Placed on twisted-tree tables and paired with quince-blossom branches in a formal pewter vase, Sonal Pardeshi-Deshpande’s architectural dark-chocolate faux bois cake evokes a black tie affair set in a romantic thicket—or a backyard bash staged in a ballroom. Erik Holgate from Steven Moore Designs added custom, handmade elements with silkscreened cocktail flags and wrapping paper that match the dessert; inside the boxes guests might find wood grain-patterned sweets or evergreen-scented soaps or drawer sachets. Inside the CHOCOLAZ chef’s three tiers they’ll find Valencia orange-genoise cake filled with alternating layers of deep, dark chocolate truffle ganache, orange-citrus buttercream, and coffee-caramel crunch. Chocolaz Artisan Cakes (425-281-6677,, Steven Moore Designs (360-739-0117,




If the name Autumn Martin sounds familiar, it’s because the HOT CAKES CONFECTIONS head is the chocolatier who developed Theo Chocolate’s wildly popular and highly imaginative bars and bites. These days, with her new specialized sweets company, Martin’s current favorite local and organic treats are individual, bake-on-location (or take home for later) molten chocolate cakes. Here, each oven-ready jar is tied with a peach ribbon and a monogram tag. (They also happen to be dairy- and gluten-free.) And then there’s the salted caramel sauce, custom-wrapped with peach and charcoal paper from Dolce Design and spiked with customized ingredients. Lavender-jalepeño, anyone? Miniature local-fruit-filled pies and salted coconut butter toffee can also be enjoyed now or later. Of course, you’ll want a cake or two for the ceremonial cutting. Martin baked a Theo chocolate cake with dark chocolate ganache, and a toasted coconut white cake with coconut buttercream. Slice into both! Hot Cakes Confections (206-412-8166,, Dolce Design (360-961-5983,

Upscale Down-Home

For an indulgent endnote after a day of spirited celebration, consider giving old-school favorites and homestyle classics special treatment in an expertly prepared dessert spread.Andi Vann of PURE BLISS DESSERTS offers a mostly locally sourced and all-natural final course consisting of Meyer lemon meringue pie, rustic layer cake, and a four-tiered ladyfinger-cookie creation. And then there are toasted meringue–topped s’mores cupcakes and fresh roasted coffee–infused ones; Dolce Design’s tiny twig dessert tags manage to add both charm and elegance. The top two tiers of the wildflower-decorated main attraction are chocolate with Baileys and cream filling, while the bottom are burnt-sugar crunch with layers of salted caramel. Pure Bliss Desserts (360-739-1612,



NEW RENAISSANCE CAKES chef Bonnie Lyons is a baker first and a gardener second. “My inspirations tend to come from the outdoor, botanical world,” she says. It’s easy to see the influence on this marzipan-enrobed white cake in which vanilla-bean pastry cream and apricot- preserve filling are delicious complements to the almond-flavored outer layer. Lyons used an embossing technique to create the shimmering oak leaves; a piped line of royal icing is delicately spread with tiny brushes to create a feathered look. The dessert’s exaggerated, tall tiers make it modern and on-trend; a single open peony is all the décor that’s needed. Of course, Moore’s lush bridal bouquet of French tulips, Vermont peonies, vibernum, wax flowers, garden roses, miniature carnations, hypericum berries, quince, and forest-plucked ferns, placed nearby, makes a beautiful accompaniment. New Renaissance Cakes (206-920-5322,