Bakers Journal

The Final Proof: Cake Trends for 2019

February 12, 2019
By Jane Dummer

Guilt shouldn’t be a factor in selling desserts: Try “permissible indulgence”

Smaller versions of crowd-sized treats are gaining popularity.

Consumers are heading into 2019 hearing marketing catchphrases that range from “bite-sized” and “indulgent” to “clean-label” and “natural.” Over the past few years, I’ve identified the balanced approach of indulgent miniatures as a cake trend that’s not going anywhere.

Creating tiny versions of popular cakes gives clients their favourite flavour with an overall luscious experience. It allows people to enjoy a sweet delight in the evening, as an afternoon luxury with coffee or even a bite-sized tasting at a bridge club. As people continue to graze and snack more throughout the day, bite-sized cakes are a perfect option for this consumer demand.

Personally, I prefer the term “permissible indulgence,” rather than using the expression “guilt-free.” I’ve never been a fan of equating guilt to anything, especially eating. I’ve always promoted quality over quantity and I love the idea of a rule-breaking indulgence rather than a guilt-free but mediocre experience. I continue to see the trend of people wanting to connect with what is real and authentic. Consumers are searching for authenticity and honesty, especially in food products and ingredients. They still want rich, decadent flavours but they are also focused on making healthier food choices. With the bite-sized and indulgent approach, people can still enjoy treats while maintaining a healthy dietary pattern.

French Pastry 101 Cookbook author, Betty Hung is the chef and co-owner of Vancouver’s Beaucoup Bakery & Café. She agrees with the continued movement of permissible indulgence in cakes and baked goods for 2019. “The big trend I’m observing is vegan baking. I have seen excellent vegan croissants, which is the opposite of traditional butter-rich croissants. It is a great alternative because both vegans and non-vegans can enjoy.”


Also trending for the upcoming year, are cakes that are simple and natural. Chef Hung explains, “I predict 2019 is the year of minimalistic, fresh, and floral. We will move away from the heaviness of fondant cakes and transition to simple and natural cakes. This trend was already observed in 2018 with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding cake of a lemon elderflower decorated with a simple buttercream and fresh flowers. This trend is definitely moving towards the buttercream and fresh flowers as the stars of the cake.”

Instagram will uphold as the social media preference in 2019 for both for bakeries and the home baker. Traditional cake designs will always have classic appeal, but adding an artistic touch to appear original is necessary to stand out.  Experimenting with different designs can be a fun exercise and with the right designs, your bakery will be unique and on-trend.

In addition to natural, fresh and floral, Hung is forecasting watercolour or hand-painted cakes becoming more popular for the home baker to differentiate with that artistic touch, especially on instagram. Hung describes this approach, “Watercolour is achieved by food colour hand painted using a brush directly onto the surface of the cake. Like with real watercolour, a colour palette would be handy for this. You can also achieve a watercolour look by blending in coloured frosting onto the sides of an already frosted cake.”

In 2018, Puratos launched Topfil, a range of fruit filings with up to 90 per cent fruit content for enhanced taste, texture and natural visual appeal. The Topfil ingredients allow bakers to create innovative filled sweet goods, for any occasion, while delivering the genuine taste of authentic fruit that consumers demand. Simple and natural fruit forward cakes and baked goods will continue to trend in 2019 to provide customers with delicious experiences.

The year of 2019 will be all about enjoying that special cake without having to give up the overall experience. Creating bite-sized cakes is a great way to introduce new options to your marketplace, for example, mini baklava cups to customers who have never tried this Turkish/Greek dessert. Developing cakes that are vegan and lower calorie (bite-sized) can help bring back customers that may have ditched sweet treats in the past. Visual appeal will continue to be important with approaches including watercolours allowing for the construction of creations that engage and interest consumers both in-person and on social media. 

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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