Wedding Cake Baker Lizzie Johnson Dishes on Desserts

Johnson, of Lizzie’s Bakery, is just as excited about desserts as you are.

Photo by Stephanie Vegliante

Lizzie Johnson could never give up baking. As she and her husband moved from Provo, Utah, to L.A. before ultimately settling in Boston in 2017, Johnson, a longtime sweets maker, put her advertising degree to work, but the office life never felt quite right. So she started Lizzie’s Bakery, which she ran as a side gig before deciding to go full-time in 2018. Now, Johnson happily spends her days churning out desserts such as cakes, cookies, macarons, and tarts. “Baking [is] my creative outlet,” Johnson explains. “I was always intrigued by the challenges of reading a recipe and trying to copy a design I [saw somewhere].” Plus, she adds, “I love sugar!” Suffice to say, if your wedding calls for a full feast of sweets, Johnson is more than ready to make that happen.

When in the planning process should a couple book your services?

Six months before the wedding is good because it gets [desserts] out of the way so couples don’t have to worry about them. Plus, I always tell my clients that I’m a one-woman show, so I don’t bake anything until a week out: If they change their minds about a flavor the week before the wedding, it’s fine because I haven’t started anything yet.

What desserts do you offer?

Wedding cakes, cupcakes, cookies, sheet cakes, macarons, cake pops, mini pies, [bars, muddy buddies], and tarts.

Photo by Stephanie Vegliante

How do you work with couples to customize their dessert selections?

[If they want cake], I send them my menu before they come to a tasting. There are 15 flavors and they can try three. They can also ask for different kinds of fillings and frostings that they think would be good with each flavor. If a couple wants to do a dessert bar, they can do a tasting depending on the type of dessert they want. I have a curated menu that they can choose from to make it easier, but if they want something custom, I’m happy to accommodate.

Speaking of which, dessert bars have been trending for a few seasons now. Why?

Dessert bars started getting popular when Pinterest came out, and people were seeing different ideas [and realized] they didn’t have to get the big traditional wedding cake, but instead could choose all of their favorite desserts for their big day. Having that assortment is great because everyone has different tastes—and it’s fun to please everyone!

That said, people can do cakes and desserts. [Some couples have requested] cutting cakes, because they still want that traditional part of their wedding, and then a sheet cake or cupcakes for their guests. Or some people get a cake, but then have their favorite doughnuts at the wedding, too. It’s all fine; people can do what they want.

What are some ways to make a dessert bar extra special?

You can customize the selection by matching the colors [of the desserts] to your wedding colors. And if you’re going for sugar cookies, a cute monogram of your last name is the perfect touch to personalize them. Another thing you can do is [serve] your favorite candies in bulk, which is always a hit—especially when there are to-go bags for people to take them as favors. You could also have a themed dessert bar, like an ice cream sandwich [station] where I provide the cookies and the couple provides their favorite ice cream flavors. I went to one wedding where they had a frozen banana cart with chocolate toppings, and then they had an ice cream cart, too. It was the best thing ever!

Tell us about one of your most memorable dessert requests.

Last year, I had a bride and groom with a funny story. They ordered two three-tiered cakes, one for the bride and one for the groom—because one likes red velvet and one likes vanilla. And I was like, “You can just combine [the flavors], so each tier is one or the other.” And they were like, “No, we want it all.” So I did two huge cakes for them, and I thought that was so cool.

How have you adjusted your offerings due to COVID-19?

I’ve been making a lot of small elopement cakes for couples who have had to cancel or postpone their big weddings but still want to get married now. I love elopement cakes!

What advice do you have for couples who are waiting to see if they’ll have to cancel in 2021?

Take it month by month. This pandemic is changing every day, and you want to be prepared for anything that may come your way. We don’t know what the future of weddings will be like. So just stay calm and communicate with all of your vendors so you know what to do for next steps.

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