With Christmas fast approaching, the time for guilt-free consumption of all that’s sweet and delicious is nearly here. In West, cooks have always looked for ways to preserve the abundant autumn harvest through the barren winter months, and the Christmas cake is a great example. Its high alcohol content (in west) keeps it moist and ready to eat for months – assuming you can keep your hands off it!
But it hasn’t always looked as it does today. Marzipan and icing were a Victorian addition, inspired by the earlier tradition for a Twelfth Night Cake, which was baked to celebrate the end of the twelve days of Christmas. It was a night of parties, feasts, and games and the cake was a part of it. Two beans were hidden in the mix, and the man and woman who found them were treated as king and queen for the night-a tradition that seems ripe for revival!
Stollen has been part of Christmas in Germany since at least the 15th century and has turned up on to different part of the globe in recent times. It’s made in much the same way as a regular sweetened fruit bread. But once it’s taken from the oven, the still-warm loaf is slathered in butter and rolled in icing sugar.
For we all like figgy pudding – even it these days the Middle Eastern fruit is largely lacking from out recipes. But how did the dense steamed cake come to be? Today’s Christmas pudding is less meant grain, more sweet. It’s the embodiment of all those classic Christmas flavors – fruit, alcohol, nuts, and spices- in one deliciously rich dish. But festive chefs still face the same problem: how to avoid the dreaded cannonball-like consistency of a pudding gone wrong.
Few aromas summon the spirit of Christmas like that of a freshly baked mince pie. But these familiar festive treats haven’t always looked and tasted the way they do today. For most of their history, the pies were coffin-shaped and filled with actual minced meat- normally mutton along with the usual fruit and spices. The sugar of the fruit and the strong spices were great for preserving meat through winter or hiding the taste of goods that were past their best.
On the cake decorating front, the New Year will usher in a wide range of color trends that cake decorators need to be keenly aware of. One example is chalky pastels with unfinished edges and imperfect textures that become part of a worn, shabby but familiar style. Colors are muted yet contemporary, You’ll start seeing more chalky pastels in 2018. The trend, particularly in large metros, is driven by the rising cost of city living for young creatives, who are moving to the edge of urban areas to create subcultures of urban influence. Cake decorators are moving between city and suburbs in their cake designs, and this brings a combination of grit and beauty into the design process. Painting on cakes also falls into this trend.
Other notable cake trends for the upcoming year include the use of emojis, candies, and cereals, The popularity of drip drizzle cakes is expected to grow, as well as youthful, succinct messaging like “HBD” on cakes, rather than “Happy Birthday”.
Fondant for cakes has been around for decades but now cake decorators are promoting a new idea: fondant cookies and accents. Many recommend using fondant on top of decorated cookies to make clean, colorful, eye-popping designs. “One of the things I love so much about using fondant is that you are able to put your own stamp on it and make more money,” says one baker in the town. “There are so many things you can do that will increase your profitability.” Another useful trick is to use fondant to make cake toppers ahead of time, like a fondant bluebird that you can place on top of a decorated cake. You can also make custom flower-shaped cookie cutters so “you have something nobody else has.”
Personalization is paramount in today’s world, and many shops feature a number of innovative ways you can personalize the look of your indulgent desserts, including printed chocolates, full-color printing, and even cookie toppers.
In vogue are Mini Chocolate pearls that are tiny dark, milk and white chocolate beads with a crispy biscuit center top off drinks center top off drinks with a shiny, crunchy bite and chocolate taste. There is also a variety of chocolates that are roughly, uneven shaped. These add a rugged finish atop desserts and pastries. This great versatility allows for use in mixed ice cream and chocolate mousse applications, or as an inclusion for a muffin, brownies or bread dough.
Even with consumers increasingly making better-for-you food and beverage choices, they are not ready to give up on dessert. Individual tarts are making serious inroads at pastry shops across the country. They allow you to push the limits of creativity with flavor combinations that intrigue shoppers into wanting more.
Nothing seems capable of slowing down dessert sales. With the current atmosphere of health-and-wellness pushing the food industry, it would seem a safe assumption that desserts would be falling out of favor with consumers. The numbers, however, suggest otherwise. Now pie bakers are latching onto a statistically proven link between pies and holidays to create opportunities for sales growth throughout the calendar. Through larger sizes and new flavors, pies can keep consumers celebrating all year round. Strategies such as using traditionally seasonal flavors year-round, single- serve pies, and innovative flavors are being employed by pie bakers.
It’s always important to make a name for the bakery within the local community, and retailers can accomplish this in numerous ways. Most bakeries focus on public relations and high-quality pastries to keep customers aware of their presence, as well as new menu items. They create recipes from scratch, bake in small batches and use high equality ingredients for their desserts. Currently on the menu are a variety of seasonal treats and local flavors.