Case in point: dessert.
We all know that wedding cake is held up as the epitome of wedding dessert. And this makes sense. It's an impressive architectural achievement. It can be stunningly pretty and even artistic. And, when not made with fondant, it can be darn tasty. Mmm buttercream.
Wedding Cake-as-Art by Fantasy Frostings
Wedding cake with fresh blueberries that I want to EAT RIGHT NOW via Fantasy Frostings
However, for those of us without a yen (or budget) for architectural cake-art who still want to serve dessert, the wedding world isn't always helpful. We know that cake alternatives exist, put they're still generally treated as second class citizens by our parents, friends and communities. For some reason, cupcakes generally get a stamp of approval (though the wedding blogosphere continues on with its absolutely silly debate about whether these particular dessert trends are overdone), but we're less likely to see the humble brownie or cookie extolled.
And I think I know why: It's because brownies and cookies aren't "pretty enough." It's because a platter of brownies aren't nearly as stylistically stunning as a table of cake (in either its tiered or cake buffet forms). That ooey gooey chocolate may taste delicious, but it looks like a lump of brown on a plate. Cookies may be scrumptious, but a pile of chocolate chip cookies versus a pile of oatmeal raisin cookies doesn't send planners and blog editors (and therefore engaged folks) into spasms of oh-my-freaking-goodness-that's-so-cuuuuuute-I-must-have-it-at-my-weeeeeeeeeding. Cute desserts, even if made cute by the simple-but-stylish buffet, get a pass. Compare:
Stylish dessert buffet by Sweet Emilia Jane
Bundt cake buffet via Stephanie Williams Photography
Cookie buffet via New York Times
For comparison's sake, go to Google Images and type in "brownie." You'll end up with pages of images of ooey gooey deliciousness but, despite the opportunity to get rich fudgy chocolate all over your fingers and bellies, as "wedding inspiration", they don't seem to be as aspirational (the fools).
Image via my confined space
Instead, if you Google "wedding brownie," this is the first thing you get:
Brownie-covered favors from beau-coup
No? You wanted something to actually eat? TOO BAD. Brownies aren't cute enough for weddings. Unless they're shaped like wedding cakes
This picture's floating all over the internet
This is ridiculous. Dessert is for eating, not display. Yes, you can have both, but there's no shame in meh-looking-but-overwhelmingly-tasty brownie and cookie mishmashes on meh-looking platters. None. The point is that they should taste delicious. End of story. Eff fondant, eff needing succulent sprigs in your bundt cakes, and eff the necessary cuteness in dessert.
Perhaps I'm a bit sensitive about this right now, but it's only because we just discovered the mostfreakingamazingdessertofalltime. Yes, really, the mostfreakingamazingdessertofalltime (or at least until I get one of those gooey brownies.) And, luckily for us, these incredible desserts are the singular creation of our front-runner mobile truck caterer option, the Border Grill Truck (gourmet, sustainable, modern Mexican food from the absolutely incredible chefs and restaurateurs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger). They are melt-in-your-mouth-amazing. And we could easily have them at our wedding for very little additional cost.
I bet you're wondering what they are, right? Well, before I reveal anything, I have to warn you that these are possibly the ugliest freaking desserts of all time. No, really, they are balls ugly. Yes, balls ugly. Because they are little literally balls of dulce de leche infused churros, fried and coated in cinnamon and sugar. And they are hideous looking. Behold:
Border Grill Truck churro tots, courtesy of Gourmet Pigs
Balls ugly. And yet, I've never had a more heavenly bite of fried sweet deliciousness. Ever. They were doughy and warm on the inside, and the dulce de leche flavor literally melted in my mouth. But of course, there was prefect fried crisp coated in cinnamon and sugar on the outside to wrap this contained bit of churro perfection.
And yes, as much as Jason and I loved the Border Grill Truck food as a wedding catering option, it took a moment to wrap our head around the possibility of the churro tots as our wedding dessert option too. Why? You only need to see the picture above to figure out why: Balls. Ugly brown balls. Ugly brown balls best served warm and not on a buffet. But you know what? I don't care anymore. If we hire Border Grill Truck, we're getting churro balls, pretty buffet be damned. And I can tell you right now, my guests would definitely loooooove them. They would be a detail that matters: because they would be right, and they would be delicious. And that's all that really matters.
(Obviously this does not mean that pretty desserts aren't tasty or worthwhile. I'm having a tough time deciding between a buffet-of-amazingness baked or styled by Emilia Jane or the churro balls. Both are incredible options, obviously. And I know which one my mother would vote for. But she hasn't tried the churros. And I just like good dessert. Decisions decisions.)