Serving your cake as pudding is a great way to be both economical and indulgent. So often, the cake gets cut and wheeled out at about 10 o’clock, when guests have already eaten a three course meal and drunk enough champagne to launch a fleet. At this point in the evening, it’s savoury not sweet you want; I don’t know anyone who comes back from a party and scoffs a chocolate éclair. It’s marmite on toast or a chip butty all the way. What you need is something to soak up the endlessly refilled glasses of Pimms, fizz, table wine and anything else that your guests have managed to reach.
Some people will make a valiant attempt at polishing off the cake, even at this late hour. Mostly what you’ll find is various half-eaten slices forgotten about by distracted guests once Come On Eileen hits the speakers. Others won’t even notice that the cake has been served at all, so busy are they demonstrating their disco manoeuvres or discovering the attractive evening guests, newly arrived and shiny.
If you serve your cake as pudding, not only are you making a saving on the dessert course, but you are also guaranteeing minimal waste. If you’re worried about excluding your evening guests, you can always save a tier for later on, or bring out some extra cupcakes. Serving the cake as pudding also means you can feel more justified in choosing glamorous and indulgent options: chocolate and hazelnut torte with whipped Frangelico ganache or passion fruit layered gateau are both firm favourites at Victoria’s Cake Boutique. Dessert cakes can be iced in any way a sponge or fruit cake can be iced, and you can even have a fruit cake top tier as a nod to tradition. It can be served plain, accompanied by seasonal berries and fresh cream, ice-cream, or, my personal favourite, sweet vanilla scented mascarpone. It’s like Mr Whippy for grown-ups.
Some venues will tell you they only offer a fixed price three course menu, but this is usually negotiable with a bit of persistence. If they do prove unmovable, then having your third course as cheese can be an excellent way of providing night-time nibbles for your guests, while still allowing cake to be served as dessert.