In this installment, Faye talks wedding cakes and desserts.
John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. Today, I’m here with Faye Broderick, Senior Consultant at the Essex Room, a wedding venue on the North Shore of Massachusetts. Today, we’re here to talk about cakes and desserts. Welcome, Faye.
Faye Broderick: Thank you for having me, John.
John: Sure. The first question is “To cake or not to cake?”
Faye: The first question to ask yourself when you’re thinking about whether or not to have a wedding cake is “Why do you want a wedding cake?” Do you want a wedding cake because you like cake? Do you want a wedding cake because you want photos of yourself cutting the cake or the ever‑popular smashing cake into your new spouse’s face? That is where I would start with trying to decide whether I want a cake or not, and go from there, because…
John: What’s the reason for having it?
Faye: What’s the reason for having it? Is it because it’s traditional? Is it because you, again, just like cake? Is there some other reason behind it? And go from there. That will lead you to where you’re going to find a baker, perhaps what kind of baker you need, and how large of a cake you need.
John: What are some other dessert options? I know that at my wedding, we had a cake, but then, because I happen to like pie a lot, we also had a separate, little groom’s pie, if you will, next to the cake. That was an additional little thing. Are there other options that people are going with, besides just having a cake?
Faye: There are so many options, it’s silly. Pie, especially in the fall and the winter. Apple pie. Strawberry rhubarb pie in the summer months. There’s a pie for every season. There is someone out there who would just love to have pies.
We’ve actually done that quite a few times, especially a bunch of pies in varying flavors on a buffet. People can pick their pie, maybe have some ice cream with their pie or some whipped cream. It’s just a pie fest.
John: Now you’re talking my language. [laughs]
Faye: If that’s where you decide to go. You can also choose miniature desserts. Maybe an assortment, like some lemon or key lime tartlets, cheesecake bars, or actually, speaking of cheesecake, a cheesecake buffet, which is almost like a sundae bar, in a way.
With the sundae bar, you pick your ice cream, you pick your toppings. You can do that with cheesecake. You throw out your cheesecake…
John: Have a plain cheesecake and then have different toppings, strawberries, or whatever you want.
Faye: The strawberries, the chocolate, the caramel, the nuts. It’s an ice cream sundae bar, just a step up…
Faye: …for those people that love cheesecake. The ice cream sundae bar is also ever‑popular, and not just in the summer. We see that all year round.
Something fun, if you are ice cream people, is the ice cream novelty truck. You name it, there’s a dessert out there for you.
John: You could have an ice cream truck come right to the wedding?
Faye: We can. We can have an ice cream truck come to the wedding. There’s actually a cupcake truck that will come out, let you pick your flavor of cupcake, and let you pick your flavor of ice cream. They’ll build your cupcake for you. There’s also a whoopie pie truck that’s local. They do whoopie pies in probably seven or eight flavors. They do different fillings. They’ll mash together a whoopie pie for you. There’s actually a cookie truck that will come and do custom cookie ice cream sandwiches as well.
John: You can really go outside the box and not just do that traditional cake like everybody always did for years.
Faye: Absolutely. Sometimes, it is fun to think outside the box in that way because, once everybody leaves your wedding, they’re going to be talking about that fun, maybe unusual, totally untraditional thing that they saw at your wedding.
John: Something that distinguishes your wedding from everybody else’s wedding that they’ve been to.
John: What kind of dessert service should I choose? Do I do a stationed service, like you were talking about, like the bar that you go up to and get your dessert? Or do I have them serve the cake to everybody?
Faye: Usually, I would recommend a stationed cake and stationed dessert in general. Dessert is a little tough because people have been sitting a while, usually, once the time has come around to dessert.
They want to get up. They want to socialize. They want to dance. They don’t want to be stuck at the table eating another course. They just want to move on to the party.
I also recommend a station, especially if you’re serving things that are different flavors. We talked about the pies and the assortment.
That would also apply to a cake that maybe has different flavors within the different tiers, which is hugely popular when people are selecting cakes. Especially if you’re going to offer an assortment of desserts, you definitely want to choose a station.
However, if you choose a served dessert, a plated dessert, something individual, an individual chocolate mousse torte, or something like that, that I would serve.
You especially want have the staff concentrate on serving those guests who have remained at their seat first and, if there are any desserts left, perhaps stationing those for those guests who have gotten up to go and get when they’re ready to have it.
John: What about allergies? I know these days, a lot of people have nut allergies or dairy intolerance, or maybe they’re vegan and don’t eat eggs, and things like that. How do you handle that when you’re selecting desserts?
Faye: The kind of, if we can call it, wonderful thing about the way that we all eat these days, because we all have differences and maybe an issue here or there, is that a lot of the bake shops and chefs are adapting to that.
There are bakeries that are completely nut‑free. There are bakeries that offer gluten‑free and vegan options. Generally speaking, even if cake is still your thing, there’s someone out there that’s going to make a cake to meet your dietary needs, as well as the needs of your taste buds. There are also other alternatives to cake, again, that maybe would fix those dietary requirements for you when you’re choosing your dessert.
John: Faye Broderick, thanks very much for speaking with me.
Faye: Thank you.
John: For more information and helpful tips on wedding planning, visit the Essex Room at essexroom.com, or call 978‑768‑7335.