If you want a Pinterest-worthy garden party, don’t attempt petit fours and stunning tiers of whimsically decorated cupcakes on your own. Hiring a professional to give your guests the sugar high of the century means the goods are delivered without any of the fretting about whether or not your frosted roses look like dead pink cats or the possibility that you maaaaay have used salt instead of sugar. Professional bakers have successfully ushered hundreds – if not thousands – of tasty desserts to the outdoor buffet. Plus, they have special recipes they’ve spent years tweaking to buttercream-garnished perfection – and most of us have a dessert repertoire that begins and ends with a box of Dunkin Donuts.
“I see a cake as a blank canvas and use buttercream and fondant as my paint,” says sweets maven Liz Felgate. She began baking with her mom as a child – and began baking for everyone else five years ago. Her specialty is fondant cakes – you know, those colorful, intricately coiffed creations. “It gets a bad rap, but there are some pretty tasty fondants out there these days,” she says. “Using fondant to decorate cakes allows me to form all kinds of shapes and replicate other images perfectly.” If you want the roses in your yard recreated on your cake, a dessert artist is the way to go.
Baking takes time, energy, careful calculations, and a whole lot of flour. If you’d rather focus your garden party preparations on pruning your petunias and setting out mason jars of fresh lavender than sweating in a hot kitchen, you’ll want to outsource. Once you calculate the cost of the chocolate and vanilla bean needed to satiate thirty of your closest friends, the extra expense probably won’t feel so prohibitive.
Plus, if you have any gluten-intolerant or cave-folks in attendance, it’s much better to hire a professional than try to mess with almond flour on your own. “I’m just starting to make more gluten free and paleo cakes and desserts, due to a recent medical diagnosis,” Felgate explains. She’s been pleasantly surprised by the results of baking with ingredients like coconut flour. Yep, coconut flour is definitely best left to people who know what they’re doing with the measuring cups.
In the end, it’s just one more thing to take off your plate – while making sure your guests clear theirs. “I’ve made cakes many times, delivered many times, and so I can take that stress away from the client,” says Felgate.
What are some of your favorite backyard party dessert menu items?