If you're thinking cupcakes or cake pops would be cool in lieu of a typical triple-tiered wedding cake, think again.
"They're pretty much done," says Marcey Brownstein, owner of Marcey Brownstein Catering & Events (212-807-0568, marceybrownstein.com). "We've been doing them for about eight years and people are doing other things now."
To help you keep up with what's hot, Brownstein offers these other nontraditional options for post-dinner decadence:
For a truly unique "cake cutting" option that goes beyond layers of white cake but still keeps with the tradition, consider a towering croque en bouche, a French confection that resembles a tower of cream puffs stuck together. Instead of smooshing cake into each other's mouths, the bride and groom can feed a puff to each other. A meringue-based macaron cookie tower is a similar option. For something truly novel, some couples have chosen a "cheese cake" -- stacked cheese wheels resembling a tiered cake. In this case, the couple has a cheese cutting before guests are invited to come up and chip away at the various cheeses and surrounding fruit.
The more the merrier
Instead of one towering wedding cake, another idea is to have a whole table of cakes. "The ones I have been doing are amazing and are from One Girl Cookies in Brooklyn," Brownstein says. "I color coordinate them to the event. I put them out on a beautiful table and guests can walk up and choose which one they would like a slice of."
Additional full desserts
"In New York City, almost no one does just cake," Brownstein says. "Unless they have a strict budget." In fact, most of the time the additional sit-down dessert is the main event and the cake the add-on. Brownstein has served seasonal delights such as strawberry shortcake in summer and warm pumpkin and molasses cake with chai tea ice cream. How can cake compete with that?
A good way to get people to interact is with dueling desserts. Brownstein likes to do this by serving alternating treats at a table. "One person will get chocolate, the next vanilla, etc., so that they can share or switch," she says. "And they can always ask the waiter for the one they want if it's already taken."
"Some people have irreverent themes to their weddings and it will carry over into dessert," Brownstein says. She has crafted desserts with a video game theme and even an inventive Rubik's Cube -- a square of various fruits pieced together and served in the center of the table for everyone to share.
In addition to the Rubik's Cube, Brownstein will serve family-style desserts to a table. A tiered stand of macarons is popular because they can be colorful and people can match them to the color of their wedding, she says. Platters and tiers of a bride and groom's favorite cookies are also popular, especially with younger couples.
For a group that likes to mingle, or for weddings that don't include a sit-down dinner, one-bite passed desserts take the cake. Tartlets, mini pies, cookies and milk, mini crème brûlée, mini sundaes and mini milkshakes are some options.
Down-home delights are popular these days, according to Brownstein. She crafts many desserts in Ball jars, including county cobblers. Mini pies complete with lattice tops are another option, as is a deconstructed pecan pie that is layered in a shot glass.
Couples can let their personality shine through a customized ice cream or sorbet flavor. "We had one client who loved Cap'n Crunch so much that we served an ice cream made with the cereal," Brownstein recalls. She has also used herbs to craft such flavors as strawberry basil sorbet.