Posted July 13, 2020

Think Outside the Cake Box: Alternative Wedding Desserts


Monkey bread

Sweet and gooey monkey bread.

You’ve planned every last detail for your wedding. You’ve found the one. Found the perfect venue. Now you need to decide on the last lingering impression you’ll leave with your guests: dessert.

Traditional wedding cakes are getting more casual. Have you noticed the icebox-frosting craze sweeping across wedding cakes lately? Gone are the days of meticulously piped roses and basket-weave patterns … although we think they could make a comeback in the future. Couples want to see the hand of the pastry chef who created their masterpiece; perfection is out the door. So if you choose to go with a traditional tiered wedding cake, try one without icing. Or step outside of the wedding-cake box all together and serve up some alternative wedding desserts (like sweet and gooey monkey bread, which we’ve provided a recipe for below).

Or try …
Serving cheese instead — Have a tiered cheese “cake” with actual wheels of cheese. If you’re not down with sweets, it’s a great way to end on a savory note.


Healthy alternatives — Serve chilled watermelon gazpacho, fruit kabobs, or blended fruit smoothies for a lighter finish.

Ditching the display — Keep people on the dance floor and ask servers to stand on the edge with smaller passed items. We love mini Key lime pies, lavender-salted caramel doughnut holes, and flourless chocolate-cakes.

chicken and waffle skewers

Chicken-and-waffle skewers.

Breakfast for dinner — Try setting up a waffle bar or crêpe station instead of cake. Go crazy and serve candied bacon, sausage biscuits, or chicken-and-waffle skewers (we love a honey Sriracha sauce) to go along with them. The list could go on forever.

Going old school — Put easy-to-grab salted hash browns or golden french fries in brown paper bags (copper tins also dial up the style factor) and serve mini-milkshakes with brightly colored straws.

Requesting Monkey Bread — Serve one for each table. They’re messy but a heck of a lot of fun. You could even ask the chef to make monkey bread muffins in smaller sizes for each place setting. Here’s a recipe to whip up a batch at home.

Monkey Bread8 servings

Pastry Chef Nicole Rutter, B&O American Brasserie, Baltimore

4 large egg yolks
1 large egg
2 ounces sugar
3 ounces unsalted butter, melted
6 ounces buttermilk
20 ounces all-purpose flour
2¼ teaspoons instant dry yeast
1¼ teaspoons kosher salt

8 ounces unsalted butter
8 ounces light brown sugar
½ teaspoon rosemary, finely chopped

2½ ounces unsalted butter melted
1 teaspoon rosemary, finely chopped
2 ounces sugar
1½ ounces cinnamon

Dough: Whisk together the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter and buttermilk.
Add about 2 cups of the flour, yeast and the salt to the egg mixture.
Transfer to a stand mixer and attach a dough hook.
Add the remaining flour and knead on low speed for five minutes. Check the consistency of the dough; it should feel soft and moist but not sticky.
Knead the dough until it clears from the sides of the bowl.
Knead by hand for about 30 seconds and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let the dough double in volume.

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine 8 ounces of butter, brown sugar and rosemary.
Pour half of the topping into the bottom of your cake or bundt pan; save the remaining topping for later.

Melt the butter and rosemary in a saucepan and set aside for assembly.
Combine cinnamon and sugar in a bowl.

Portion the dough in half ounce pieces. Roll the dough balls in the coating and then in the cinnamon-sugar mixture and place in the pan.
Cover the pan in plastic and let the dough rest in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Remove from refrigerator and set in a warm place to let the dough rise for about 20 to 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes; 15 minutes into baking, pour the rest of the topping over the bread.
Once finished, let it cool for 5 minutes, then invert onto a plate and serve.
Optional: Top with fresh fruit.

— Nelle Somerville
Catering Sales Manager, Hotel Monaco Baltimore

For more creative ideas, link to Nelle’s wedding dessert-inspired Pinterest Board.


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One Comment

  1. Jennifer sawyer says:

    I heart everything about this. I personally want actual cheesecake then give all the guest their cakes at their tables.