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4 desserts for couples who aren't into wedding cake

Wedding Cake Alternative
It may sound odd, but cake just doesn't tickle everyone's fancy. So if you wouldn't normally reach for a slice (or slab) of cake, why would you have one on your wedding day?
Answer: you wouldn't. It doesn't matter if it's a traditional fruitcake, a dense chocolate mud or an oh-so-hot-right-now naked sponge, because if you don't like cake, it probably shouldn't make an appearance on your wedding menu - it is your day, after all. But you know we'd never let anyone go without dessert (and we mean, like, ever), so we've chatted to some whiz-bang bakers and pastry chefs about their sweet alternatives to the old-school wedding cake. Be warned: if you're reading on an empty stomach, stand by for some serious tummy grumbles.

Stack 'em up...

Wedding Cake Alternative
Introducing the dessert tower... because one level of sugar-laced sweeties is never enough. Just ask Ashlee Henry from Crème de la Cakes in Melbourne. “As much as I love cake, there is something really exciting about turning up to a wedding and seeing something other than cake for dessert,” Ashlee says. “Dessert towers have been a real hit, with guests devouring two to three of the dessert pots on offer to make sure they have every flavour!”

Put simply, a dessert tower is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: several levels of different flavoured desserts – think white chocolate cheesecakes, deconstructed lemon meringue pie and decadent chocolate mousse. And it all started when a client of Ashlee’s wanted a dessert out of the ordinary. “A male client wanted something ‘less feminine’ than a cupcake or cake pop tower for his 40th birthday, but still wanted something interactive that his guests could sink their teeth into.” And so, the dessert tower was born.

Ashlee knows that even though some couples aren’t into cake, they may not want to miss out on the ‘cake cutting’ tradition, so she includes a small cutting cake on top of each tower. Each dessert tower includes two dessert pots per guests, and can be customised to suit your tastes. 

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A sweet spread...

Wedding Cake Alternative
A cousin of the lolly table and the big sister of the dessert tower is the dessert buffet. And yes, while it’s not exactly a newcomer to the cake alternative scene, that doesn’t make it any less delicious – or impressive. “Dessert buffets have been a great new trend, evolving from classic candy to options such as slices, tarts, gourmet cupcakes and macarons,” Ashlee says. “So there’s something for everyone!”

Having a dessert buffet at your wedding is your chance to have your patisserie and eat it too. It’s also your chance to bust out your apron and unleash your inner masterchef: opting to bake some, or all, of the desserts yourself is a sneaky way of keeping costs down. If you don’t know your fluted tart tins from your madeline trays, get your leading ladies, friends and mum in on the baking action, and tick off your kitchen tea or hen’s do at the same time. 

To run rings around other desserts...

Wedding Cake Alternative
It’s no surprise that the doughy baked good du jour has made its way from the pastry shop on to wedding dessert menus. And for that, we are so, so happy – and you should be too. A doughnut pile or tower is a unique, on-trend alternative that makes the most of Homer Simpson’s favourite treat, as well as being fun and non-traditional. Kate Williams from Nodo does just that. “We do doughnut cakes, so doughnuts stacked beautifully on top of each other, decorated with fresh flowers or fruit depending on the theme.”

Offering your guests individual portions from a smattering of varieties and flavours is an easy way to take care of fussy eaters, as well as food intolerances. “Our doughnuts are all gluten free, so [with a doughnut cake] you can cater for people at your wedding who have dietary requirements while still appealing to everyone else.” And don’t go thinking that Nodo doughnuts are deep-fried, because they’re not. Instead, Kate bakes her doughnuts, so you know you won’t feel guilty about tucking into one... or five.

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Top of the pops...

Wedding Cake Alternative
Wanna have the coolest cake alternative going around, in both the temperature and trend stakes? Icy cold popsicles make for a super scrumptious dessert, and are especially perfect for warm weather weddings. That’s where Liana Raine Artisan Pops come in. Liana Raine offers a selection a handcrafted popsicles made with fresh, seasonal Australian fruit. Expect flavour combos like strawberries and cream, watermelon and lemonade, spicy mango, salted coconut and apricot melba; for your day, you’ll get to choose from a range of flavours.

“A great way to present the pops is to pile them sky high on  a vintage wooden board, sprinkle with edible flowers and have waiters carry the boards out,” says Amy O’Hara from Liana Raine. “Instead of cutting the cake, the bride and groom link arms and each take a bite out of their pop.” To add an extra something-something to your day, go all out and opt to have Liana Raine’s vintage popsicle cart roll up to your reception. “The pop combined with the cart makes for some gorgeous photo moments and, on a hot day, helps keep everyone cool and hydrated.”

If the lure of serious wedding points wasn’t enough, Liana Raine can customise the popsicle sticks for you too; they’ll also take care of serving them on the day. Oh, and the popsicles can be gluten and dairy free. Too easy. 

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