Inspired by St. Valentine and everything sweet, I wanted to create an easy dessert table to enjoy at home.
While I was inspired by the red, pink, and white colors associated with the holiday, you can also create similar dessert tables for any occasion, be it a birthday party, bridal shower, or even just in lieu of passed cookies and brownies at a cocktail party. For a birthday, be inspired by the guest of honor’s favorite colors, hobbies, or interests (e.g. favorite TV show, movie, or cartoon character). For a cocktail party, be inspired by color and choose a couple tones that will guide what serving pieces, cocktail napkins, and flowers you use — and maybe even the food you serve. It's really easy to put together; try it for yourself, with these helpful hints.
Credit: Andrea Chan-Diliberto
Inspired by Bakerella’s infamous Cake Balls, I recently created a less-sweet but equally-addictive variation that I call “cookie truffles.” For Valentine’s Day, I coated them in melted candy coating that I tinted pink with food coloring gel. But you can also experiment with different kinds of chocolate, like dark or white, or garnish a plain dipped truffle with a white chocolate drizzle, coconut flakes, a dried cherry — whatever strikes your fancy (and coordinates with the rest of the décor). I also made a batch of vanilla cupcakes and baked heart-shaped sugar cookies. For fun, I made little chocolate hearts to serve along with my cookie truffles on a bed of Red Vines. The hearts are so easy to make, too: spoon melted chocolate onto wax paper, quickly making heart shapes with the back of a spoon, and chill the chocolate hearts overnight to set.
In addition to these homemade treats, I purchased a variety of red, pink, and white candies, like jelly beans, Sweet Tarts, conversation hearts, chocolate hearts, and Valentine’s Day-colored M&M’s, that together add color to the table.
Credit: Andrea Chan-Diliberto
I love white dishware. I have a couple of plain rectangular serving dishes that are perfect for serving cookies, truffles, and cupcakes. I add a layer of candy or chocolate chips on the plate, and then add the desserts on top. I also like having different heights, so I use cake platters, cake stands, and boxes wrapped with wrapping paper and ribbon to create a multi-dimensional display (you can also stack two different-sized cake plates on top of each other). For smaller candies like M&M’s, you could serve them in large jars with small scoops, like you might find in an old-fashioned candy shop; however, I settled on a simpler method of using glass tumblers and arranged them around the table in between the trays and cake plates.
A Crafty Touch
For any dessert table, I like to have a backdrop made out of wrapping paper, a tablecloth, or any other fabric. On the table, I use scrapbook paper as "placemats" under the different plates and trays staggered about. While I used conversation hearts atop the cupcakes for Valentine’s Day, I also love making little homemade cupcake toppers. All you need to do is print images on cardstock, punch them with a craft punch, and use a hot glue gun to glue them to lollipop sticks. They are so easy to make, and look great, too!