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Think Outside the Cake Box for Your Wedding Desserts

Whimsical Cupcakes

Hey cupcake, are you thinking about a Sonoma County wedding? Surely, you’ll want to invite all your sweet cookie friends, and dress them to the nines with a scoop of ice cream on top.

Those are just a few dessert ideas for a modern Wine Country wedding. According to “Cupcake Trends for 2014 Weddings” from totallycupcake.com (yes, there is such a website that tracks these things), a tiered wedding cake may be classic, but fashionable couples are looking to cupcakes, and other small, snackable sweet treats, for their big day.

Coral is a favorite color for frosting this year, the site reports. So are Victorian themes like English garden-style candy flowers, Great Gatsby-inspired art deco designs, rustic earth tones in white and chocolate, and “custom whimsy” designs that speak of a couple’s personal interests and hobbies. The looks translate to everything from tiny cakes, to cookies, to ice cream sandwiches and more.

Here are some Sonoma County shops guaranteed to deliver sweet satisfaction. In an extra fun twist, your reception could include an entire dessert bar, showcasing a variety of treats from several different purveyors.

Nieve Paleteria Mexicana, Windsor
For a really unique treat, surprise guests with authentic Mexican paletas. The Latin American ice pop is mainly made from fresh fruit, and comes in bright colors and unusual flavors.

At this friendly store, owners Corina and Henry handcraft frozen delicacies in guava, pineapple, tamarind, and tropical mamey fruit, but also avocado and pico de gallo. Colors can be matched to wedding themes.

They also make their own ice cream, in more than two dozen tempting recipes like Nutella, mango, goat cheese, chocolate, strawberry and vanilla — serve up in little cones or cups and watch your guests grin.

390 Windsor River Road, Windsor, 707-837-5584

Cookie … Take a Bite! Sonoma
To get your hands on these boutique cookies, you need to visit a local farmers market, Oliver’s grocery stores, or order online. But the tasty nibbles are well worth searching out, for seasonal flavors like Lemon Moon, Sonoma Trekker with cashews and berries, Tangy Sugar Sparkler, Chai Shortbread Square, and vegan and gluten-free almond-cardamom rolls.

Many ingredients are local, and owner Tracy Mattson honed her skills by working with some of Sonoma County’s top chefs, including Doug Keane of the former Cyrus in Healdsburg.

And how about this as a lovely party favor for guests — enrolling everyone in the shop’s Cookie of the Month Club?

707-291-1785, cookietakeabite.com.

Sift Cupcake & Dessert Bar, Santa Rosa, Cotati, and Petaluma
The company is a chain, yet that just means they have greater resources to secure the finest quality, fresh ingredients.

More than 14 flavors are baked in-store daily, including vegan and gluten-free recipes, wooing with flavors like 24 Carrot, Snickerdoodle, red velvet with cream cheese frosting, and chocolate cake with cookies 'n’ cream cheese frosting.

Actually, some 58 different kinds of sweets are offered, including French macarons, Whoopie cookies, pies, cakes, brownies, blondies, cupcake truffles, ice cream sammies, cake shakes, and frosting shots.

So in a brilliant idea, the shops will set up complete dessert bars at special events, in a wide variety of themes and design.

404-A Mendocino Avenue, Santa Rosa, 707-703-4228. Also 7582 Commerce Boulevard, Cotati, 707-792-1681; 401 Kenilworth Drive #920, Petaluma, 707-200-2202, siftdessertbar.com.

Three Twins Ice Cream, Petaluma and Rohnert Park

Founder Neal Gottlieb certainly knows success. Since opening his first store in 2005, he has expanded his brand to more than 1,000 specialty grocers and restaurants spanning some 35 states.

The specialty is organic ice cream, as hand-rolled cones, sundaes, milkshakes, and ice cream pies. For an indulgent gathering, guests can each enjoy a private pint offered in many flavors.

For something really indulgent, though, a wedding couple can spring for the World’s Most Expensive Ice Cream Sundae, costing $3,333.33 and delivering decadent banana split made with syrups from three rare dessert wines (a 1960s vintage port, a Chateau D'Yquem, and a German Trockenbeerenauslese). It's served with an ice cream spoon from the 1850s and comes accompanied by a cellist performance.

Bonus: one-third of the purchase price is donated to a local land trust.

419 1st Street, Petaluma, 707-763-8946; also inside Graton Resort & Casino, Rohnert Park, threetwinsicecream.com.

Costeaux French Bakery, Healdsburg
Start with a complimentary consultation with the wedding cake planner, and overview of all the local ingredients that has made this boutique bakery first choice among Sonoma County’s dessert loving fans.

Gorgeous tiered cakes can be surrounded with cookies, tarts, panforte, cheesecake, frangipane, pâte à choux, petit four, eclairs, truffles and near-endless more sugary inspirations.

417 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg, 707-433-1913, costeaux.com.

Supreme Sweets, Rohnert Park
Recently opened, the cute shop in a clapboard cottage is the dream of owner Christina Danner, and offers an array of pastries, cookies, custom cakes, brownies, pies, cobblers, and the best of them all: themed dessert bars for parties.

Virtually any flavor can be had, from salted caramel and blackberry mousse cupcakes, to red velvet, lemon, carrot, and dairy/gluten-free chocolate.

1301 Maurice Avenue, Rohnert Park, 707-794-1524, Facebook

A Sweet Tip: After the reception, guests will want to sleep off their happy dessert comas, certainly. And few places could fit the bill better than DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Sonoma Wine Country, since each room comes with complimentary, freshly baked chocolate chip cookies upon check-in. One Doubletree Drive, Rohnert Park.

Planning a wedding? Get free wedding assistance from Sonoma County Tourism here.

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