Italian Night Dessert Table

 

Mamma Mia… all those sweets!

 

The Story behind this project:

For the second consecutive time, I had the honor of baking special sweets (cupcakes, cake pops and other goodies) for a church event. Each year, the school coordinators come up with the most wonderful ideas for their theme and our humble Social Hall is transformed into a fantastic setting! First was Paris, this time was Italy… I am trying to convince them to do Alice in Wonderland for next year, but have to win their votes over another suggested idea: a Safari Theme party! … Whatever the theme might be, I’m always happy to accept the challenge and share my sweets with some of the most special people in my life!

The Cake:

Inspired by the Italian Theme of this year, I created 3 special cupcake flavors for this special occasion:

Almond Cupcakes, filled with white chocolate ganache, topped with Amaretto Swiss Meringue Buttercream, topped with almond praline (crunchy and crystalline! So good!)

Lemon Cupcakes, filled with lemon curd, topped with Limoncello Swiss Meringue Buttercream, topped with fresh raspberries (such a beautiful color/flavor combination!)

Tiramisú Cupcakes: Chocolate Cake, filled with mascarpone cream, topped with Mocha Swiss Meringue Buttercream and a fun Chocolate Moustache decorating each cupcake! (They worked great as photo props!)

There was also a small almond cake decorated with marshmallow fondant and modeling chocolate

Cake pops decorated with green, white and red sprinkles

And the best treat of the night: Real Homemade Cannoli, carefully folded and filled by my very own Italian mother-in-law!

 

Other details I loved about this project:

The hand painted background of the dessert display! I spent several days working on this background! I wanted to have a very special way to display the menu of options available on that night and came up with the idea of recreating an old restaurant blackboard, similar to those Italian coffee shops I saw in Trasteveri, Rome, not too long ago!

The big black canvas provided great visual impact keeping the display budget-friendly. Details of white and red on the table clothes as well as super cute cupcake wrappers gave the final touch!

Real lemons added a fun pop of color on the table and everybody enjoyed the display, but especially the sweets i baked for 2 days! A real record considering I had 150 cupcakes, 50 cannoli, 30 cake balls and a little top cake!

The Cannoli:

These pastry shells filled with awesomeness deserve their own section on this post!
Last Christmas I received a wonderful gift from my mother-in-law: a Pizzelle Maker! Pizzelli are waffle cookies, made with a very basic batter. If you wrap them around a stick while they are still warm, you get cannoli shells (and burned fingers too!)

My beautiful mother-in-law was such great helper! She pretty much tackled the task of making dozens and dozens of shells and carefully placed them in a plastic tub where they would remain fresh until the next day.

A delicious Mascarpone Cream with marsala wine was prepared. It was so light, and fluffly, and yummy! I still can’t believe these cannoli actually made it to the party! I wanted to eat them all!!!! They were the first ones to disappear from the dessert table, once attendants were invited to “dig in” … and they also received the best compliment from a New Yorker woman with Italian roots who attested “they taste like the real thing, just the way I remember them back when I was a kid.”

See? Now everybody knows that if I have to bake and you happened to be visiting my home, you will be enrolled in some crazy task that involves sugar. There’s no escape! Thanks my wonderful sweet Cotton Candy lady, mother-in-law!

All Italian inspired sweets ready to be packaged!

All Italian inspired sweets ready to be packaged!

 

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The Cupcake Maker stands proudly next to her display!

 

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Italian Themed Dessert Table

 

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The aftermath… Only one slice of cake was left! (It disappeared after I took this picture!)