7 Fall Wedding Desserts Jam-Packed with Flavor

Stephen Kent Johnson

Love fall but could do without the traditional wedding cake? Surprise guests with something sweet and unexpected. A towering tiered confection tends to get top billing, but add an individual dessert to your menu and it may just, well, take the cake. Skipping the cake course may be an unconventional choice, but autumn makes it even easier to find a cozy cake alternative that's still special enough for the happiest day of your life. Think meringue-based bites, tiny, tasty tarts and pies, or dessert-and-drink combos that will fill and warm guests up at your cold-weather fête. We developed fall wedding dessert recipes you can pass along to your caterer, or whip up for an engagement party or bridal shower.

Can't bear the thought of forgoing wedding cake? You can have your cake and eat dessert, too! After all, it's your wedding, and you should do what you love—especially when it comes to the menu. All it takes is a dessert table teeming with treats to make a seriously delicious statement: that you and your groom love fall desserts, and you don't care who knows it. Here, we hit the season's best flavor notes, from early autumn's berries to the spices that herald the coming holidays. Go on, serve up one (or all!) of these fabulous fall wedding dessert recipes on your big day.

01 of 07

Layered Citrus Sorbets

Stephen Kent Johnson

Ever-refreshing sorbet would like you to know it can be more than just a palate cleanser, thank you very much. Case in point: this trifecta of citrus, created by layering lemon, orange, and blood orange flavors, made from freshly squeezed juice, in a ring mold. Candied kumquats make for a tasty and vivid finishing touch.

02 of 07

Individual Cranberry Tarts

Stephen Kent Johnson

The cranberry brings cheer to many a Thanksgiving spread and Christmas garland—and it'll make your big day even brighter when served in a mini tart. Mixed with sugar, red-currant jelly, and cognac, the tangy berries are cooked until they're soft (but not bursting), then spooned into pastry shells, chilled, and topped with a sliver of candied orange peel.

03 of 07

Individual Plum and Almond Galettes

Stephen Kent Johnson

Some people always pick pie over cake—you know who you are, and this dessert is for you! Ripe, juicy plums are wrapped up in flaky pastry in these petite galettes, which are as scrumptious as their bigger cousins but less messy to serve and eat.

04 of 07

Individual Pumpkin Roulades with Mascarpone and White Chocolate

Stephen Kent Johnson

This pretty roulade has all the best flavors from a holiday dessert buffet rolled into one very special treat. A thin cake made with pumpkin, nutmeg, and cinnamon is filled with a mix of melted white chocolate and mascarpone and sprinkled with confectioners' sugar. Offer individual slices in bowls—set upright for the prettiest presentation—with dollops of whipped cream and candied pepitas.

05 of 07

Individual Apple Bundt Cakes

Stephen Kent Johnson

These apple-cinnamon mini Bundts can be eaten as is, or—for extra buzz factor— soaked in bourbon (don't mind if we do). Finish with a confectioners' sugar glaze, then "plate" them on baked apple slices. Want to add something to sip? Hot toddies, mugs of warm cider, or another cozy fall cocktail will banish any chill.

06 of 07

Spiced Churros with Mexican Hot Chocolate

Stephen Kent Johnson

This is one dessert for which double-dipping is encouraged: Guests can use the dunkable churros—crunchy deep-fried dough dusted with cinnamon and sugar—to soak up the rich Mexican hot chocolate flavored with cinnamon, almonds, and vanilla, plus just a pinch of cayenne for kick. A decorative red chile pepper adds some heat to the presentation.

07 of 07

Individual Blackberry Pavlovas With Marbled Whipped Cream

Stephen Kent Johnson

The billowy meringue dessert known as pavlova is as airy and white as many a wedding dress—and these blackberries are the perfect accessory. They're used to make a tangy curd, which gets swirled into a whipped cream topping, and more plump berries are scattered onto every serving.

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