Baking · Baking Trends

The (Baking) Development of 2014

[Note: this started off life as a post about the potential trends of 2014 in the baking world, but t the end of February, it’s a little late. Therefore this should not be viewed as a prediction, but rather as a running commentary.]

As in all disciplines, baking [(as well as food in general!) goes through trends. We all remember the Great Cupcake Extravaganza of 2011, the rise of homemade bread (pun completely intended) and the Surprise Cronut Frenzy of 2013, which sent downtown Manhattan almost to standstill, as hundreds queued around the block in order to taste this delicacy.

The question is then, what will be the next trends to hit us?

As you may expect, predictions vary. I read one article that claimed both that big cakes would be in, tapping in to the family-style, and them almost immediately afterwards claiming that the trend for big cakes was over. Logically that argument seems a little flawed to me. However, there are many others which deserve a mention, and some that I’ll be developing my thoughts on, not to mention giving you my own suggestions.

Naked Cakes

Image here

The natural trend has been developing in the culinary world for some years now, particularly focusing on the twin issues of sustainability and organic produce. Taking this trend to an aesthetic level, the end of last year saw a development of stripping cakes back to their most basic elements (and not in my lazy method of just not decorating it!). This rustic trend has reached substantial popularity in wedding cakes – thankfully taking over from the cakes of cheese – and the focus on fruit and spices (such as lavender and rose) creates a lighter, less sugar-filled cake.

Choux Pastry

Image here

Apparently this is going to be the next development in French Patisserie, and the displays in many noted Parisian shops seem to confirm this. The previous macaroon trend was beautiful – however, many of the macaroons I tried were almost sickeningly sweet – one shop almost left me in a (albeit delicious) sugar coma! Now whilst I cannot comment on the development of choux pastry in British Bakeries across the country,I can comment that I have eaten more choux pastry this year than in all of last year, and that this trend is one that I hope will continue to wind its delicious way through 2014.

Baking Mash-ups

Cronut – Image here

The Townie – Britain’s contribution to the baking mash up! Image here

A continuation from last year, suggestions have been mooted regarding the combinations of two desserts, or adding a new spin onto an old classic. Suggestions from Good Food Magazine include the ‘Sticky Toffee Pie’ and ‘Party Dodgers’ – what I can only assume is a cross between a party ring and a jammy dodger.

My personal opinion – Britain isn’t going far enough. At the moment, as with many of the trends, the USA is the pioneer, from the ubiquitous cronut to the townie (brownie-tart) and the duffin (doughnut-muffin). Compared to these delicious treats, turning a lemon drizzle cake into a roulade is simply playing it safe.

Increased Complexity in Baking

Charlotte Royale – the infamous brain cake! Image here

When the Great British Bake-Off began, the level of technicality in the baking challenges was far simpler than in the previous series. I dread to think what dastardly challenges have been thought up for this years competitors, but one result of this is that the previous mystery that surrounded patisserie has dissipated somewhat. No longer seen as overly complex, amateurs are now far more likely to use techniques such as tempering. I would expect that this will develop through this year, though due to a probable plateauing of abilities and equipment availability I would suggest that this would not extend past this.

Biscuits

Image from Bubble and Sweet -Pinterest again delivers some beautiful biscuits!

Sweet Ambs Cookies - Ideal Wedding Favours 7

These from Into the Wildwood are also rather stunning.

I’ve not seen this one written down anywhere, but this is a trend which I feel should come back soon. Biscuits are a ridiculously undervalued baked good – capable of endless variation, easily portable and completely beautiful when decorated appropriately (See the examples below!) All of the other baking trends seem to have found some form of resurgence during the past few years except the biscuit, and I think it is about time the humble biscuit got its due!

How about the rest of you then? Any comments or omissions?

(This post references the Good Food article as a predominant source. There are several other articles which suggest baking trends, though many are similar to those mentioned in this article).

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Baking · Cake · Cake Pops

Jumping on the Cake Pop Bandwagon

As in all things, baking goes through phases and trends. Some years ago, cupcakes were the uncool childish cakes covered in buttercream and hundreds and thousands that you make with your mum on a Sunday, now they are the height of sophistication. Macaroons used to be only eaten by the French upper classes, but now there is a macaroon stand in the shopping centre of my Yorkshire hometown. The advent of Lakeland, the internet and a far wider range of cookery books mean that the complex patisserie creations formerly ownly created by master pastry chefs are now attempted by normal people like me, case in point being that I had to be dragged away from a home croquembouche kit in Lakeland recently.

However, whilst I have in my time embraced most of these trends, there is one that I have avoided. The cake pop.

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I don’t know why, but this trend did not entice me – I found myself confused rather than interested, thinking ‘why on earth would you want to eat a ball of squished-up cake on a stick?’ It wasn’t due to a case of baking snobbery – I just honestly didn’t see the attraction. Yes the decorations were cut, but still – cake lollies? Not convinced

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Gradually I started to come around to the idea. When you make a lot of cakes, the attraction of a small cake is increased – the same reason I like mini-magnums. Putting it on a stick went from annoying and difficult to whimsical and attractive. I started thinking that maybe I should give them a go. When Max agreed that they sounds a good idea, I gave in.

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Making them for the first time, I learnt many things

  1. Don’t use the recipe on the packet – It doesn’t work!
  2. Sponge cake is not suitable for cake pops unless you want the stick to pass right through the cake pop
  3. Gravity is not the friend of cake decorations, particularly when using dark chocolate!
  4. A cake pop stand is necessary – using Max’s flag stands results in slightly tilted cake pops!

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However, I also learnt that going back to your childhood is great fun. Yes, these aren’t the neatest, they are messy and look like they were done by a five year old. But in that mess sits a fun morning, a chocolate covered work surface (well, silicone mat) and a happy heart.

Anyway, over to you. Where do you stand on the cake pop?