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A secret to easy entertaining

Party planning is one of those favorite things.

I love sitting down with a pen and paper and jotting down 
all the little details for the evening under the stars with friends and family.

Which place settings I will use.
Paired with which flatware and what type of flowers.
Those simple but elegant natural linen napkins? 
Always on the list.
And let's not forget the lighting. 
Softly flickering candles marching down the center of the table.
Lanterns by the table legs and tucked near the flower beds and lighting the steps
and those little cafe lights above that cast a warm glow.

 I make a note of what I have
what I need
and what I don't want to forget to pick up
like the food.

I know. 
I have said it before but quite honestly
the food is the last thing noted on my list.

I love the ambiance and creating the magic for guests.
So naturally, my visions of the dinner party start and end with that.
From when they first arrive and the small lanterns lighting the steps
to the music in the background that sets the tone
to when they say goodnight with their little party favor bouquets in hand.
But, the food... well. Yeah. 
 I tend to choose food that is easy to prepare and easy to serve 
and easy for guests to enjoy.

Like a spinach salad topped with berries & feta
or a pasta dish
or chunky artichoke topped bread.

And then there is dessert.
It has to be amazing. 
And pretty for presentation of course.

Something like  a gorgeous 5 layer white cake
with a sprinkling of coconut frosting
and the perfect berries and fresh edible greens.

But you see there might be one of those times when that dessert... 
well... it happens to the best of us.

Let's talk about it hypothetically.

You planned the party. 
The place settings. 
The ambiance. 
The flowers. 
The food. (thumbs up!)
And even so, you were running late already.

 Let's be honest.

Someone was probably playing with the flowers too long.

And then 3.5 more things landed on the to-do list that morning 
that needed to be done TODAY.
And before you knew it, the guests were going to arrive in 4 hours.

But you smiled because you were ready- so it was fine. 
And you got everything out and set the table and set the candles where they need to go
and placed the cake on the table for presentation...
and realized you forgot about baking the cake.

The piece de resistance for the table presentation.
The one with the fresh berries and the pretty white dots around the base.
That cake.
That was pushed to #4 on the to-do list.

A mad dash to the store can leave you feeling quite uninspired.
Honestly, ready cake stock is not that amazing most of the time unless you like 
gobs of bright colorful buttercream flowers. 
But you wanted custom. 
Beautiful. Elegant. A cake that is as pretty as it is delicious.

And you can have it without baking and making a mess in the kitchen at the last minute
or putting out a chunk of change on a completely custom cake.

Buy a simple plain white cake 
stacked in 4 or 5 layers 
with a simple topping or no topping if possible.

In this case- the cake topping was about 6 colorful macarons.
Eh, maybe delicious but not so elegant or the look I was after.
( no, I didn't take a 'before' photo but realize that I should after 
so many of you asked for details about the cake)

 I came home
unboxed the cake
picked each macaron off and handed that plate of cookies to my husband.
Then I smoothed out the top layer of frosting.
And added a few handfuls of fresh berries- like blackberries or blueberries
artfully arrange them
add a sprig of spearmint or some eucalyptus on the plate 
if you are feeling it
place that berry topped goodness on the cake pedestal
which instantly makes any cake that much more amazing.

And voila.

Check  #4.

' Serve an AMAZING elegant cake topped with fresh berries'

Right off your to-do list.

You can also do the same thing with a pre-made cake and fresh flowers
and create a blooming masterpiece.
Read more about flower topped cakes here.

Happy Monday everyone.

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  1. Bonjour chère amie,

    Je suis éblouie par ce très joli billet accompagné de merveilleuses photos. Une table dressée avec beaucoup d'élégance. Un raffinement extraordinaire et j'aime le souci des détails qui viennent parfaire cette belle table.

    ❀ ✺ ❀ Gros bisous ❀ ✺ ❀

  2. Maybe this is what I will do next Halloween for my wedding so simple and country elegant

  3. Très chic and a brilliant save. Cheers, Ardith

  4. Wonderful idea and very elegant. When we entertain I don't have to worry about table setting or flatware -- I only have one set. Now the food is where I really get into -- but your cake idea is marvelous. Quick thinking on your toes!!