When Design and Dessert Meet: How to Throw the Sweetest Soirée

When it comes to entertaining, beautiful desserts often take center stage. So the next time you’re thinking of hosting consider foregoing the typical dinner party invite in favor of something a little sweeter: a sophisticated dessert party. The concept is elegant, delicious, and requires no preparation during the party so you can focus on time with your guests. Read on to discover lifestyle writer Dylan Essertier’s tips and tricks to throwing an unforgettable sweets-filled soirée in your home, as well as her guide to the best bakeries in New York City. 

Themes make for easier planning 
“The antique wall in the kitchen of onefinestay’s Sullivan Street property was my point of inspiration when starting to plan my dessert table. The whitewashed brick is romantic and slightly whimsical, which I wanted to translate into the selection and aesthetic of the sweets for the party. Using Pinterest I created a mood board that captured the essence of the theme, looking at colors, shapes, and objects that alluded to this rustic design accent. I find it really helpful to search for existing photos of restaurants, retail stores, and display windows, when narrowing the scope and style of a party.”

Keep the menu simple (and delicious) 
“I suggest having a variety of sweet treats, with about six to eight selections depending on the size of the table. Cakes, pies, cookies, mini pies, and doughnuts are always crowd pleasers, so you can’t go wrong with any of these. It’s also a really lovely touch to incorporate seasonal flavors into the menu, for example citrus-inspired desserts for spring such as pineapple rosemary doughnuts and lusciously light buttercream cookie sandwiches. Insider tip: be sure to keep in mind any allergies, offering enough options so that everyone at the party will be able to enjoy.”  


Embrace a signature dessert 
“When designing this table I opted for a tiered cake, not only because of its wow factor, but because it creates a focal point for the table. It’s so important to have varying heights and depths to create dimension otherwise the tablescape can come out looking flat and sparse.” 

Add some blooms 
“Another great way to create depth is by including beautiful blooms. For this table I worked with Stems florist in Brooklyn, New York. To achieve this depth flowers such as shimmer roses, eremurus, astrantia, white tulips, jasmine, and three kinds of eucalyptus were used. As floral designer Clay Butt explained, ‘Playing with depth and perspective by combining flowers and desserts helps create a landscape for guests eyes to move through and get lost in.’ The interesting silhouettes of the flowers really complemented and highlighted the beauty of the desserts.” 

Serve and enjoy! 
“The flatware you choose is all part of maintaining a cohesive theme. After you’ve decided what you’ll need (serving utensils for the cake, etc.) you should think about things like pattern and material. If you don’t have what you’re looking for don’t be afraid to rent from a local vendor in order to pick unique pieces that complement the look and feel of your table and home. Last but most important? Grab a fork and enjoy! 

The best bakeries in New York 
From naked cakes to buttercream confections, these creations will be the source of endless inspiration for your sweet soirée. 

Doughnut Plant

Doughnut Plant’s chewy, gooey, and giant creations come in an intriguing range of flavors including tres leche and crème brûlée.



This 1940s-inspired bakery offers mouthwatering delicacies that bring back the feeling of Grandma’s kitchen. Don’t miss the banana cream pie and buttercream cookie sandwiches which manage to be light, creamy, and deliciously indulgent all at the same time.

By the Way Bakery is an old-fashioned bakery where everything is made by hand, from scratch, in small batches. For my dessert bar I used their three-tier naked cake which was as stunning as it was delicious.


Baker Ashley Foxen, who recently signed with the Food Network and will star in the upcoming television series Reality Bites, creates refreshingly unique cupcakes that tease your tastebuds. If you’re looking to add a dose of fun to your dessert table Foxen’s creative creations are your best bet.