Crazier Than Croquembouche

By Alex Stupak of WD-50

(Passion-fruit-and-white-chocolate mousse over a tahini joconde and a caramel-sesame layer, with sesame and passion fruit foam, white-chocolate-and-black-sesame tuiles; $15 per serving).
Our Verdict: “A sophisticated cake for a highbrow couple, though its mostly familiar flavors won’t freak out timid eaters. The cakey-sticky-crumbly crust gives great textural contrast to the mousse, but it has a slight aftertaste of Stove Top stuffing. The tahini ‘tape’ is a pretty, playful riff on the fruit roll-up for a white wedding. Will it melt quickly? Probably.”

By Hsing Chen of Sweet Chick Boutique Patisserie

(Fondant-covered vanilla bean cake with raspberry-rose jam and raspberry mousseline, topped with rose macarons; $10 per serving).
Our Verdict: “The creamy filling is good, and the fresh vanilla (you can spot the vanilla bean specks!) has exceptional flavor; but we’re not fans of the heavy, waxy fondant. The cake’s traditional shape is obvious for a wedding, but the hot-pink, glittery macarons are a bit juvenile.”

By Nancy Olson of Gramercy Tavern

(Cakes over cookie bases, with elderflower glaze and lime-infused whipped cream, filled with strawberry jam, garnished with sugared impatiens, purple basil, and mint leaves; $15 per serving).
Our Verdict: “Pretty, flavorful, and the fresh strawberry compote is tangy. But angel food cake has that spongy-rubbery consistency that resists slicing, so mingling while eating—plate in one hand, fork in the other—will be awkward.”

By Pauline Balboa of Kyotofu

(Miso Valrhona chocolate cakes topped with hibiscus mochi petals, white chocolate truffles with raspberry and white bean filling, chocolate-covered roasted barley, and white-sesame popcorn tuiles, on a base of Japanese plums and gold leaf, suspended in Japanese mint-and-red-rice-sake-infused agar; $8 per serving).
Our Verdict: “It’s moist, not too heavy, and has an intriguing sweet-salty balance that would really appeal to adult palates—an ideal dessert for a small, sophisticated city wedding in a loft. It’s a remarkably delicious chocolate thing, but as a cake, it’s not pretty. All it needs are a few slight presentation tweaks.”

By Jerome Chang of the Dessert Truck

(Lollipops of raspberry gelée, lavender mousse, and madeleine biscuit, in a bed of cocoa nibs; $8 per serving).
Our Verdict: “The mechanics of eating these are tricky, but they’re good (though some palates may confuse the taste of lavender with perfume). They’re really fun—pass them around late at night. But swap the skewer for a blunter stick. These could spear through a guest’s tongue!”

By Jennifer Jupiter of The Chocolate Room

(Chocolate blackout layer cake with rich chocolate frosting; $15 per serving).
Our Verdict: “Perfectly made, dark and deep and uncompromised by any hint of sweetness—very austere and grown up. And they look like they would hold up well in the heat.”

By Pichet Ong of P*ong

(Vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry cupcakes, topped with an extra-large vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting; $12 per serving).
Our Verdict: “Cupcakes make people ridiculously happy! The plush little ziggurats of frosting are light and creamy, with none of that gritty confectioners’ sugar texture you get from certain West Village bakeries. The cakes are moist, flavorful, not greasy, and easy to eat standing up. On the downside, the frosting slumps quickly. They may need to be refrigerated until just before the bride-feeds-the-groom moment.”

Photographs by Hannah Whitaker

Crazier Than Croquembouche