Open Season

Dessert tables that celebrate the time of year are sweet ways to show your style



The bright melon colors and bold stripes on this white chocolate fondant cake by Marcee Kitchen of Dippidee (801-756-4383, would fit right in at a preppy summer party. To achieve the dessert’s clean lines, fondant stripes are individually cut, placed, and fused on an acetate band. The band is then wrapped around the tiers, which are lightly frosted in lemon buttercream. Inside, eight layers of cake alternate between moist lemon and white chocolate with a white chocolate raspberry filling. Kitchen says fondant is key for warm weather weddings: “Hot and humid conditions definitely pose a threat to cake. Fondant is ideal because it helps insulate the cake and keeps it from overheating. It’s more durable than buttercream, and it won’t melt in the sun.”

• Nothing says sun-drenched shindig quite like fruity pies and fresh lemonade. Mini key lime, blueberry, and mandarin orange and grapefruit pies from Sugar Daddy Sweet Shoppe (801-231-0797, are perfectly sized for dessert buffets or take-home favors. Quench guests’ thirst with Les Madeleines’ (801-355-2294, house-made strawberry lemonade.

Lanterns: Soirée Productions. Pedestals: Bed Bath & Beyond. Glasses: Crate & Barrel. Dishes, flatware, and tablecloth: Diamond Rental. Runner: BBJ Linen




When the last of autumn’s colorful leaves have dropped, the Wasatch Front and Back are left with a landscape of starkly beautiful trees. This old-fashioned naked layer cake topped with a nest of delicate spun sugar by Jen Sorensen of The Honey House (801-871-5847, feels right for the season. Sorensen, a fan of fondant-free desserts, says this molasses spice cake with pecan praline and bourbon buttercream tastes like a slice of pecan pie and a hot toddy rolled into one—buttery and caramely, with a hint of cinnamon. “I want the exterior of a cake to reflect the interior—a preview of things to come,” she explains of the cake’s unfrosted appearance.

• Celebrate the warm cozy, feel of the season with decadent desserts. Your guests will flip for Les Madeleines’ (801-355-2294, mini kouign amann (a rich, buttery treat named 2012 Pastry of the Year by Food & Wine); chocolate verrine shots with layers of devil’s food cake, chocolate ganache, chocolate cremeux, chocolate mousse, and a hint of Grand Marnier; and mugs of “liquid apple pie” made with cider, assam tea, and house-made pumpkin spice syrup. Finish off the spread with Sweet Janes’ (801-244-5511, dark and milk chocolate sea salt caramels, and caramel apples dipped in white chocolate and cinnamon sugar or rolled in milk chocolate and toasted coconut.

Paper leaves: Soirée Productions. Dishes, chargers, flatware, and tablecloth: Diamond Rental. Runner: BBJ Linen




The rich tones and architectural structure of this moist bittersweet chocolate cake by Ray Lammers, executive pastry chef at Montage Deer Valley (435-604-1300, make it the perfect centerpiece for a sophisticated winter affair. Lammers filled the cake with layers of dark chocolate truffle and imported raspberry jam; then covered it in fondant with silver and black stenciled details, and dark chocolate and silver-highlighted flowers. It took Lammers twenty-five hours over a five-day period to create the elegant confection.

• Kristin Spear of Soirée Productions used a sleek, neutral palette of slate and white to build a dessert table that says classy winter chic rather than holiday camp. Indulge guests with sparkling wine, Prosecco, or Champagne, and Belgian and French chocolate truffles filled with creamy chocolate ganache, made in-house at Montage Deer Valley.

Paper snowflakes and Champagne flutes: Soirée Productions. Dishes, flatware, and tablecloth: Diamond Rental. Runner: BBJ Linen



Janna Ellis of Granite Bakery and Bridal Showcase (801-483-2253, had seasonal blooms in mind when she created this stunning petal cake. Soft gray fondant covers the cake, and an elegant cascade of handmade sugar petals adorns the front. The cake’s four tiers, each slightly different in height to sculpt a slender look, feature multiple flavors: two tiers are a combination of orange dream cake and Bavarian cream filling; the other two tiers are pear cake with raspberry cream cheese filling.

• When the cake is elegant enough to be black-tie but it also feels right for more casual celebrations, your dessert spread should be equally versatile. A color-coordinated buffet of highbrow and down-home treats gets the job done. A perfect pairing: pretty pastel macarons in inventive flavors like green tea chai, lemon and Earl Grey, and lavender and vanilla bean, with layered lemon-cream whipped custards made by Tiffany Spegar of Food Finery (801-840-0373,

Paper butterflies: Soirée Productions. Lace-detail plates: Pier 1 Imports. Tablecloth, platter, and flatware: Diamond Rental. Runner: BBJ Linen