As much as we love great big wedding cakes—from naked to fancily dressed—there's a case to be made for a grand finale of intricate pâtisserie confections: single-serving treats that are as gorgeous to display as they are delicious. To inspire you, we gathered them by the dozen from our favorite fine bakeries. And the results are pretty sweet.
Sway to island breezes—or just conjure the mood—with these enticing bites of mango, pineapple, and banana. For a cute design, try Lafayette's glossy banana-caramel entremets, which are topped with chocolate "banana peels" and ringed with chocolate pearls. If you're after something airy and bright, consider the striped slices of pineapple-coconut cake by Burrow. Other tasty options incude the "Mangodor" at Maison Kayser, which is a glazed flavor bomb of mango and black-currant cream, or Eataly's playful mango-mousse twist, the "Zenzero" ("ginger" in Italian), which is topped with candied ginger.
These little gems of fruit, bursting with tangy sweetness, can be baked into untold wonders. For floral flavor, serve Lafayette's "Miss Rose" entremets, which have swirls of rose chantilly and vanilla mousse over layers of pistachio cake and raspberry-rose marmalade. Raspberries, cream, and rose petals also star in Ladurée's "St. Honoré Rose" puff pastry. If cuteness is what you're after, The heart-shaped "Ispahan" at Mille-feuille Bakery is a raspberry-, lychee-, and rose-cream–filled macaron—a valentine for two. Alternatively, skip raspberries and roses altogether and offer Ladurée's "Fraisier," a layered delight of hazelnut, vanilla, and strawberry mousse.
Créme de la Cream
Whipped or custardy cream makes these dreamy desserts decadent, plain and simple. The pastry of Ladurée's "Chou Nougatine" is filled with vanilla cream and crunchy, nutty nougat, for example. Meanwhile, Financier Patisserie's tiramisu is the classic coffee-with-cream combo with mascarpone mousse. The Aux Merveilleux de Fred meringue is a simple piped white swirl, and the "Incroyable" from Aux Merveilleux is meringue with speculoos cookie–flavored whipped cream, coated with white-chocolate flakes. Finally, in Mille-feuille Bakery's "Saint Honoré," caramelized sugar–dipped cream puffs hold vanilla-bean cream.
For some of us, it isn't dessert if it isn't chocolate. If that's the case, try Burrow's "Chocolate Cake Bon Bon" of dark-chocolate cake and ganache cream, which has pretty pink accents. Or, turn to Lafayette's "Young Grasshopper," featuring layers of flourless chocolate cake, mint cream, and chocolate mousse. Lafayette also makes the "Hazelnut Rocher," made with gianduja (chocolate-hazelnut) mousse with orange-cognac cream in a crunchy coating. Yet another yummy option is Eataly's "Terra-cotta," a flourless chocolate cake topped with milk-chocolate mousse and filled with butter caramel.
End the night on a bright note—and practice that pucker—with citrusy sweets. What's better than a classic macaron? A giant lemon version from Bouchon Bakery. We also love the lemon-meringue tarts by Lafayette, which boast lightly-toasted swirls. The lemon cream Ring Ding from Duane Park Patisserie's Ring Ding Bar is worlds away from the foil-wrapped treat you remember. Last but not least, Mille-feuille Bakery's lemon-meringue tart is another traditional take, with a sweet crust and freshly juiced and zested lemons.
Bakedeco Pastry Trays and Boards, from $3.75 for 25, bakedeco.com.