Last spring, after years of baking cookies for friends and family, native Washingtonian Patti Greenstein decided it was time to take the leap and turn her hobby into a business. “Brides are always looking for the next new thing, and I thought cookies have a lot to offer,” she says.
It turns out she was onto something. Kalorama Cookie Company, a gourmet bakeshop specializing in custom-designed sugar cookies, has spent the last year turning out delicious creations for bridal showers, bachelorette parties, and weddings. From brides looking for elegant cake designs to add to favor bags to grooms requesting sports-themed baked goods for their bachelor parties, Greenstein works with every client individually to design the cookie they envision.
We chatted with Greenstein about custom designs, flavors, and creative ways to include cookies on your big day.
The famous words “Let them eat cake” don’t even begin to scratch the surface of what is available to sample at Patisserie Poupon for soon-to-be newlyweds contemplating sweet decisions for their celebration. Proprietor Ruth Poupon suggests dipping into cake (of course), but also macarons, croquembouches, and mini pastries.
For brides seeking elegant, decadent desserts, Patisserie Poupon has much to offer. Classic French cake flavors, croquembouches filled with chocolate, vanilla, or Grand Marnier cream, and a multitude of petite tarts and mille-feuilles serve well for a nuptial-worthy dessert buffet or sweet takeaways for party guests. And who wouldn’t love a little touch of French romance on their big day?
Madame Poupon treated me to the full bridal tasting at the Georgetown cafe, where we talked about popular flavors, pastry skill, and finding love.
I’m surveying these beautiful plates of cakes, pastries, and macarons. Is this what a couple can expect when they come for a consultation with you?
We have a complimentary tasting, and since it is complimentary, we first ask when and where the wedding is to make sure we can do it. After that, they can come in and we give them a sample of everything we make. They can also see some pictures of cakes we’ve decorated in the past. Then it’s really up to them. It’s all very custom.
If they have something in mind, they should bring a photograph. They should also bring their appetites, because we give them a lot of cake.
Residents of the District and Baltimore know Dangerously Delicious Pies for the sweet, inventive flavors that co-owner Rodney Henry learned to create with his grandma in Indiana. And though the pies make a fantastic conclusion to Thanksgiving dinner or a Fourth of July shrimp boil, co-owner Sandra Basanti tells us they’re becoming increasingly popular as the sweet end to local nuptial feasts.
We chatted with Basanti about the most popular flavors and why pies are a good choice for a wedding dessert.
When did you notice pie becoming a trend in wedding desserts?
I don’t know where or when it started, but since we’ve opened, we’ve gotten requests from people who’ve wanted pies for their weddings, typically couples who aren’t into having a traditional wedding. Pie allows a them to offer a variety of flavors, and it isn’t as fussy as a wedding cake. It’s more of a down-home feel.
What sort of conversations do you have with couples who are opting for pie?
Pie brides’ general consensus is that they want something more affordable, less traditional, and more family style. With that in mind, I usually send the couple a list of questions about the wedding: where, when, what time of year, and whether the party is indoors or outdoors. I also ask how many people they’re having, who their caterers are, and if they have a theme.
These questions help us tailor the flavors to the couple. For instance, if it’s a Southern wedding, we’ll throw in peach and pecan pies. Indoor or outdoor service affects my recommendations—an outdoor August wedding with a lemon meringue or cream pie would not work so well. We also ask about dietary restrictions to find out whether we should include a vegan option.
Here at Bride & Groom, there’s nothing we love more than a beautiful cake that tastes good, too. When we saw the delicious wedding cakes created by Alexandria’s IndAroma at a recent Indian-themed luncheon at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel, we were immediately bowled over by the gorgeous designs—but it was the flavor of the cakes themselves that had us truly impressed.
We caught up with IndAroma’s owner, Abhishek Handa, to talk about where cake fits into Indian wedding traditions and what makes his confections different from anything else around.
How did you get into the wedding cake business?
My wife and I started the company in 2009 with a bakery concept in mind. The Indian market in the area didn’t have an option for cakes. There is a huge French influence on Indian wedding cakes, which use ingredients like fresh whipped cream and sponge cake, so that’s how we make our cakes. Our decoration is also heavily influenced by Indian art, specifically henna.
After 17 years of creating off-the-wall sculpted cakes for parties and weddings (be it a bushel of “crabs,” or a 3D version of a groom’s college mascot), Leslie Poyourow of Fancy Cakes by Leslie has learned a little something about how a personalized design can add character to a wedding or rehearsal dinner. We chatted with her about trends, choosing a theme, and how to surprise your groom with a cake that’ll make his day.
Tell us about some of the craziest groom’s cakes you’ve done.
I’ve done so many cakes it becomes a blur. One that was memorable was for a stockbroker—we did this huge bull holding a stock in his hand. Some of the mascots are really funky. I did one this weekend that looked like a tree; it was the Stanford mascot. Another one I remember was Georgia State, which was a dog sitting on ice. I guess the dog sits on ice because it’s so hot there.
By Erin Keane Scott
This summer seems like one never-ending heatwave, and while the Fro-Zen-Yo on M Street has been getting more play from our offices than we’d like to admit, it also got us thinking: What similarly cool treat could couples serve their wedding guests, especially during nuptials that take place during this sweltering time of year?
Enter Alison Reed, pastry chef at Ripple in Cleveland Park and the mastermind behind sister store Sugar Magnolia’s creative and tasty ice cream sandwiches. In variations such as maple-bacon pressed gently between homemade waffle cookies, or coffee ice cream surrounded by delicate and flavorful macaroons, her sweetly packaged, innovative desserts are the perfect after-dinner treat to impress, and cool down, party-goers. We caught up with Reed to chat about wedding desserts and what’s new at Sugar Magnolia.
You’re not quite known for doing weddings . . . yet. What can a bride expect if she wants Sugar Magnolia treats served at her wedding?
I would probably try to follow a theme. I can do a smaller cake, we could do a couple of flavors of ice cream sandwiches, sugar cookies with piped initials, and personalized fortune cookies. My recipes that are a little more homey would be well-suited for a dessert bar.
By Erin Keane Scott
Welcome to a new feature on Bridal Party. We'll be meeting some of our area's very best wedding dessert connoisseurs every other week with "Take the Cake."
There’s a new recipe for creating beautiful cakes. Mix a lifetime of classical ballet training with a French pastry education and an apprenticeship with superchef Charlie Trotter’s dessert genius, Della Gossett, and you’ll reach something pretty close to perfection. Maggie Austin brings exactly that delectable résumé of accomplishments to DC, whipping up innovative flavor combinations and beautiful decorations. We caught up with Maggie to talk trends, her favorite flavors, and how baking is like ballet.
Who is the “Maggie Austin” bride?
Brides who are doing their research, who are on Pinterest and reading blogs looking for ideas.
And what can a couple expect at one of your cake tastings?
I definitely have a distinct style, but I get inspired by my clients. I don’t ask them to bring anything along to the consultation; rather I ask them to talk about the aesthetic they’re going for. I won’t re-create the dress in cake form.