How can we make our gluten-free cake alternative look fancier?

How can we make our gluten-free cake alternative look fancier?
Apple crisp? Sour Patch Kids? Gluten-free yummies can look fancy!
Photo from Jenny and Davis' Utah wedding by M. Felt Photography
My fiancé and I are both gluten-free. We decided early on not to have a wedding cake we wouldn't be able to eat, but the more I looked into gluten-free cakes the more discouraged I got. They are so expensive and people still mentioned wanting a regular cake, too.

Then I remembered that we love apple crisp. The wedding is in October, apple crisp is amazing, and our venue already makes a great gluten-free one.

My question: how do we dress it up for the wedding? I searched the internet far and wide and all I see are towers of cupcakes, donuts, and pies. I can't figure out how to make a big tray of apple crisp look like a special dessert and also avoid being wasteful. We don't need one hundred tiny glass jars and a throwaway option isn't our style. Any ideas on making our gluten-free cake alternative look fancier? Thanks! –

Great dessert idea! We're all about cake alternatives around here. If you're not down for individual servings (in jars or otherwise), then we'll need to narrow down choices for a big ol' dish of crisp.

The first bet would be to ask your venue if they have any options for making it look more exciting. And if not, then here are some options for crisps or any less-than-exciting-looking food that you might want to serve (including savory stuff that you're self-catering!)…

How can we make our gluten-free cake alternative look fancier?
3-Tier Rectangular Serving Platter

An elevated serving dish

Separating out one large crisp platter into a few allows you to harness the look of a tiered serving dish like this one. Just make sure to check with your venue to see if they can work with whatever style you choose.

This kind also allows for smaller, round dishes like pie pans, which could be really easy to adapt without altering the recipe.

How can we make our gluten-free cake alternative look fancier?
Pumpkin Maple Cream Trifle from Pampered Chef

A big glass dish

If you're really going for a different style of dessert, you could harness the power of glass to show off some layers in a big trifle dish. You can find tons of these on Amazon or at your local home stores. The trick is having the venue adapt the apple crisp to the layered look, but that's probably totally doable.

How can we make our gluten-free cake alternative look fancier?
Silver Plate Buffet Stand from PearlsParlor

A shmancy serving dish

These are old skool wedding buffet standards, but they DO fancy things up. Add some greenery around it, a plate of gluten-free cookies, and it can look pretty swank.

How can we make our gluten-free cake alternative look fancier?
String Art Apple Sign from BlossomingBurlap

Add a little decor to the table

When in doubt, add some flair to the table! A little signage lets everyone know what's in it (hello, apples!), and makes for a little keepsake after the wedding. You could pair it with a few glass jars full of whole apples to bring the fall theme home.

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  1. Could you add some apple rosettes to the top for a little (edible) visual flair? Admittedly, most of the versions I've seen usually use pie crust to hold it together, but I think it can be done just apples.

    2 agree
  2. or with edible butterflies made of fondant or printed on edible rice paper – there are a number of sellers on etsy. there are also fondant ornaments, gumpaste or fondant flowers, bake it in a fancy tureen, add a cake topper…

    2 agree
  3. If it's in the fall, could you also include little bushel baskets of different types of apples set out for the guests? Especially if you're from a place like Washington State (ex. Washington Apple) or live near some farms and orchards? Put out the pans of crisp, have a few baskets of various colors and flavors of apples with little signs labeling them and put some fall leaves on the table and it will look really pretty.

    2 agree
  4. Do you think a topper would work? I know you can do them with pies; not sure if a crisp is stable enough. But it would definitely say "wedding"!

    1 agrees
  5. It's a pretty popular thing here in Australia to have a cheese tower as a cake – you could just serve the apple crisp as a dessert course and use a few wheels of cheese as your "cake" i.e for cutting etc. Then you have a dessert and a cheese course to serve? My sister did this, and after they'd cut into the cheese, the caterers took it away and made up cheese boards to serve as well. (This is all assuming you're not lactose intolerant as well…)

    1 agrees
  6. There are some really fun themed shaped pie pans out there, which could jazz up an apple crisp.
    I've seen baking pans shaped like USA states, the millennium falcon, mickey mouse, hearts, letters of the alphabet, etc.

    …or you can blow everyone's mind by cutting the apple slices (for in the crisp) using small cookie cutters in shapes of your choice. The results could be really pretty and memorable.

    1 agrees
  7. I had to look up "Apple Crisp" but I think it's what we call Apple Crumble here in the UK. Using that term might help expand your search options.

    My immediate ideas were:
    Fancy dish for display and cutting (heart shaped? apple shaped? your wedding colours).
    We had a pork pie cake and used decorated cocktail sticks to DIY our theme onto the pie.
    Or you could get a professional cake topper
    The apple rosettes that Katie G suggests above or you could try on a cold crumble/crisp.

    2 agree
  8. Maybe you could put some edible flowers on top. That plus a nice pan or dish would look awful purdy.

  9. I would suggest having a smaller round dish of apple crisp for you on display and to cut. Just have the large baking tray not leave the kitchen, but have the staff put it on plates and serve it individually for all the guests.

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