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How To Style A Dessert Table

dessert table

One of the most delightful parts about throwing a party is planning the dessert. Easily the prettiest course on the menu, desserts tap into our sense of play and creativity. This however does not mean it has to be over the top elaborate, unless that is the theme of your party.

Tiers of delicately decorated cupcakes, a platter of truffles and rows of unusually-flavoured macarons are often more than enough to send guests into sweet heaven. The key is in the presentation, and this is where dessert tables play a starring role.

Dessert designer and founder of Nectar and Stone, Caroline Khoo, is no stranger to creating exquisite desserts and designing dessert tables.

Also read: Four Sweet Truths From A Dessert Designer

But before she even thinks about what to serve, Caroline considers four main factors – the location, the weather, the occasion and the colour palette. When she does start planning her dessert menu, she always sticks to her rules of keeping things simple and never serving a dessert she has never made before.

“Often people get overexcited and want to go all out for their dessert spread. But the best thing you can do is to make desserts that you know well. If you really want to serve an elaborate dessert, then allow yourself a month to trial it. Not the night before.”

For a summer Christmas dessert table, Caroline recommends serving up desserts that are refreshing and thirst-quenching like fresh seasonal fruit with light-as-air mousse or a chocolate cake with gourmet ice-cream and topped with a handful of berries.

Here are five ways to style a dessert table that will have people talking about long after the last crumb is gone.


1. Keep your spread realistic

A basic formula to keep in mind is 1-2 specialty items plus 1-3 homemade items or dressed up grocery items plus 2-3 candies to fill out the table. And serve an assortment of flavours and textures to satisfy a range of palates.


2. Find a focal point

If you are serving a beautiful cake with the dessert table, lift it a little higher on a pretty cake stand and place it in the middle of the table. A large floral centerpiece or a tiered stand with desserts can also be a focal point but gorgeous cakes should always be the star.


3. Play with height

Creating different levels in height will keep the eyes moving and make your dessert table more visually interesting. Either start designing from the center moving outward or from both ends moving inward.


4. Manage your space

Group your desserts together rather than spread them across the table to create an abundant look. If your table is too large, fill the empty spaces with non-food items like flowers placed on candlesticks or apothecary jars filled with ornaments. Or designate one end of the table to desserts and the other to a display of party favours, photographs or a floral arrangement.


5. Play with colour

Splash out unexpected colour palettes with two main colours for a punch and a neutral accent colour to ground the look. If you are using a patterned tablecloth, be sure to use lots of white on the table to avoid it looking cluttered.


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