There's More Than Just Cake!

The go-to dessert for most events is…cake. And of course, nearly everyone enjoys cake, which makes it a popular option for event food planning. However, there are also plenty of other excellent desserts you can serve along with – or instead of – cake. And many of the latest dessert trends for 2015 look easy, delicious, and fun!

According to Laura Yee in a recent article for Food Fanatics, we can expect to potentially see more of the following in dessert ideas and food planning this year:

Salted sweets, darker chocolate and the company of ingredients typically associated with the main menu {especially locally-sourced vegetables} will drive dessert trends in the new year.

These trends will play out in frozen desserts, pies and candies as pastry chefs delve deeper into local farms.

Dessert Table

Here are some alternatives to cakes as desserts you may consider serving at your next event

1) Chocolate Dipped Figs

A couple who held their wedding at the David Hill Vineyard & Winery (which is a little less than an hour outside of Portland) offered a unique alternative to a traditional wedding cake:

In lieu of the traditional cake cutting, the couple offered chocolate-dipped figs infused with brandy as well as wedding cake. 

Theirs is a great example of turning locally-sourced food into a creative dessert. The result was simple, yet elegant.

2) Petits Fours

There are various types of petits fours (pronounced pe-tē-ˈfor or pə-ˌtē-‘fur), and hundreds of different recipes for them. In a nutshell, these are fancy, frosted, bite-sized cakes which are the size of candy. Many people prepare them by using the same ingredients as pound or sponge cakes, and serve them in all sorts of different shapes: square, round, rectangular, and even heart-shaped.

Food Planning Tip: (From “You can make the cakes up to 2 weeks earlier and freeze, but wait to add the icing until shortly before you serve them.”

3) Macarons    

Image courtesy of nuchylee at

Image courtesy of nuchylee at

Macarons are also miniature and bite-sized sweets, but they’re much different than petits fours. For one thing, they usually come in only one shape: round. Their main ingredients typically consist of ground almonds or almond powder, egg white (for meringue), powdered sugar, and granulated sugar. For a little variety, you may add fruit-based or cream fillings between two macarons.

Food Planning Tip: As you prepare the macarons, you can add food coloring which matches your event’s color scheme for an elegant and/or festive touch.

4) Make-Your-Own Sundae Bars

Chocolate Sundae

Image courtesy of Simon Howden at

Regardless of the season, ice cream sundae bars are currently quite popular for a variety of events. Although ice cream is frequently thought of as a “kid-friendly” dessert, guests of all ages will surely enjoy making their own sundaes, too.

Food Planning Tip: Offer your guests a variety of toppings for their ice cream. This is what makes a sundae bar so much fun. Provide different sprinkles, syrups, candies, and fresh fruits so there are plenty of topping choices for everyone’s tastes.

5) Dessert Shots

One current dessert trend turns nearly any dessert into a shot glass-sized treat. For example, strawberry shortcakes, cheesecakes, chocolate mousse, chocolate brownie trifles, banana cream pie, and more…are all prepared and served in small glasses (about 6.5 ounces). These desserts are especially popular because of how easily your guests can eat these while walking around.

Food Planning Tip: (From Bridal Guide) “Create an impressive arrangement of dessert shots on a side table with 3 or 4 varieties.”


Are you hosting an event in the Portland-Metro area? Please give us a call and we can help you with any of your catering and event-planning needs.
Featured Image Photo Credit: Eddie Hales via Compfight cc