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Feeding a crowd dessert?

I signed up for making dessert at a combination holiday/1st birthday party (for my son), and my mom's house next week. She just informed me she expects 30.

I'm trying to decide between one type of dessert (large cake or several small of the same type) or a dessert table. Other considerations are that, although it is a kid bday party, most of the guests are adults. Also, I bake, rather than buy, to accomodate a nut allergy. Finally, I'll be prepping in a kitchen not my own, on a relatively short timetable, so anything that is easy and/or can be made 1-2 days ahead would be tremendously helpful.

I am tending to a variety of desserts, a homemade cake, some cupcakes from a box, a few fruit tarts using whatever jumps out at the farmer's market, and maybe some rice krispie treats. Then again, maybe an assortment of holiday cookies...
I don't want to take on too much and then be exhausted (or not make deadline). What do you think?

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  1. banana cream pie - made with vanilla wafers,banana pudding,bananas and whip cream- serve it in a big casserole or pyrex dish- pretty good and it gets better after a day or two the cookies mush up well.
    We find that this is addicting and so easy!

    1. I think this calls for a trifle. Easy to assemble, no baking, big dish dessert, good for both adults and kids (without any alcohol, of course ;)

      2 Replies
      1. re: pescatarian

        I absolutely agree with the trifle idea! It's got such a huge "wow" factor and it's so easy to pull together! There's a variety of easy recipes, and you can even pull one together yourself without a recipe! Take chocolate pound cake, some fresh whipped cream, and some chocolate pudding and layer away! Finish the top with the whipped cream and some chocolate shavings and viola - a show stopper!

        1. re: pescatarian

          I was thinking trifle as well. You could even make a couple of trifles in different flavors.

          1. Please don't call me a glutton for punishment, but I think that is tooooo easy. If I don't work at it a little, I won't be able to enjoy the compliments that I hope will be forthcoming...

            2 Replies
            1. re: sasha1

              Easy, but looks nice ideas:

              Biscotti half dipped in chocolate (can be made a day or two in advance) and you can substitute the nuts with chocolate/dried fruit/ginger, etc due to the nut allergy.
              The rice crispie treats can be made into a cake in a bundt pan and then decorated nicely.
              Strawberry Shortcake (although not really in season)
              Lemon White Chocolate Tart, decorated with raspberries
              Yummy Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing.
              Chocolate Caramel Brownies

              1. re: sasha1

                Trifles can be as easy or as hard as you want to make them. If you make your own sponge cake, custard, it'll be more time consuming but something you can put together ahead of time and not be exhausted for the party. Epicurious has some good ones and are not too easy but turn out well.

                How about a cheesecake bar? Different cheesecakes, different toppings. That can all be done a day in advanced, too.

              2. chocolate devils food cake layered with chocolate whipped cream and chocolate shavings on top-for chocolate lovers