By Emily Kemme

It’s true: Cake is one of the traditions making any wedding day memorable and meaningful. Having a sweet bite of cake is said to ensure a happy, fruitful marriage.

The tradition dates to ancient Greek and Roman times when the groom crumbled bread over his bride’s head, symbolizing her submission, good luck and fertility. Medieval celebrations had a pile of sweet buns for the couple to kiss over. The fanciful tiered cake was a Victorian invention: the taller the cake, the larger the bride’s family’s affluence. 

But if you ask a married couple how much cake they had left after the Big Day, it might have been more than a cake top, the small wedding topper people often save to mark their one-year anniversary. Guests generally take a bite or two and then head back to party on the dance floor, leaving lots of uneaten cake on plates.

If tying the knot incorporates a sweet treat, how about treating guests to a spoonful of sugar instead of a slice?

Cupcake Gypsies
Photo by K Mitiska Photography.

Your budget, your theme, your vision

Cake can be expensive: It ranges from $2.50 to $8 a serving and beyond, according to wedding website Brides.com. Costs depend on frosting type, flavoring and elaborate designs like sugar flowers.

SJ Lawyer, event coordinator for Lickskillet Catering in Fort Collins, says caterers can help clients find an alternative to the traditional wedding cake, especially a specific dessert vendor to match your vision.

Many Macarons Bakery

Many Macarons Bakery

Paige and Landon Fleener began experimenting with macarons during the early COVID-19 shutdown days. After 15 batches of the worst macarons ever, they unlocked the puzzle to baking these finicky French cookies, opening their Windsor bakery in September 2021.

Their macaron flavors, more than 150, are as varied as lavender to lemon basil. Fleener says if a customer can think up a flavor, her shop can make it, like those she created for a Nightmare Before Christmas-themed wedding.

Wedding trends in 2022 focus on color, the brighter, the better. Many Macarons coordinate colors and unique fillings to align with your wedding details, including personalizing macarons with initials. 

The designs—whether they highlight hearts, flowers, mountains or Jack Skellington—are hand-drawn with powdered colors mixed with gluten-free vodka, which evaporates quickly, leaving only a small amount of alcohol, about as much found in flavoring extracts. 

Macaron shells’ main ingredients are almond flour, egg whites and sugar, so you can’t paint on them with water because they get soggy. “Vodka goes onto the cookie and dries instantly,” Fleener says. 

As delicate as macarons appear, they’re pretty sturdy. When you bite into one, the exterior shell will have a little crunch. Soft and chewy inside, macarons won’t dissolve in your mouth.

This sturdiness makes them ideal for building 15-layer towers for up to 400 cookies. Or get cookies individually wrapped for wedding favors.

The bakery also makes macaron cakes for the wedding couple to share or to cut into triangles. Other options are house-made chocolates, popsicle-shaped cake-sickles dipped in chocolate, cake pops and individual crème brûlées in Irish Cream, vanilla bean, red velvet or cookie butter. 

1224 Automation Drive, Suite E, Windsor | 970.460.9812

Cupcake Gypsies
Photo by K Mitiska Photography.

The Cupcake Gypsies

Amber Cronin and her sister, Andrea Strick, began their cupcake venture six years ago after purchasing Petunia, a 1956 Hanson Love Bug vintage trailer they found on eBay. Cronin’s background is bridal retail, but she didn’t just want to sell people dresses. Her sister’s talent is baking; learning from their mom and grandma, Cronin describes Strick’s skills as self-taught. 

They bake organic cupcakes with locally sourced ingredients. Cronin says their best seller is Vintage Peach, a peach cupcake with vanilla bean bourbon buttercream frosting.

“That’s become our thing. We’re in a peach state and people love peaches here,” she says.

Of their 100 flavors, customer favorites are the Campfire (toasted marshmallow buttercream, graham cracker crumbles and chocolate chips), Bee Mine (honey) and Citrus Blossom (lavender cake with lemon cream cheese frosting). Cronin’s favorite is strawberry with vanilla bean buttercream, blueberry drizzle and a candied strawberry on top.

The company has tiered rental stands for cupcake displays, but Cronin has noticed a Colorado trend: rustic wood logs from trees cut into discs.

Cupcake Gypsies has standard or mini cupcakes and also offers a small cake for the wedding couple. Named Best Wedding Bakery in the Best of NOCO 2021, their focus is portable desserts, but they also love baking pies, cinnamon rolls or cake pops. If you’d like Petunia to attend your wedding, she’s an extra charge.

415 N. Cleveland Ave., Loveland info@thecupcakegypsies.com

FoCo DoCo

FOCO DOCO

Megan Barghols, Chief Donut Officer at Fort Collins Donut Co., says their sharing-sized donuts are definitely more affordable than wedding cake. 

FoCo DoCo’s “half-size” donuts are unique and present opportunities to display them in fun ways: For less messy donuts like glazed, coffee or salted honey, there’s a donut wall or rod for set-up. Stickier choices, like the German chocolate, popular Boston Cream or cheesecake donuts, with cream cheese icing, graham cracker crust crumbles and a sprinkling of fresh fruits, do better in a stacked display, Barghols says.

Donuts can also be packaged in boxes for to-go gifts.

The locally owned company is inside Scrumpy’s Cider Bar in Old Town Fort Collins. There’s event space for receptions—cider and donuts are natural partners—or you can bring in food from other caterers. Scrumpy’s also has Summit subs, burgers, a full bar and local beer on tap.

215 N. College Ave., Fort Collins

970.689.8978

Other sweet bites:

Pastry by Everett: custom decorated sugar cookies and cupcakes, everett@realtyonenoco.com

Pastry by Everett

Robin Chocolates: premium Valrhona artisan chocolates, cake pops and pastries, 720.204.8003