Bakers Journal

Final Proof: Yuzu and ube are nutritious, vibrant and celebratory

February 7, 2023
By Jane Dummer

Looking to explore new ingredients and flavours? Yuzu and ube are trending

Yuzu is a yellow citrus fruit with vitamin C and antioxidants. Its taste is described as tart-sweet like a combination of lemon and orange with notes of grapefruit and tangerine. PHOTO: FLAVORSUM

Consumers continue to expand their horizons, experimenting with global ingredients and flavours. Nutritious, vibrant with unique tastes, both yuzu and ube are trending as healthy and happy flavours in baking. 

Yuzu is a traditional Japanese ingredient and flavour. Ube is a traditional ingredient and flavour in Philippines. Yuzu is an appealing yellow citrus fruit with vitamin C and antioxidants. Ube is a purple root vegetable with antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin A and fibre. Yuzu was named a bonus trend in Barry Callebaut’s Chocolate Academy Five Bakery and Pastry Trends for 2023. Ube continues to be a rockstar ingredient for Instagram posts. 

Both have unique tastes. Yuzu’s taste is described as tart-sweet like a combination of lemon and orange with notes of grapefruit and tangerine. The flavour of ube is described as sweet, earthy and nutty with hints of vanilla. Both are sweet but not too sweet, making them widely used in baked goods, chocolates and desserts. Also, consumers continue to take their health seriously while embracing optimism. Exotic flavours like yuzu and ube support this health and wellness trend.

Lisa Jackson, FlavorSum marketing director, said people are responding to yuzu’s citrusy flavour because it is tasty, attractive, gourmet, fun, unique and celebratory (Tastewise): “The flavour profile is showing up more often on menus (incidence on menus bumped up eight per cent in November 2022), which leads to increased use in home and by food and drink brands. The flavour’s blended citrus notes offer versatility in baking, and more people named yuzu as part of their snacks and desserts in the last year.”  


“Yuzu is a very complimentary flavour in bakery applications,” notes Roseanne McGuire, applications scientist for baked goods, FlavorSum. “It enhances citrusy-notes and has a natural brightness that creates some excitement in bars and cookies.”

Jackson explains, “Ube shares many characteristics that make yuzu noteworthy. Including being tasty, celebratory, unique, gourmet, and fun. But ube is receiving additional accolades for offering an artisan quality to foods and some beverages. Ube is getting faster traction on menus, with prevalence up 22 per cent in November 2022. While snacks and desserts are the predominant occasions where ube appears, the purple-hued ingredient is becoming more linked to main meal occasions – breakfast, dinner, lunch, and brunch.”

Ube is a purple root vegetable with antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin A and fibre. PHOTO: FLAVORSUM

Dominique and Cindy Duby, managing directors, Wild Sweets® By Dominique & Cindy Duby, Richmond, B.C., explain how they use an ‘aromatic molecular synergy’ approach to ingredient pairing or combining: “When we design a product that includes yuzu, we run it through the software and decide what we will include in the overall formulation. Aromatically speaking, yuzu’s best aromatic synergy includes rosemary, mint, lime, mango to name a few of the leading aromatic partners. As a result, one or more of those ingredients would be the base of our formulation to create a final chocolate or dessert.” 

Wild Sweets® By Dominique & Cindy Duby has a limited-release “East Meets West” Praline & Ganache Collection. Duby says, “The creative process for that collection started with identifying food ingredients that are popular in Japan including gari (pickled ginger), matcha, miso (sweet) and umeboshi (pickled plums). We then used the science-based process to identify which other ingredient(s) aromatically pairs with the leading or ‘main’ ingredient. For example, for the MISO, we designed a ganache made with Fuji apple infused with sweet miso. For texture contrast, we added a layer of peanut butter praliné flavoured with lyophilized yuzu.”

McGuire adds, “Cakes, cookies and pancakes are the top three most established baking applications for ube followed by cheesecake and waffles. The nutty, vanilla taste of ube adds decadence and visual appeal to churros, chocolate cakes and croissants. Cakes and cheesecakes are also popular applications for yuzu flavour, with cookies on an upward trend in the past year. Incorporating yuzu into a cherry cheesecake would add a layer of complexity that increases depth of taste. Buns (like Chelsea buns), pancakes, and croissants are emerging applications that benefit from the sophisticated flavour of yuzu.”

No longer rare or exotic flavours, yuzu and ube are vibrant, fun, celebratory and aromatically paired to create delicious, sweet treats as consumers want to focus on wellness and optimism. And who doesn’t need a bit of that right now!

Jane Dummer, RD, known as the Pod to Plate Food Consultant, collaborates and partners with the food and nutrition industry across North America.

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