When it comes to weddings, one of the sweetest moments is when the bride and groom cut their cake. However, many couples are increasingly embracing the idea that there’s a whole world of delightful desserts beyond the traditional tiered confection. In fact, in a recent survey conducted by The Knot, 69 percent of couples had some type of cake at their wedding—but 53 percent of couples also served an alternative wedding dessert.
More and more, we are seeing couples serve wedding desserts that aren’t cake. While many choose to have a small cake to cut as part of the tradition, they are opting for delicious dessert alternatives to serve to their guests. In this blog, our expert caterers provide 10 unique wedding dessert ideas that go beyond traditional cake.
How to choose which dessert to serve at your wedding
When choosing what type of dessert to serve at your wedding, the first step is to consider what you and your partner like. Your wedding is a celebration of you. Therefore, your menu—including desserts—should reflect your preferences. Similarly, you should select desserts that complement the theme of your wedding. For example, if you are having a beachside wedding, consider desserts with tropical elements, such as key lime pie or mango coconut dessert shooters. Or, if you are having a summer wedding, consider desserts that use seasonal ingredients, such as a bold strawberry tart with a flaky buttery crust and fresh strawberries. Finally, decide whether you want your desserts to be passed or plated. This will determine if you need small, bite-sized desserts or larger, full-sized portions.
10 unique wedding cake alternatives
From elegant and refined to whimsical and playful, the possibilities are endless when it comes to wedding desserts that aren’t cake. Here are a few of our favorites.
1. Dessert shooters
Dessert shooters, also known as dessert shots or mini desserts, are small-sized, individual portions of sweet treats served in shot glasses or other small containers. These miniature desserts offer a variety of flavors and textures in a compact and visually appealing presentation. Dessert shooters have become increasingly popular for events like weddings, parties, and other celebrations, as they provide guests with the opportunity to sample multiple desserts without committing to a full-sized portion.
Here are some of our favorite mini layered cake and mousse dessert shooters:
• Chocolate truffle
• Strawberry shortcake
• Lemon blueberry
• Banana pretzel
• Valencia orange
2. Petite desserts
Petite desserts are another form of small, bite-sized desserts that can be passed or set-up with a creative display at your wedding. Similar to dessert shooters, petite desserts provide guests with a variety of flavors without committing to a full-sized dessert. They can encompass a wide range of options, from miniaturized versions of classic desserts to creative and unique creations.
At Puff ‘n Stuff, here are a few gourmet petite desserts we provide:
• Chocolate cups filled with raspberry and chocolate mousse
• Miniature chocolate pecan pies
• Chocolate truffles, chocolate eclairs and chocolate-dipped strawberries
Cupcakes have become a popular and stylish alternative to traditional wedding cakes. They offer versatility in flavors, designs, and presentations, making them an excellent choice for weddings.
Here are some creative cupcake ideas for weddings to inspire your sweet celebration:
• Monogram cupcakes – Top cupcakes with edible monograms featuring the couple’s initials. This personal touch adds a customized element to the dessert table.
• Cupcake tower with a topper – Arrange cupcakes in a tower and top it with a small cake as the centerpiece. This provides a traditional cake-cutting moment while still embracing cupcakes.
• Edible flower cupcakes – Top cupcakes with edible flowers like pansies, violets, or candied roses. This is a lovely option for a garden or spring wedding.
Cheesecake is a popular and excellent choice for an alternative wedding dessert for several reasons. Cheesecake comes in a wide variety of flavors, ranging from classic New York-style to more adventurous options like raspberry swirl, chocolate, or salted caramel. This versatility allows you to choose a flavor that complements your wedding theme or personal preferences. Cheesecakes also exude an air of elegance and sophistication, making them a fitting choice for formal events like weddings. The smooth and creamy texture of cheesecake adds a touch of luxury to the dessert table. Finally, cheesecake is a dessert that transcends seasons. Whether your wedding is in the heat of summer or the chill of winter, the versatility of cheesecake flavors allows you to choose options that suit the season.
Work with an experienced catering company to customize your cheesecake. And, cheesecakes can be made in smaller batches, enabling you to provide several different options for your guests. At Puff ‘n Stuff, our signature cheesecake is a creamy Earl Grey Tea Cheesecake with candied sesame and tea syrup—light and delicious!
5. Cake lollipops
Cake lollipops, often referred to as cake pops, are delightful and whimsical treats that combine the goodness of cake with the convenience of a lollipop. These bite-sized confections are made by mixing crumbled cake with frosting, forming them into small balls, and then inserting a stick into each one. The cake pops are typically coated in chocolate or candy melts and decorated with various toppings.
6. Pies and tarts
Miniature pies and tarts provide individual servings, eliminating the need for slicing and making it convenient for guests to enjoy their dessert. This is particularly advantageous in large gatherings where efficiency is key. In addition, pies and tarts can be presented in creative and aesthetically pleasing ways. Whether arranged on tiered stands, displayed on rustic dessert tables, or served in individual portions, their versatile presentation options allow for a unique and beautiful display.
Here are a few examples of pies and tarts for your wedding:
• Big Bold Strawberry Tart – Classic sweet dough pastry shell, strawberry Bavarian mousse, large strawberries, strawberry glaze.
• Chocolate Caramel Tart – Butter tart shell filled with butter caramel and chocolate ganache.
• Bourbon Pecan Chocolate Pie – Elevate the classic pecan pie by adding a touch of bourbon and chocolate. This grown-up twist adds depth and richness to the dessert.
Macarons are delicate and colorful French confections made from almond flour, sugar, and egg whites. These sweet treats are known for their smooth, crisp shells and soft, chewy interiors. They are often filled with a flavorful ganache, buttercream, or fruit jam, creating a delightful combination of textures and tastes.
Macarons are popular and excellent choices for alternative wedding desserts for several reasons. They are known for their exquisite and elegant appearance. With their smooth, colorful shells and uniform size, they add a touch of sophistication to the dessert table. Macarons come in a wide array of colors and flavors, allowing you to coordinate them with your wedding color palette or theme. Macarons can be customized to incorporate personalized touches. This may include monogram designs, edible metallic accents, or decorations that reflect the couple’s interests.
8. Donut displays
Donut displays have gained popularity for weddings for several reasons. Donuts come in a wide variety of flavors, from classic glazed and powdered sugar to more unique options like maple bacon, matcha, or fruity varieties. This allows couples to create a diverse and appealing dessert spread.
Donut displays can be customized to match the wedding theme, color scheme, or even the couple’s personalities. Donut displays add an interactive and fun element to the wedding. Guests can choose their favorite flavors or even participate in a DIY donut decorating station, creating a memorable and engaging experience. Finally, donuts are budget-friendly and easy to handle and serve, making them a practical choice for events with a large number of guests.
9. Ice cream sundae bar
One of the top 2024 wedding trends is creating interactive culinary stations. A great way to incorporate this trend with desserts is to create an ice cream sundae bar. At your venue, designate a dessert table where you can set up the ice cream and all the toppings. Get creative with the additions, including sprinkles, nuts, fresh fruit, candies, and different sauces. Ice cream sundae bars are also a great option for a late-night snack.
10. Fruit skewers
Finally, fruit skewers are a fantastic option for alternative wedding desserts because they offer a light and refreshing end to your dinner. Depending on the season and location of the wedding, you can feature a variety of fruits that are in season. This adds a seasonal and local touch to the dessert menu, enhancing the overall dining experience.
Create a sweet wedding celebration with Florida’s favorite full-service catering company
For over 40 years, Puff `n Stuff has provided the highest level of culinary excellence, precision, and peace-of-mind for Florida’s most renowned weddings and events. We are Florida’s premier full-service event catering company dedicated to crafting unforgettable culinary experiences tailored to your unique vision, which includes providing custom desserts beyond traditional wedding cake.
If you’ve ever been to — or heard about – an extraordinary event celebration in Florida that sticks out in your mind above all the rest, the chances are high that Puff `n Stuff was the catering partner. Whether you’re planning a wedding, corporate gathering, or social event, Puff `n Stuff will help you create an unforgettable dining experience.