at wedding receptions. But doughnut lovers have noted these glazed treats, often offered in flavors such as blueberry, strawberry and even lemon.

Other couples ask for pies. “We do a lot of weddings,” says Mary Wortman, owner of Dangerously Delicious Pies in Canton and Hampden. “It’s a big part of our business.”

Couples getting married in the summer usually request light, refreshing pies, where fall weddings often serve pumpkin, apple or pecan pies, she says.

“Our bestselling sweet pie is the  Baltimore Bomb,” she says. “It is a vanilla custard with Baltimore’s Berger cookies crumbled inside.” That’s not a bad send-off for guests.

Here’s one more fun menu item: Some couples getting married in the summer are serving popsicles and snow cones.

Bottoms up
Finally, doughnuts and pies are not the only things filling the dessert table. Hot chocolate bars are on-trend for couples who want a cozy atmosphere for their reception. Other couples are replacing signature cocktails with tea bars or smoothie stations.

With endless options, couples are sure to find a variety that fits them and the atmosphere of their special day.

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