Pure and simple ingredients transform these creations into confections that look as good as they taste.
Photography: Linda Pugliese1 of 6
These decadent cakes created by contributing editor Jason Schreiber come by their pretty hues naturally—berries make beautiful pink fillings and frostings, and nuts and cocoa lend themselves to batters that are a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds.
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Raise a glass (or a slice) to our Champagne tower upgrade: a three-tier kir royale cake inspired by the champers and crème de cassis cocktail. Schreiber mixed bubbly into the batter and black-currant jam into the Swiss meringue buttercream. Cheers!
Tip: No need to spring for the French stuff. Your caterer can pop prosecco, cava, or riesling into this batter instead, as long as the variety classifies as sparkling wine.
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Satisfy sweet (and spicy!) palates with a carrot cake featuring allspice, cinnamon, and candied ginger. Chopped carrots tint the batter, while their juices, when mixed with turmeric juice, color the cream cheese frosting. Each layer is a slightly darker hue to create an ombré effect, much like a rising sun. And what’s more organic than that?
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Part sugary and wholly delicious, this pale green dream gets its chartreuse shade from coarsely ground and paste versions of Sicilian pistachios (which have a more striking hue than other varieties). Each round is layered with lemon syrup and white-chocolate ganache, and the top is garnished with chopped nuts to ensure ample crunch.
Tip: Display one gâteau per table for a dessert course that’s more affordable, but just as impactful, as a multi-tiered number. To have a traditional cutting photo op, stack two cakes—a regular-sized round and a mini—atop a cake stand. Then you’ll have one to slice and another to freeze for your first anniversary.
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Suitably splendid for a ballroom celebration but wholesome enough for a backyard picnic, this blackberry and whipped-cream creation exemplifies farm-to-(sweets) table cuisine. It tastes like a teatime treat (think scones with jam and clotted cream) and would look right at home at a country estate, thanks to marbleized frosting that’s colored with crushed berries.
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With a chocolate-cinnamon cookie base piled high with frozen coffee custard, cocoa crunches, frozen vanilla bean custard, and whipped cream, this single serving cinnamon-mocha ice cream cake looks like a cappuccino, tastes like heaven, and gives guests a late-reception energy boost—no additional milk, cream, or sugar required.
Tip: To serve this reimagined cup of coffee, have staff present one to each guest on a saucer, which will catch any melting ice cream and let them spoon up what remains.