Don’t tax your guests with a heavy dessert after a big meal. Instead, pick light desserts with bright flavours. Heidi Tan, the head chef and owner of Flor Patisserie, recommends a strawberry shortcake that is a tall, fluffy vision of a fluffy sponge cake simply dressed with velvety cream and juicy strawberries, or Bara – a pretty dessert comprising a rosette of rose cremeux piped on a base of longan bavarois and sponge cake. Don’t try making this at home, though. It took Tan seven months to perfect.
EASY DOES IT
If you want to impress your guests with a home-made dessert, Tan recommends trying your hand at either a chocolate fondant or a pavlova, both popular confections that are not too technically challenging.
SPREAD IT OUT
Why not surprise your guests with a dessert spread – rather than a single item – at the end of the meal? “The most elaborate table that we’ve done so far was for a pastel masquerade-themed wedding held at Shangri-la Hotel for 250 guests. The table was 12 foot in length and featured a variation of whole cakes and petit desserts. It was embellished with flowers, tea lights, pearls and mirrors to finish the overall look. This project took approximately six weeks to plan, design and execute,” shares Fides Chua and Thea Tan, the co-founders of Once Upon a Table, which specialises in dessert tables.
Chua and Tan share simple ways to make a plain home-baked cake look impressive.
A dusting of icing sugar is the quickest way to add that finishing touch to a cake. You can also use doilies or stencils to create patterns on the cake.
Invest in a classic cake stand that you can use time and time again. Good tableware can make any cake look impressive instantly.
Serve it with a sauce or cream on the side. This adds colour and makes the overall presentation more refined.
The key to setting up a beautiful dessert table is to keep it simple, make it true to your own style, and have fun. But here are some other pointers.
Set a theme, even just a pattern or a certain style, to build a cohesive design for the dessert table.
PICK A COLOUR PALETTE
Focus on having two main colours and a neutral tone. Also consider the colours of the desserts, to ensure the table is harmonious.
CREATE A FOCAL POINT
The star of the table doesn’t always have to be a celebration cake, you can also have a large floral centrepiece or a tiered stand of desserts.
KEEP IT BALANCED
Have a combination of petit desserts and whole cakes and tarts displayed on a variety of tableware with different heights.
DRESS IT UP
Add little accents such as tea lights and small blooms, or frame the table with a backdrop or banner, to add some depth. Don’t forget tags for the desserts so that your guests know what they’re eating!