This is the definitive list of what's hot and what's not for cake in 2023. Cake is always welcome - actually, sacrosanct to any special occasion. I don't really have to go on about why cake is so important to culture as it's obvious but I will.
Cake is happiness. It crosses barriers - language, culture, socio-economic. Everybody loves cake. Cake-cutting is a definitive moment of any celebration, cake-eating brings people together, and cake-making is therapeutic. Cake, Cake, CAKE.
Okay now that's sorted, why is this cake trend list worth reading over others? Because it's based on our 12 year trading history and my extensive industry experience. Not a freelance content writer's or blogger's. It's based on our hard-coded numbers and data spanning more than a decade. I've seen cake trends be born, I've set a few of them myself (hello, cake croquembouche on the cover of TimeOut), and I've also seen a few die, some even coming back to life.
Good, you're still here. Now let's get into it.
6 TOP CAKE TRENDS OF 2023 - What's Baking HOT in Cake Decorating
1. Fake Bakes
Sorry to bring a downer to this by bringing up the Cost of Living Crisis, but it cannot be ignored. According to national statistics, the crisis is affecting the spending patterns of 9/10 of us. Our energy bills have quadrupled without any notice and we are definitely feeling the squeeze. So how does one make a banging cake without turning on the oven? Why, you fake bake of course!
What is fake baking? It's when you get ready-made supermarket cakes, ready-made frosting in a tub, and use readily available decorations to create a visual cake centrepiece. The cake will never taste as good as a home-baked creation. But with more and more people looking to cut energy costs (air fryer sales have gone up 3000%), making a showstopping cake without turning on the oven is getting more and more popular.
Even celebrities have caught the fake-baking bug - comedian Victoria Emes credits us for her inspiration and I am so proud! And national sweetheart Stacey Solomon is all over fake baking too.
2. Oil-Based Cake Sponge Baking
The cost of butter has seen increases of up to 26% this year. Butter is so precious now that Asda has started putting electronic security tags on their 750g Lurpak tubs retailing for a whopping £6.
We saw this coming pre-covid and feel quite smug to have switched over our recipes from butter-based to oil-based. We created our signature Hero Sponge Recipe to make our sponges stay moist and tender for longer.
But we also found out that switching to oil from butter had a two-pronged effect on savings - saving on the actual cost of butter, but also, there is no need to have expensive caster sugar to cream with the butter. We saved even more by switching to standard granulated sugar which is 66% cheaper than caster.
Hero Sponge is far superior to butter-based sponge as it includes flavoursome buttermilk or yoghurt which also makes the crumb texture soft and fluffy. Since I made our trade secret public, it's gained somewhat of a cult status and the recipe is now on a mug!
3. Luxury Cakescapes
The top two trends mentioned address the impact of the cost of living crisis as a result of high rates on inflation. However, there is a particular type of product that bucks the trend in a recession - luxury goods.
Simply put, rich folk that were always going to buy expensive luxury items are still going to buy the expensive luxury items. They aren't impacted by the cost of living crisis, unlike the rest of the population. We've seen this in our sales results for the year - our lower priced cakes demand has fallen, however our high-priced cakes such as cakescapes have risen.
Economics aside, cakescapes are visual masterpieces. With so much scope for creative decorating over multiple cakes, tiers and dimensions, they are some of the most stunning cakes we have made and our enquiries for them are up for 2023.
4. Inclusive Cakes
As people are more and more aware of dietary restrictions and choices, the need for all-inclusive recipes is greater than before. Some schools have even banned birthday cakes being brought in due to fears of allergens. Hosting a kids party with 20-30 kids is bound to have at least a few dietary requirements. It makes even more sense now that our Hero Sponge recipes for Gluten & Dairy Free, and Vegan are as popular as our original version. Seeing the increased need for free-from recipes along with the popularity of our hero sponge recipe we've even created the holy-grail of free-from pretty much everything - Gluten, Dairy, Egg, Nut and Soya Free - Hero Sponge recipe.
5. Comic Cakes
This trend taking over Instagram and TikTok is perfect for bringing some smiles into a tough new year for many. How can it not cheer you up with its "is it Cake?!" appeal.
A comic cake is a cake decorated with piping thin lines of black buttercream to make it look like a comic book style 3D graphic. It's the antithesis of the Bridgerton style over-ly ornate vintage-style piping and I'm here for it.
6. Kinder Bueno Cakes
That creamy, gooey, sweet, and nutty filling of a Kinder Bueno bar is the best thing about the bar. Take that filling, stuff it in between layers of cakes, melt it over the cake, pump it into the buttercream, inject it into the sponge layers. It's like crack, but better for you. Since you'd have to go through countless Bueno bars to scoop out miniscule amounts of filling, Morrisons and other supermarkets have clocked this trend for which we have an insatiable appetite, and have released White Chocolate Hazelnut spread jars. And they can barely keep up with the demand.
And shock - one of my most popular fake bakes in the Bueno Fake Bake!
Now that we've covered what's hot in 2023, let's get to what's going cold for cake in the new year.
What's Not Hot in Cake Trends for 2023
It's had its day and I'm not sure it's going to come back like its Sex & the City era. Since the start of the pandemic, bakeries with their main focus on cupcakes have either closed outlets for good or have branched out into introducing other products such as trendy NYC cookies, stuffed pies etc.
It's a luxury item, but one that was regarded as an "affordable luxury" for the aspiring. With prices as high as £7.50 in London for a glorified muffin with icing on top, it's poor value proposition is apparent to those tightening their budgets.
Again, we saw this downward trend coming. Which is ironic considering we started the business with just macarons. But like I stated at the start of this blog post - I'm using facts for this list. Our sales, our numbers, our enquiries, data spanning more than a decade. In that decade we have adapted like a cake-chameleon. Identifying trends, creating trends, responding to trends. One of the trends we rode and have now seen a steady decline in is macarons. Whilst we still make as many macarons as we used to, they're used as decorations on the cakes as opposed to selling stand-alone in gift boxes.
However, Emily in Paris could change this around! I can't think of a better ambassador for the posh piece of patisserie than Emily from the hit Netflix show, sashaying down to a Fauchon in chic fashion.
Dominique Ansel left London. I haven't heard about a cronut since. Can't even find a photo.
4. Edible Flower Cakes
Can we stop parading salad as cake decorations already? The people have clocked on. A pack of edible flowers can set you back £2-£3. I'd rather have a caesar salad in a bowl than have it on my cake.
5. Fresh Fruit & Flower Cakes
With costs of food sky-rocketing, where a punnet of 4 strawberries has reached £2.50 in supermarkets, fresh fruit and flowers are not going to be as popular to decorate with. Which is just as well because it's lazy cake decorating anyway.
That concludes my list of cake trends. I hope 2023 brings you good fortune, good health and good cake.
See you next year,