You’ve planned every last detail for your wedding. You’ve found the one. Found the perfect venue. Now you need to decide on the last lingering impression you’ll leave with your guests: dessert.
Traditional wedding cakes are getting more casual. Have you noticed the icebox-frosting craze sweeping across wedding cakes lately? Gone are the days of meticulously piped roses and basket-weave patterns … although we think they could make a comeback in the future. Couples want to see the hand of the pastry chef who created their masterpiece; perfection is out the door. So if you choose to go with a traditional tiered wedding cake, try one without icing. Or step outside of the wedding-cake box all together and serve up some alternative wedding desserts (like sweet and gooey monkey bread, which we’ve provided a recipe for below).
Or try …
Serving cheese instead — Have a tiered cheese “cake” with actual wheels of cheese. If you’re not down with sweets, it’s a great way to end on a savory note.
Healthy alternatives — Serve chilled watermelon gazpacho, fruit kabobs, or blended fruit smoothies for a lighter finish.
Ditching the display — Keep people on the dance floor and ask servers to stand on the edge with smaller passed items. We love mini Key lime pies, lavender-salted caramel doughnut holes, and flourless chocolate-cakes.
Breakfast for dinner — Try setting up a waffle bar or crêpe station instead of cake. Go crazy and serve candied bacon, sausage biscuits, or chicken-and-waffle skewers (we love a honey Sriracha sauce) to go along with them. The list could go on forever.
Going old school — Put easy-to-grab salted hash browns or golden french fries in brown paper bags (copper tins also dial up the style factor) and serve mini-milkshakes with brightly colored straws.
Requesting Monkey Bread — Serve one for each table. They’re messy but a heck of a lot of fun. You could even ask the chef to make monkey bread muffins in smaller sizes for each place setting. Here’s a recipe to whip up a batch at home.
Monkey Bread – 8 servings
Pastry Chef Nicole Rutter, B&O American Brasserie, Baltimore
4 large egg yolks
1 large egg
2 ounces sugar
3 ounces unsalted butter, melted
6 ounces buttermilk
20 ounces all-purpose flour
2¼ teaspoons instant dry yeast
1¼ teaspoons kosher salt
8 ounces unsalted butter
8 ounces light brown sugar
½ teaspoon rosemary, finely chopped
2½ ounces unsalted butter melted
1 teaspoon rosemary, finely chopped
2 ounces sugar
1½ ounces cinnamon
Dough: Whisk together the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter and buttermilk.
Add about 2 cups of the flour, yeast and the salt to the egg mixture.
Transfer to a stand mixer and attach a dough hook.
Add the remaining flour and knead on low speed for five minutes. Check the consistency of the dough; it should feel soft and moist but not sticky.
Knead the dough until it clears from the sides of the bowl.
Knead by hand for about 30 seconds and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let the dough double in volume.
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine 8 ounces of butter, brown sugar and rosemary.
Pour half of the topping into the bottom of your cake or bundt pan; save the remaining topping for later.
Melt the butter and rosemary in a saucepan and set aside for assembly.
Combine cinnamon and sugar in a bowl.
Portion the dough in half ounce pieces. Roll the dough balls in the coating and then in the cinnamon-sugar mixture and place in the pan.
Cover the pan in plastic and let the dough rest in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Remove from refrigerator and set in a warm place to let the dough rise for about 20 to 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes; 15 minutes into baking, pour the rest of the topping over the bread.
Once finished, let it cool for 5 minutes, then invert onto a plate and serve.
Optional: Top with fresh fruit.
— Nelle Somerville
Catering Sales Manager, Hotel Monaco Baltimore