New This Month

Expert Advice from Dessert Stylist Amy Atlas

Known For
Creating amazing goodie displays and penning her new book, "Sweet Designs: Bake It, Craft It, Style It"
Where to Find Her
Amy Atlas Events in New York City 

Weddings today often go way beyond the traditional cake. What are you seeing?
Many people do dessert bars or have trays of sweets passed. We've circulated old-school cigarette trays, for example, and made platters to look like soccer fields with ice cream pops as players for a groom who loved the game. It's as much about presentation as flavor.

Should dessert "match" the style and theme of the reception?
It doesn't have to, but it's great to surprise people. You can do something unexpected like have a diner-style sweets cart after a formal sit-down dinner. What's most important is creating a "moment." Dessert is the very last piece of the event -- it should be something guests remember.

If you're offering several treats, do the flavors have to complement each other?
Not necessarily. The desserts themselves can be anything as long as the presentation is cohesive. I often put gourmet sweets, like rosemary pine-nut cookies, beside fun ones, such as cake pops. You basically want a range of flavors that will appeal to everyone, and then you tie it all together with a uniform palette for the foods, packaging, and signage. Choose two colors and a neutral accent like brown, gray, or a metallic, for instance, and use white platters and vessels to give the eye a bit of a resting place.

How many options does a buffet require, and how much of each should you serve?
Stick to six to eight offerings [see Atlas's favorites below]. There's no formula for how much people will eat, so put out more than seems necessary. Also, buy candy in bulk, and it can double as an affordable favors bar with customized bags or boxes -- plan on six to eight ounces per person, and have someone refill candy as needed, so it never looks picked over.

What about a dessert table on a budget?
Some of the most popular choices are inexpensive, like marshmallows, cupcakes, and crispy rice treats. Cotton candy makes a big impact because it's so dramatic-looking.

Any suggestions for favors, besides candy?
Iced sugar cookies are great. Or gooey chocolate cookies -- just be sure to line the boxes with wax paper.

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