Marie Antoinette famously said ‘let them eat cake’. It was, you know, the reason that they cut her head off in the end: the French Royal Family couldn’t comprehend that the poor had no bread, so assumed that if there was some sort of bread shortage, the peasants could instead just nip down to their local Patisserie and pick up a gateaux. Or perhaps some Croissants. Maybe a Chocolate Éclair. She couldn’t have fathomed that the problem was they had no money for the bread that was, for them, so readily available. She had rather missed the point…
Abigail Bloom on the other hand (who I am in no way comparing to Marie Antoinette) has rather fantastically completely got the point with her new range of dessert tables. Bite-sized pieces of baked good heaven displayed stylishly en masse, enticing her numerous customers’ guests to just take one. Or two. Because they’re only small and completely calorie free* due to their diminutive size.
(*They are not actually calorie-free. That would be impossible. A little fact for you reader is that if you licked the screen of your IPhone you could ingest around 5 calories. I digress.)
Abigail’s tables of poppet sized deliciousness invite you to eat several cakes, and all completely without that hideous guilty feeling that can follow your share of a cupcake mountain. Because there’s always someone who isn’t eating theirs (although in this case, they are so tiny they just might). And it would be ever so rude not to eat it for them. Waste not and all that. But alas, no matter how many times I have tucked a butter creamed beauty in my bag ‘for the children tomorrow’ inevitably, towards the bottom of (another) bottle of Prosecco I find myself reaching for it because the kids will never know… It is only the next morning, when I find myself searching for the paracetamol to numb my Prosecco-based headache, that I find those pesky crumbs and the lingering splat of buttercream (always leaving grease marks so much more fatty looking than the icing feels) leaving a literal ‘bad mother’ mark on my new vintage clutch bag lining.
But enough about me and my shoddy parenting and inability to turn down good cake… or cake of any sort to be honest, (but here we are talking about exceptionally good cake. I know, I have had at least two slices. Consecutively), Abigail’s dessert tables are in-genius because this is the kind of dilemma they avoid. You can take two and eat them guilt free. Likewise, if you’re normally the kind of guest that could ‘never eat a whole one’ they are half sized, just for you. You have no excuse not to partake. Even those with food intolerances can be catered for, how about a gluten-free brownie or a sugar-free lemon posset? If you insist, if you insist.
Dessert tables create a striking visual centre point to any wedding. While many of Abigail’s tables are styled around a central cake, she is quick to point out that the Bride’s bouquet can form the centre to the display, or some flowers from the church carried over by a guest: dessert tables can really work for your money making the need for a dessert from the venue defunct or providing a beautiful part of your evening catering.
We caught up with Abigail to chat through her gorgeous new dessert tables and what they offer her clients.
We love a dessert bar and are totally crushing over your new collection, can you talk us through your designs and your inspiration behind the launch of this service?
“I’ve been wanting to do it for a long time, but with the launch of the new website, it really gave me the push. Brides want more flexibility now. They want choice. They want interaction between their guests and their food. I am a trained cordon bleu chef, and so I do all the pastry myself. It makes a huge difference.
“Many brides want to have the option of just more than the cake and they are finding more ways to be inventive and give the guest more choice. I think it is an area where visually you can be very creative and it can fit every type of wedding from Vintage to high glamour. It is something we have wanted to be able to offer for some time and so glad we have now got here at last. It’s almost that weddings work really well the more interactive the food becomes, it creates talking points and more atmosphere than one sit down course. It can of course also allow a late dessert bar which can work for evening guests and the main guests still get their regular dessert – so it just has lots of flexibility and it, of course, adds something unique visually.
“It’s important that every one of my clients gets what they want. Not what’s been done to conform. The dessert tables are an extension of that and being able to offer huge flexibility and for them to get exactly what they want. Some are based around a large central cake, but they needn’t be. The impact that a dessert table has from a distance is fantastic. I believe in having a focal point, but as you come in closer your eyes are drawn into lots of smaller focal points.”
I think a lot of brides worry about the cost of a dessert bar…
“I think it is very easy for costs to go over and above your budget, but there are always ways to stick to your budget – you may not have a 12 foot long table covered in items but we work hard to try and provide different alternatives for different budgets – having said that you won’t be able to create a dessert bar for 100 for £200.00 – so it also requires some research on the brides part and if in doubt just get in touch and explain your situation and budget, perhaps there are creative ways to use the dessert table which means you can allow slightly more budget than first allowed. This can replace the dessert you would traditionally have (and its cost) and can also be used for the evening guests too. Jars filled with bright sweets can pad out a table and add interest. Chocolate dipped strawberries are a great (and inexpensive) addition. Even simple things such as reusing some of the church flowers or even the bride’s maid’s bouquets on the table can help reuse things that have been used earlier on in the day. Perhaps friends and family may also have some fabulous crockery that you can use.”
For three bites for a wedding of 80-100 what would be the average cost? What can your clients choose from?
For three bites a person, for 80-100 I would be looking at £675.00 There are always ways to reduce this for the budget conscious couple, there are less complicated designs, but as a guide, this is what I would suggest.
Our off the peg choices (of which we have a minimum order of 25 pieces per item) are:
- Mini Cupcakes
- Fondant Fancies (Vanilla sponge only)
- Cake Pops
- Cookie Pops (iced cookies on a stick)
- Shortbread (bagged or not)
- Retro Viennese Whirls (bagged or not)
- Truffles (dark chocolate, milk chocolate or raspberry and white chocolate centre with a white chocolate coating).
- Macarons – Our Macarons are currently supplied to us by the fabulous Anges De Sucre and we liaise with them to bring in your perfect flavour choices
We have a fully bespoke service too where we can offer a wider range, more dessert based choices (such as lemon posset, mini meringues, mini cheesecakes, but you have to be mindful that these cannot sit on a table all day without spoiling). We can liase with the venue if something needs to be chilled. It’s often easier in terms of keeping the items fresh if you have more of a Cream Tea theme, but beautiful bites of little Chocolate pots or small Prosecco jellies are divine, if you have the ability to store them until needed.”
Styling is so important, how do you go about working with a couple to design a dessert table that fits with their venue and wedding design?
“The starting point for your dessert table is for us to know what you already serving throughout the day and evening, this allows us to tailor our items to fit in but not to be repeated at any point. You need to really have a good idea of all the stationary designs and finishes (from invites to the written menu on the table) and ideally flowers and of course the room it is going to go in – or the choices we have for the dessert table to go in. Ideally, if you can make a mood board up then this really enables us to visually create a dessert table of your dreams. You can also think of ways of letting your guest know what each items is with creative styling to match the stationery of the day or simply use mini blackboards placed towards the back.”
What are your top tips for making a dessert table sublime?
“The right location for the table is important as is the right size of the table for the room. It’s important for us to match the bride and grooms’ vision. I think it is about creating the dessert table as a focal point – but within that the table must have its own highlights – the table needs to be balanced with height, texture, colour and variety and types of dessert items and if at all possible work the wall behind the table and also ask your florist for a contribution to really take the table from lovely to beautiful and stunning and wow! Your table is based completely on getting the food colour to match your day or a more natural one where only accents match the colour and theme. The more food based (rather than cake/afternoon tea type items) then the less likely the dessert table will be exactly matching. The dessert table wants to be an experience itself.”
Styling of Image 1 By Penelope Cullen Tigerlily weddings for Abigail Bloom
All other images Via Tigerlily’s Pinterest
Words By Harriet Rouse Tigerlily