Birthday Cake Trends 2020

With another year of caking and baking ending, we step into a whole new DECADE today! Cakes will forever be a cornerstone for celebrating milestones, including birthdays and weddings. However, even the world of baking has some trends that take off by storm and some that disappear into cake-history. Some trends get hot like a bun in the oven, and some go flat like a pancake. I’m going to lay out my very scientific findings based on what my -5.75 prescription eyes see as hot or not.

Here are my predictions of Birthday Cake Trends of 2020:

Hot 1. Fault Line Cake

This is the style that keeps giving. A fault line cake is typically decorated with buttercream. It has a visible under layer peeking through the midsection in a contrasting colour, pattern or embellishments. We have many versions of it with stripes, sprinkles and even gold leaf!

Fault Line Cakes

Gold Leaf Fault Line Birthday Cake

Cold 1. Geode Cake

Fault line cakes are like the more appetising cousin of the Geode-Cake trend of yester-years. I’ve never heard anyone ever say, “ooh I love the feeling of loosing a tooth over a rock-hard lump of crystallised sugar.” So the idea to cut out lovely soft sponge layers of CAKE to replace with sugar rock was always going to go go down like a sack of...well, rocks..

Hot 2 . Textured Buttercream Cakes

We love our smooth lined buttercream finish on cakes but there are some very interesting textures in buttercream. “Roughed up” buttercream finishes are actually quite a tricky effect to achieve. It’s counter-intuitive to purposefully ‘destroy’ a perfectly smoothed cake. Also, there is a fine line between “roughed up” and just rough. But when done right, such as a ruffle or a scalloped finish, they look really lovely.

Textured Buttercream Cakes

Rustic Ruffle Cake

Cold. 2. Naked Cakes

I don’t want to think naked cakes are going out of fashion, because they are gorgeous, but they just aren’t as en vogue as they used to be. I won’t have to worry though as the stripped-back barren look will come back again just like flared trousers. Oh wait, are flares back in fashion yet??

Naked Salted Caramel Birthday Cake

Hot 3 . Half-wrapped Cakes

A spin-off of the popular fault line cake is the ‘half-wrapped cake’. This style didn’t seem to have a name so I’ve taken the authority to coin the term. They are basically a frosted cake with a contrasting over-layer on the base, giving it a “half-wrapped” look. I think it looks particularly fetching in smaller 4 inch or 6” sized cakes. And you couldn’t pay me enough to do it in a 12” size because that would be minging.

Birthday Cake Trends 2020 - Half Wrapped Cakes

Cold 3. Fresh Cream Gateaux

Hello, 1940’s called, they want their cakes filled with fresh whipped cream, topped with fresh fruit and drowned in gloopy shiny glaze back. These cakes are as old-fashioned as they come and whilst they taste lovely they look just about as trendy as granny’s floral drapes. Let’s just call them Granny Gateaux.

Hot 4 . Subtle Novelty Cakes

Novelty cakes are here to stay. Sad, but true. There is no denying that full-fondant-frontal cakes will always be a mainstay when it comes to the typical novelty cakes. But we are seeing more of buttercream cakes adapted to themes with minimal decorative fondant touches. Our Old MacDonald’s farm cake is a perfect example of a typical novelty cake brought to buttercream-life.

Old Macdonald’s Farm Novelty Birthday Cake

Cold 4. Cupcakes

I’m not sitting on the fence on this. Cupcakes are trying hard to stay relevant by being absolutely EVERYWHERE. I can’t enter and exit a freakin’ tube stop without seeing them. Carrie Bradshaw ate that cupcake almost two decades ago and I bet even she’s moved on to a proper slice of cake with the appropriate amount of frosting. And before you jump up and point out, “hey Reshmi, you make cupcakes too!”. Well yes, we do. But I have an excuse. We make primarily for our Cupcake Cake range. But when something is so easily available its appeal diminishes, and we’ve seen this in demand for our cupcakes too. See, I actually have scientific and empirical evidence to back this up so you better believe it.

Cupcakes Birthday Cake Trends 2020

Hot 5 . Sugar-Free and Low-Carb Cakes

If 2019 was the year of plant-based, 2020 is set-to be sugar-free. More and more people are turning to low carb ways of eating with diets such as paleo and keto. And keeping carb count low in cakes would mean you can still treat yourself on occasion without blowing up like a blimp. Just because a cake is low in carbs does not have to mean it’s low in taste! There are a good few varieties of natural sweeteners than can be used to replace sugar. And almond flour is a great wheat-free substitute in cakes and bakes.

Sugar Free Low Carb Cheesecake

Cold 5. Macarons

Yikes. This actually physically pains me to suggest, but macarons just aren’t as popular anymore. I never thought I’d equate them to cupcakes, especially as they are so much MORE in terms of technique. But seeing them as easily available as cupcakes makes them not as coveted as they used to be. Luckily for us we saw this coming and I turned my palette knife to cake many years ago. And since our macaron topped cakes are still popular, which is literally the best of both worlds, I can sigh a big breath of relief.

There’s my definitive guide to what’s hot or not in the world of caking and baking! I don’t intend to cause any offence with any of my opinions and predictions above - if you’ve made a living off granny gateaux, I hope you continue to! If you have any other predictions or anything to contradict mine, please feel free to drop them in comments below.

Happy New Year!

Reshmi xoxo

2 Responses



October 12, 2020

Hi! I loved seeing your insight into popular cake trends for this year :) I’m curious whether you think tall cakes are also the way to go? I know they’re trending so as a beginner cake maker, I’m curious whether as to it’s a necessity! Thank you and hope to hear back on your insight~

Nomcebo Mngomezulu

Nomcebo Mngomezulu

September 20, 2020

Wow…such amazing designs

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