0113-open-season-slice-of-cake

Cakes & Desserts: Open Season

Top sweets experts and a spirited event specialist whip up a year’s worth of dessert tables

0113-summer-cakeSummer

Hot days are the ruin of thick buttercream frostings (which can melt and slide right off the cake) and fondant (which can sweat). In general, rich, heavy desserts just don’t sit well with warm-weather wedding guests in bare, strappy dresses and seersucker suits. Enter the naked cake—and baker Carla Reich at Honey Crumb Cake Studio (425-577-9220, honeycrumb.com). This understated confection is made up of sour cream pound cake layered with vanilla-flavored Swiss meringue buttercream; guests will find baskets of berries on their tables to sweeten the deal. Soft yarn pom-poms by event designer Crystal Scott of Bespoke Style Studio (206-953-3430, bespokestylestudio.com) create a light, airy space. Hung vertically from the ceiling, the pom strings set the table apart from the rest of the room; swagged from rafters or ceiling lights, they could brighten a dark space.

Table Tip
St. Germaine cucumber coolers and pom-fringed printed goods from calligrapher and custom paper designer Sally Balt of La Happy (lahappy.com) complete the mood.

 

 

0113-autumn-favors-and-cookies

0113-autumn-cakeAutumn

This town is crazy for pie, have you noticed? A La Mode Pie’s (206-383-3796, alamodeseattle.com) generous fruit- and chocolate-filled delights are among the favorites. The colossal apple and pear crust-topped wonder is spiked with ginger and cinnamon; the chocolate and homemade-caramel pecan tart is like a giant version of classic “Turtle” chocolates; and the lattice-topped marionberry and hazelnut pie is a Northwest treasure. Served with Rosellini Sweets’ (206-604-4682, rosellinisweets.blogspot.com) classic cream cheese frosting–topped spice cake and almond anise shortbread cookies, it’s a sweets course they’ll fall for.

Table Tip
Fall is all about the interplay of rough and smooth. Scott chose a burlap runner for the table, draped hand-cut paper leaves on twine to create a backdrop, and employed a mix of organic wood platters and tall and short cake stands in different finishes. Guests can pick up a glass of spiced wine and a take-home gift of mulled cider mix as they’re waiting for the slice of their lives.

 

0113-winter-chocolate-cakeWinter

Talk about a dessert table that pops. Wrapped in fondant and covered in modeling chocolate polka dots, this tiered chocolate confection is the modern, graphic version of a traditional wedding cake. Decadence Custom Cakes’ (206-909-3789, decadencecustomcakes.com) Dan Mikosz loves texture and flavor; slicing into this cake yields layers upon layers of crunchy praline pastry, chocolate mousse, chocolate chiffon sponge cake brushed with Frangelico syrup, hazelnut Bavarian cream, and almond meringue. The cake architect is becoming pretty well known for his truffles, too; these dark chocolate ones—used here to stud the cake but often sent home as favors—have a Maldon-salted caramel filling and roasted almond centers. German chocolate cake pops and dark chocolate, marshmallow cream–frosted cupcakes from The People’s Cake (206-484-2063, thepeoplescake.com) make this spread a decadent wonderland.

Table Tip
Scott strung light-catching chandelier pieces behind the table; you might also consider using them in drab doorways or around soft seating lounge areas. Just remember: a little goes a long way. Restraint is bling’s best friend.

 

0113-spring-cakeSpring

Layers of lavender-infused lemon cake alternate with raspberry compote and fresh raspberry mousselline in these fondant-covered, tall café cakes by Bonnie Lyons of New Renaissance Cakes (206-920-5322, newrenaissancecakes.com). In shades of spring fashion’s favorite pastels and adorned with a sugar-flower nod toward elegance and a wink at fun, they’re dressed up without seeming frilly, and graphic but still sweet. Mini macarons in complementary shades by Belle Pastry (206-623-1983, bellepastry.com) ensure that guests get their cake and an of-the-moment cookie fix, too.

Table Tip
Scott’s springtime backdrop uses unfinished, unhemmed strips of fabric—raw silk, wispy lace, calico cottons, and more—in light pastel shades. Like a modern replacement for typical, traditional pipe-and-drape treatments, the soft, subtle scene calls attention to the reception’s prettiest table.