It’s no wonder Beehive State weddings serve up decadent dessert displays: Utahns love their sweets. Take it from photographer Jessica White and her pastry pal Amanda Anderson of Sprinkle & Dash who agree brides are no longer confined to a single cake. Ice cream stands, old-fashioned pie stations or any “bar” dishing out sweet and savory combos – macaroons, cookies, waffles, donuts, popcorn, you name it – snag the spotlight by giving guests a tiny taste of everything. Experts White and Anderson dish up the scoop on the state’s sweet scene.
Q: When you got married, what sweet treats did you offer?
Jessica: I was married in 2000. The crazy thing is, I don’t even remember what sweet and treats we had at our wedding because we stood in a reception line for most of the evening. How sad is that? I tell my brides to ditch the reception line and enjoy their party, mingle with their guests and indulge in their desserts.
Amanda: We had a three-tiered white fondant cake that had chocolate and vanilla flavoring. Fondant seemed to be the new trend at the time. It was a little tough to cut through for our cake cutting, but nonetheless, we loved it.
Q: Let’s talk tiers. What’s the largest cake you’ve ever seen? What about the smallest cake?
Jessica: The tallest cake I have seen had four tiers. I’ve noticed that the trend has been to do simple buttercream cakes with three tiers or fewer. More often than not, I am seeing a simple one-layer cake or multiple cakes side by side.
Amanda: The largest cake I’ve ever seen was four tiers high with a 16″ base. It was pretty grand, with giant sugar flowers and lots of fondant work. The smallest wedding cake I’ve ever seen was a 6″ base and 4″ top. It was pretty little, but very appropriate for the small, intimate event.
When choosing a cake, you should ask yourself: Am I having a grand event that needs a wow-factor statement piece, or am I holding a simple backyard wedding that is more relaxed in nature? This will help you determine what kind of cake you want and how many tiers to do. Remember, the more tiers, the more formal or dressy your cake seems.
Q: What dessert trends are you seeing now?
Jessica: One fun trend I am seeing is the cake-and-cupcake combo to make a fun and creative statement. The cake is still useful for the traditional cake cutting, but it is placed on a cake stand with cupcakes set on tiers beneath. For summer weddings, I am seeing couples hire ice cream vendors. I’m also seeing delicious desserts – crème brûlées, dessert shots, mini pies – served inside mason jars. Popcorn in multiple flavors is a fun option as well.
Q: What new dessert trends are coming to Utah?
Amanda: I’m seeing lots of French influence in the dessert scene in Utah. Floral flavors like lavender and rose are becoming increasingly popular. Macaroons are wildly popular. More, though, I’m seeing a departure from highly structured, fondant-constructed cakes. Brides are ordering natural flavors and buttercream0constructed cakes. Naked cakes with fresh fruit or flowers are my most popular wedding cake right now. People are just not getting sick of them.
Q: Have you ever seen, or tasted, any wedding-day dessert disasters?
Jessica: I haven’t seen big dessert disasters, but there have been a few close calls. I’ve seen a few cakes melt in the heat and lose their shape. Be sure to hire someone who knows how to properly handle and deliver your cake so that it is set out at the perfect time, instead of melting in the heat or left out in the elements, especially at an outdoor wedding.
From a photographer’s perspective, I’ve seen gorgeous cakes set in a dark little corner where they are not able to shine in all their glory. It is hard to capture those gorgeous cake photos when your cake isnt set near natural light or in a good spot where there is ample light to photograph the gorgeous details of your well thought-out cake.
Amanda: I have neither seen, nor tasted a wedding-day dessert disaster, thank goodness. But I’m sure without proper planning (i.e. not hiring the right vendor) or pre-party tastings, they could happen. I recommend couple request a tasting with their baker to ensure they like what they taste and that the goodies fir their preferences and theme. If your baker doesn’t offer tastings, spend a little money and order something from them. It’s worth the extra to make sure that the items you are ordering are great.
Q: Have we seen enough candy buffets yet?
Jessica: Out with the candy bars and bring in delightful mini-sized desserts. Bite-size options like macaroons, cookies, popsicles and brownies add so much personality.
Amanda: Yes, out with the candy bars and in with the mini dessert bars. Tiny treats like mini pies and bite-sized cookies are in. People are really stepping away from the candy bars and toward elegant bite-sized treats.