Business and Operations
Editor’s Letter: back to the classics
October 18, 2022 By Colleen Cross
Follow other bakeries and scroll your social media feed for a few minutes a day and you’ll pick up ideas and trends in no time.
One we’ve noticed is naturalistic cakes. This trend encompasses not only the naked or nude cake and also simplified, pared down cakes with just enough decoration to add an understated elegance. Bakery after bakery has been showcasing beautiful, delicate sugar flowers, wispy foliage, simulated birch trees bases and sweeping garlands of flowers. Jenna Hutchinson of Winnipeg’s Jenna Rae Cakes told us requests are up for white wedding cakes. Could this be an echo of the bride’s dress?
Back to nature is a timeless look especially for a wedding cake. It may speak to our desire to streamline, simplify and remember what’s important in life. With so many weddings and milestone gatherings finally taking place after being postponed during the pandemic, it may also suggest a desire to go for a style that’s tried, true and reliable.
In short, we’re all craving certainty, which has been in short supply since early 2020. That need is expressing itself in all sorts of ways and in many aspects of our lives.
We see it in the little rituals, including that reliably good cup of coffee or tea we take in the morning, and it extends to pastries, muffins and breakfast sandwiches ordered from our favourite bakery-cafe.
We also see it in the return to in-person food service – tentative at first and then embraced gleefully. Many bakery regulars are still giddy with joy, sometimes pinching themselves, to be lingering over treats with friends.
Uncertainty crept into every conversation we had with bakeries during the pandemic, and even as the end of the danger seemed near, we still heard it in the voices of even the most successful and normally confident bakery owner. Will things get back to what they once were? Everyone had their own picture of what back to normal would look like, but all visions featured some version of people gathering.
To be sure, lots of bakers have shown their bold and playful sides in unique cakes made at their clients’ requests. One example is a classic, natural tiered cake set against a wall hung with delicate doughnuts made by Ritzy Cakes of Waterford, Ont. It’s an example of the strong trend of small indulgences Jane Dummer explored in her column in our August/September edition.
For many bakers, cake and sugar artists, more is more, and one perfect buttercream rose deserves 50 more. That’s especially true of kids’ birthday cakes, which re-create every movie franchise, favourite toy, princess or emotion you can imagine: minion cakes, cakes bursting with cars and Frozen-inspired creations urging kids to “Let It Go!”
I’m reminded of another observation made by Michelle Brisebois of Textrix Consulting in these pages: in times of upheaval and uncertainty, superheroes rise up in popularity.
Late in 2021 Deco Pac’s collection of themes included some bold, decadent, rich-hued and decidedly celebratory styles. They expressed a sense of joyful excess that was a long time coming but would no doubt be worth the wait.
Another trend we’ve noticed is pull-me-up glitter cakes, as identified by Dawn Foods executive chef Melissa Trimmer in Bake magazine: “People want to have experiences,” Trimmer says of pull-me-up cakes, which feature a special reveal in the final step. “These cakes have customizable flavors. I really would love to see bakeries sell take-home kits to consumers.”
Next issue and online in October, we bring you cake, cookie, bread, chocolate and pastry trends galore from the IBIE in Las Vegas!
Whatever your jam – comfort food classics or surrealistic flights of fancy – perhaps the surest way to give your customers the sense of certainty they crave is through the consistent quality your products, bakery ambiance and customer service show every day. As bakers, you are in a perfect position this fall to provide this longed-for comfort in a still uncertain time of recovery.
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