top of page
  • stacey8980

Catering to sweet tooths: Desserts-only catering.

We are all used to eating indulgently at most New Orleans event venues, but this trend takes the cake. We’re talking about desserts-only catering, and it’s one sweet way to make any event stand-out. The Rooftop on Basin, has desserts-only catering down to a science, and guarantee even the biggest sweet tooth will leave delighted and satisfied. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when planning this super sweet event.

Desserts-only Variety

Desserts are all visually beautiful and delectable, just like the delicious views of the Crescent City skyline and the French Quarter you’ll see from The Rooftop on Basin. The key is variety. Choose different textures and flavors, offering contrasting morsels that are light and rich, smooth and crunchy, airy and dense, and sweet and tart. Desserts are spectacular sights themselves, so consider having some plated, stationed or on a buffet, with others are being passed. However the desserts are presented, a major key to a dessert-only event is to have small bite-sized portions of each. We eat with our eyes first, and sometimes those “eyes are bigger than our stomachs.” Having small portion sizes allows your guests to sample your assortment, without slipping into a sugar coma before they’ve made it past their second bite.

Pick a Theme

Even the most beautiful desserts become more memorable when they follow a theme. For instance, a French-themed event become even more “ooh-la-la” when the treats are crepes, macarons, pastries, and fine Crème brûlées. You can also theme an event by how upscale, or casual your event will be. Below are some ideas!


Pulling off a posh dessert-only event is completely do-able. Go with a Black-Tie theme and let the iconic tuxedo serve as inspiration for desserts served. Think the classic black and white cookie, black forest cake, tuxedo cake, pots de crème, tiramisu, and Oreo truffles. Ensure that fine, coordinating linens are on all tables and use luxury serving platters like silver, crystal and china. Incorporate tiered serving ware so that your desserts show off their elegance. And for that extra flair, flambé is a must.  Messina’s Catering and Events, the Rooftop on Basin’s exclusive caterer, has a spectacular Flaming Crêpe Suzette station that is perfect for such occasions.

Laid Back

Desserts are so versatile that they can work for a casual, laid back theme just as well as a posh one. Consider a farmhouse theme where décor and desserts are more rustic in nature. Even at an elegant venue like The Rooftop on Basin, homemade twists on the menu can add flair. Think of homemade classics like fruit pies, cobblers, tarts, upside-down cakes, crumb cakes, strawberry shortcakes, smores and lemon bars. Have small, imperfect cut portions that guests can grab with their hands and pop in their mouths. Decorate with checkered tablecloths, a vintage quilt, wooden bowls, and assorted flowers that look handpicked. Set the mood with some fun country or rockabilly music. Finally, have some paper sacks ready so your guests leave with a sweet treat – like a bake sale, but as a nice favor instead.


The Rooftop on Basin’s catering team has crafted seasonal and holiday menu themes that are fun for dessert parties as well. Autumn just begs for pies, apple desserts, and everything pumpkin. For winter or Christmas, serve up lots of yule logs, fruit cakes, reindeer bark, warm bread pudding, chocolate lava cake, and poached pears. Make sure the hot chocolate is flowing as well.


Go with your favorite local as the theme for your dessert event. Messina’s has been serving New Orleans’ favorites like King Cake – a Mardi Gras fave that is basically a huge cinnamon roll iced in Mardi Gras colors; pralines, Doberge cake – a decadent treat with multiple layers of cake and pudding; and of course, beignets. Get the jazz going, hand out the Mardi Gras bling, and “Laissez les bons temps rouler” (aka Let the Good Times Roll)!

Around the World

Take your guests on a global journey of sweets. Feature exotic desserts from around the world such as Indian Rasmalai – ricotta cheese dumplings in a sweetened milk flavored with cardamom; Mexican Tres Leches – a creamy sponge cake made with three kinds of milk, Turkish Baklava – thin layers of phyllo with chopped nuts drenched in honey; or Egyptian Basbousa – cake made from semolina soaked in a rose or orange blossom syrup.

A Sweet Take on Drinks

The type of drinks served for a dessert party are crucial, and coffee is a must. For an upscale theme, go for an espresso bar. The drinks themselves can be desserts as well, like Kahlua or Baileys with cream, Red Velvet Cake Martinis and the classic Jell-O Shot (topped with whip cream of course). Also consider pairings like champagne and tarts, tawny port with custard, or bourbon with sweet cornbread pudding. Your caterer can help you determine the best drinks as well.

A Fun Twist on a Dinner Party

Having a dessert-only event not only saves on costs, it also offers a fun alternative to the traditional dinner party. Work with your caterer on your dessert menu. Typically, the event should be hosted at an appropriate time so guests will know to fill up on dinner beforehand – usually after 8pm. Ensure that your invitation clearly notes that only dessert will be served so that guests can plan accordingly. Dessert only events are perfect for weddings, bridal or baby showers, and housewarming events.

Hosting a Desserts-Only Party at Home

Talk about a new take on “home sweet home!” A dessert-only party at your home is the perfect stress-free way to indulge your guests without breaking the budget. Messina’s makes it easy to have a dessert party at home. Leave the mixing, baking, and caramelizing to us. Messina’s Catering and Events has provided full service catering to the New Orleans area for over 58 years.  We were recently selected by New Orleans CityBusiness readers as one of the  Best Caterers for the 3rd year in a row.

We are also proud to have been selected as a 2020 winner of The Knot Best of Weddings, as well as The Rooftop on Basin and Messina’s at the Terminal being named 2020 Best of the Knot for Venues.

151 views0 comments


bottom of page