AOW A-Z Of Getting Married – J is for Just Desserts

The AOW A-Z of Getting Married is a resource for brides (and grooms) to be.  It’s a welcome piece of sanity in an industry-saturated world where people are bombarded with what weddings they should have, what they should act like, and how a bride should feel.  Created by the team behind Any Other Woman, this A-Z is the first collaboration of its kind, bringing together posts from readers across the AOW community filled with advice, wisdom and experience from sane, smart, real women, many of whom have been there.  From wedding planning to family trials to breaking taboos, no topic is out of bounds.  We are honoured and excited to run each and every post, and we learn from each and every one of our readers.

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J is for Just Desserts by Aisling

Whilst this post could absolutely have gone into “F is for Food”, who doesn’t want a whole post devoted to pudding? To cakes and sweet breads and tortes and and and and….I’m slipping into a sugar coma at the very thought of it all.

The dessert or cake table is a popular and often seen feature at many weddings, with the idea expanding, as great ideas do, to include sweetie tables and buffets and all manner of coordinated Amy Atlas style awesomeness. This is not something I could ever hope to achieve. Matching is not my thing, straight lines give me a headache and I get an irresistible urge to knock over nice straight stacks of anything, including cake.


Dessert perfection...of one kind...


What I can do, however, is LOTS OF DESSERTS. All in one place. On one table. With paper napkins that don’t match and plastic cutlery for people who are too posh to use their hands. (No-one I know.)


My kind of dessert perfection...


And so, I thought it might be fun/nice/lovely/a bonding exercise if we all shared our favourite desserts, with links to recipes and pictures and who knows? We may provide someone, somewhere, with some inspiration. Which will just be a happy extra, because lets face it… I’m pretty sure I’m going to spend all weekend baking inspired by your suggestions for no other reason than to have cake to eat at the end of it.

As a starting point, here’s what we had on our Cake table at the Alsopp nuptials…

Brownies – Phil made these and he swears by the BBC GoodFood recipe, though he’s more than likely to be found throwing random buts and fruit and kinds of chocolate in depending on his mood. Anna makes these and they’re uhmayzing too.


Brownies! With flags. Completely necessary.


French Fancies – We bought these, good ol’ Mr Kipling, but having been inspired by the messiest episode of The Great British Bake Off EVER, we tried to make our own last week using this recipe. Yeah…. messy. Yummy, but messy.

Cinnamon loaf – I’m not a fan of cinnamon, but apparently this was lush with cherry jam on. Who knew?

Banana bread – Is there a better kind of bread? No. That’s a dumb question. I’ll let you in on the bestest secret ever…toasted banana bread with peanut butter. Totes what I had for breakfast The Morning After.

Flapjacks – I find these can be a bit hit and miss…I’m always so afraid they’ll be dry and dull that I overdose on the honey/molasses combo and end up giving everyone toothache. Scrummy and vaguely wholesome if you get them right though…

Cupcakes – I’ve been obsessing over these beauties of Bex’s since she made them. I must have eaten my body weight in cherries in early pregnancy and the thought of these makes my mouth water!

THE WEDDING CAKE – It’s a design that I see all over the shop now, I (my best friend’s Mum) copied it shamelessly from a styled shoot in a wedding magazine and I can honestly say I’ve never loved a cake more. It was SO beautiful and tasted delicious. I think as long as you have a failsafe Victoria sponge recipe, can whip cream or make a decent buttercream and like fruit, you can make this cake. It also helps to have someone who knows about stacking cakes and dowelling rods and other structural nonsense.


The Cake


So….cake fiends. SHARE!

Categories: A-Z of Getting Married
15 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Katielase
    Posted October 24, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    CAKE!!!!! I want to put my face into your wedding cake. Omnomnom.

    Our wedding cake was three tiers, one was a Delia fruit cake, one was a Delia madeira cake (love that Delia) and the third was the best chocolate cake in the world ever, the recipe for which comes from an Usborne Children’s Cookbook I had when I was 5. I have it scrawled on paper in a folder in my kitchen, it’s quite a long recipe but I’ll email it to any interested parties.

    Oh, I also have an amazing flapjack recipe, it’s failsafe, I used to bake batches at Uni and post them out to people. Immense, I’ll go look it up!

    We always have to have lemon cake in our house because G is obsessed with lemony things, I use this recipe (, but without the violets and I also double the number of lemons to satisfy my husband’s absurd lemon addiction.

    K xx

    • Katielase
      Posted October 24, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      Flapjacks = 6 oz butter, 1 oz golden syrup (1 huge tbsp does it in my kitchen), 4 oz brown sugar, 8 oz oats, 2 oz dessicated coconut, 3 oz raisins or nuts or chopped crystallised ginger or anything else you fancy adding (can totally do without adding anything though)

      Melt the butter, syrup and sugar together, mix in everything else, whack in a baking tray and bake at 180C for 20 mins. YUM!

      Also, got distracted on the Good Food website just now and am seriously desperate for this bad boy…!!

      Also, as ever, the cherry and marzipan cake I wrote up for Weekend Wonderings a while ago remains the best-received cake I have ever made.

      K x

    • Lara Blue
      Posted October 25, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      Katie, I had the exact same impulse when I saw “The Cake”….probably just as well we weren’t at the wedding! :)

  2. SB
    Posted October 24, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    I’m planning on baking the Delia Christmas Cake this weekend but now I might have to make flapjacks too. Yum Katielase! I have a fab ginger cake recipe that I can add later, if anyone’s interested.

    cake cake cakey-cake cake. (now, that looks weird for some reason ….)

    SB x

  3. Posted October 24, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    I really should have heeded your warning on Twitter, Aisling, and not read this until after lunch. Not that meal times are doing much to satiate my ridiculous pregnancy appetite at the moment…

    We went the traditional route with our wedding cake, which was beautifully made by my mother-in-law, but we also had a red velvet cake from the Hummingbird Bakery for people who don’t like fruit cake (namely my brother), although I spent too much time chatting and dancing on the day to actually find time to eat much of either.

    My current favourite thing to make, which would be great for a cake/dessert table, are millionaire’s shortbread – I use this recipe from Waitrose ( which is ridiculously easy, though I usually leave the nuts out. The salted butter in them takes them from great to AMAZING, and I don’t think I’ve ever had so many complements for anything I’ve baked before. I actually made some last week to send to a friend who had just had a baby, though I had to find new levels of selflessness to actually pack them off on their way…


  4. Fee
    Posted October 24, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Our wedding cake was a three tier Dorset apple cake made by my friend’s parents at their bakery in Swanage. If you are ever in the area, pop in and try a slice (it’s Hayman’s bakery on the high street), it is like HEAVEN on a plate.

    My favourite home bake is Nigella’s chocolate Guinness cake, it is super easy and ridiculously delicious –

    I’m hungry now.

  5. Frances
    Posted October 24, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Cake! And desserts! And cake-desserts.

    We chose our cake-maker on the sole basis that she could do orange caramel cake. It’s amazing *drools*

    In terms of making desserts, I don’t even know where to start! My favourite home make is usually whatever I’ve made most recently. I like meringues/pavlova and BBC Good Food has a good recipe for lemon sugar drizzle cake which is good with lemon but even better with orange sugar instead and covered in chocolate buttercream (I can’t seem to find the recipe online but it’s from the same book as Katielase’s cherry and marzipan one) Photos scattered around on blog –

  6. Katie
    Posted October 24, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    I used to make these for the office, on my birthday.

    Not really a cake though, but very easy and went down a storm.

    For a quick and easy cake, I don’t think you can go wrong with lemon drizzle cake.

    These florentines are delicious:

    We had Delia’s Christmas cake recipe, and Delia’s Madeira cake recipe for our wedding.

    I once made Sachertorte, which was delicious, and well worth the effort.

    Also made Delia’s Black Forest roulafe, again a lot of effort, but I can’t think of a nicer way to spend a rainy afternoon:

    I was bought Mary Berry’s Baking Bible last year as a Christmas present, and am very very slowly making my way through the book.

    Ooooohhh, I now want to go and bake everyones suggestions.


  7. Posted October 24, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    This post is not conducive to good Slimming World practices. Someone come and save me before I gorge myself into a sugar coma. Oh for one of Anna K’s brownies right now…

    • Katielase
      Posted October 24, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      I’ve just eaten three fruit Ryvita with low-fat spread. It simply isn’t the same *stares wistfully at cake pictures*

      K x

  8. Crysta
    Posted October 24, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    My favourite dessert to make at the moment is cocoa tiramisu. My boyfriend isn’t a coffee drinker and so he’d never tasted a tiramisu. Which I decided a few months ago was tragic, and decided to rectify it by finding a coffee free recipe. Here’s the one I used:

    I don’t use ramkins or glasses, I just use a square glass dish. I also tried dipping the sponge fingers, got impatient and threw the cocoa on top to soak in as I made the topping. Oh…I also used alcoholic Creme de Cacao. It’s now my boyfriends favourite dessert…It is AMAZING. I may try making a mocha version for myself sometime (with the added advantage/disadvantage that I’ll be the only one eating it)…It’s not great for a dessert table if it’s likely to be sitting around for a while (due to it needing refrigeration), it’s also not great for eating with the fingers…but I thought I’d still share it.

    All this talk of cake is making my tummy rumble!

  9. Peridot
    Posted October 24, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    I’m with Mr Katielase on the lemons – it has to be really lemony. I make a triple lemon cake – lemon sponge, soaked in lemon syrup, iced with lemon icing. That usually does it!

    I also make sweetshop brownies – still quite molten with (in the place of nuts) marshmallows, crushed crunchie bars and crushed werther’s originals. Pretty stupendous though I do say so myself! Usually through a mouthful…

    • Frances
      Posted October 24, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      I HAVE to try that. Preferably now.

  10. Posted October 25, 2012 at 9:19 am | Permalink
    These. Salted caramel is my weakness. These brownies are basically truffles. For actual brownies I always use Green and Black’s recipe, it has never failed.
    CAKE <3

  11. Lara Blue
    Posted October 25, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Favourite family dessert (for birthdays and other special occasions) is a giant pavlova – delicious meringue bottom which is crisp on the outside and chewy inside topped with freshly whipped cream and strawberries (sometimes swapped for raspberries or a mix but usually pure strawberry indulgence, so thankful my birthday is at the height of strawberry season!). The go-to family cake is a dark chocolate and orange cake which cuts into dense slices of intense flavour.
    Husband’s favourite is banana bread so this is what I bake most of the time- I like to try variations so I don’t get bored but his favourite is with sultanas, glace cherries and vanilla icing.
    My favourite cake at the moment is the Good Housekeeping Honey and Spice Loaf Cake. It reminds me of the amazing German christmas lebkuchen (like a mixture between a gingerbread cookie and a cake but with flavours of spice sometimes with a hard sugar crust) but with added honey flavour and an incredible melt-in-mouth texture…yum.
    New cakes I want to make at the moment (in addition to everything above):
    Key Lime Pie as posted on Hollie’s blog

    Chocolate, Pecan and Salted Caramel tart

    This Pistachio and Yoghurt cake because I’m having a love affair with pistachios at the moment (if you have a Frisky’s frozen yoghurt place near you, get the chocolate fro-yo with pistachio topping, it is delicious!)

    Bakewell Tart

    Churros with chocolate sauce- I have a hard copy recipe of this that I have been dying to try since I had churros (a long Spanish donut) in Madrid. I can scan and send it if anyone is desperate for it but there are probably recipes online.

    Oh and look at this beauty….can you imagine making it for a surprise birthday party? Wouldn’t that be too perfect, a secret rainbow cake for a secret party?

    Okay, I think I need to go eat lunch now. Sadly without cake.

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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