Summer has officially arrived, and it’s brought with it a host of delectable baked goods.

Bakers and retailers are happy to cater for summer picnics, barbecues, and get togethers. So, which flavours and formats can we expect to see? And what consumer needs do they tap into?

A salted caramel traybake with pumpkin seeds and freeze dried raspberries on top

Source: Ginger Bakers

Salted Caramel Jewel Bar

Tantalising twists on traditional bakes

Bakery consumers can be hard to please – they want to be enticed and surprised, but often not taken too far out of their comfort zones to feel like they’re risking their money on something that won’t deliver in terms of taste. That’s why tradition with a twist is the trend that keeps on giving.

“This summer the big trends are hybrid, texture and when it comes to flavour – nostalgia but with a new twist,” explains Jacqui Passmore, marketing manager UK and Ireland at Dawn Foods. Notably, a recent Kantar Profiles/Mintel report from February of this year found that 29% of consumers state ‘new flavour twists’ influence their choice in cakes, cake bars, and sweet baked goods.

“We’re seeing the emergence of products such as twice baked croissants which give even more crunch,” Passmore adds. Finishing with pistachios and hazelnuts, freeze dried or fresh fruit, and meringue pieces also add to visual appeal, while giving a “delicious multi-layered mouthfeel”.

She points to the artisan bakery sector as an excellent area to see these trends in action as businesses have the flexibility to introduce new flavours quickly.

Examples seen in the market include a Triple Pistachio Croissant from southwest London’s Buzzing Bee Baked Things, which sees a sourdough croissant decked out with pistachio pastry cream, pistachio ganache, and caramelised pistachios on top for added crunch. The Street Bakeshop in Old Basing, Hampshire is also serving up a Rhubarb & White Chocolate Custard Cruffin, while the Lake District’s Ginger Bakers unveiled a Salted Caramel Jewel Bar topped with freeze-dried raspberries, pumpkin seeds, and dark chocolate pieces to its line-up recently.

A rhubarb & custard crumble tart

Source: Getty Images

Dessert-themed bakery blurs lines

Hot hybrids this summer include brookies (a brownie and cookie mash-up) as well as patisserie crossovers such as cronuts and cruffins. Another example of hybrids in the bakery market are bakery products inspired by classic desserts.

Research from Mintel found that 47% of customers buy cakes or cake bars as a dessert, so embracing classic dessert flavours in bakery seems like a natural transition.

“We are seeing plenty of traditional dessert inspired flavour combinations used to top and fill pastries and cakes,” says Passmore. “Think rhubarb and custard, elderflower and lemon, banoffee as well as strawberries and cream.”

Take a peek at Waitrose’s summer range for proof. It includes a Rhubarb & Custard Trifle, which sees tart rhubarb compote and sponge cake layered with vanilla custard and cream. The retailer has also unveiled a S’mores Iced Cream Cake, which comprises a Belgian chocolate semifreddo with salted caramel, marshmallow peaks and a crunchy cinnamon biscuit base.

Morrisons Milk Choc Brookie Pudding in packaging

Source: Morrisons

Morrisons, meanwhile, has added Milk Choc Brookie Puddings and White Choc Blondie Puddings to its range. The brookie variant sees a rich chocolate sponge topped with cookie dough pieces and a smooth milk chocolate sauce layer.

Confectionery is also muscling in on bakery as the Kantar/Mintel report highlighted that 35% of consumers find the chocolate brand used in a bakery item is influencing their bakery choice.

“The desire for excitement is driving greater collaboration between brands, operators and retailers,” believes Rob Macklin, branded confectionery ingredient lead at Nestlé Professional, which has worked with several out of home and bakery businesses including Costa Coffee and Krispy Kreme.

“Our own research suggests that branded sweet bakery, in particular, is set to be one of the biggest trends this year,” Macklin adds. “In 2023, we asked consumers how they view branded sweet bakery products, and over two thirds said the idea of a branded treat was exciting and appealing. As well as providing a reassurance of quality for most, branded goods were more likely to encourage them to try something new because they knew what to expect.”

A falafal burger in a seeded brioche bun with salad

Source: Getty Images

Suns out, buns out

Long gone are the days when a bog-standard bun would cut it at a British barbecue – the nation now demands new products which pique their interest and meet dietary requirements.

“According to Innova’s 2022 report, Trendspotting in Buns – Healthy or Indulgent? [Global, CAGR 2017-2021], there are a number of trends expected to be big in buns this summer including indulgence, premium, high/source of fibre, and no additives or preservatives,” explains Michael Schofield, marketing manager for British Bakels, noting that ‘high/source of protein’ claims also offer an opportunity for new products in this market.

A low-carb hot dog roll with sausage and onions in it

Source: SRSLY Low Carb

Keto-friendly brand Seriously Low Carb is among those to tap into several of these keywords with its recently launched torpedo-shaped hotdog roll. The wheat-based roll offers up just 1.3g of carbs per roll, which the brand claims is nearly 90% less than everyday alternatives. The rolls also have 12g of protein and 400% more fibre than a typical off-the-shelf hotdog roll, the firm adds.

Health with a hint of indulgence is also becoming increasingly important for consumers, as Innova highlights a 16% annual average growth in bun launches tracked with at least one health and indulgent claim.

“According to Innova, health-oriented new product launches are growing in the UK, these include brioche buns that contain active cultures for gut health and immune system support,” Schofield notes.

Brioche continues its growth outside of foodservice and hospitality too. Tesco’s bun line-up for summer, for example, includes branded brioche from St Pierre, regular-sized and mini brioche buns as part of its Finest own-label range, and even brioche hot dog rolls.

A selection of tasty food in a picnic basket

Source: Getty Images

Picks of the picnic blanket

Picnics are another mainstay of the sunnier months, but the food and drink appearing on the picnic blanket is changing.

Take the classic sausage roll, for example. Waitrose has upped its game with a sweet chilli variant while M&S has unveiled several innovations of late including smoked bacon & Cheddar sausage rolls as well as a duo of double stuffed ones. The latter, made by Yorkshire Baker, see two fillings in one – either Double Stuffed Pork & Caramelised Onion and Chorizo Pork Sausage Roll or Double Stuffed Pesto Chicken and Tomato, Mozzarella & Chicken Sausage Roll. Taking things even further is Asda with its limited-edition Chicken, Sweet Potato & Mango Salsa Rolls.

Quiche, another picnic staple, is also undergoing a revamp. While the classics like Quiche Lorraine, cheese & onion and broccoli & Cheddar remain popular, new variants are emerging. A Kalamata & Feta Cheese Quiche, part of Asda’s Extra Special range, is one example. Wensleydale Cheese, Petit Pois & Red Pepper and Crustless Vegetable Mozzarella & Pesto options are also among its range.

Branded player Higgidy has also re-introduced its Smoked Salmon & Spinach Little Quiche and its Roasted Tomato & Basil sharing quiche to tap into demand for something a bit different.

A bowl of spiced little lattices with kimchi on the side

Source: Higgidy

Higgidy’s Little Lattics

The brand is also seeking to tap into rising demand for vegetarian-friendly products.

“Over recent years we have seen a move towards a flexitarian diet with consumers cutting down their meat intake. This has resulted in strong performance in the veggie market, with more people looking for exciting, tasty, veg-led products,” believes Higgidy CEO Rachel Kelley.

To meet this need, the brand has added several new products to its line-up, including Sweet Potato Katsu Curry Little Lattices and Spinach, Feta & Red Pepper Little Lattices. For added veg, the Little Lattices are made with butternut squash pastry as part of Higgidy’s mission to hero veg.

“We see formats including our popular rolls range, our mini muffins and our new Little Lattices growing over the summer, as picnicking and outdoor eating reach their peak,” Kelley says.

An apricot & mascarpone cake with buttercream and apricot drizzle on top

Source: Sainsbury’s

Sainsbury’s Apricot & Mascarpone Cake

Feeling fruity

With an abundance of fruit as the weather warms, it is an obvious choice for an ingredient in sweet treats. Strawberry, raspberry, and lemon feature frequently but others are coming to the fore.

Apricot, for example, was embraced by Sainsbury’s and Crosta & Mollica, who launched an Apricot & Mascarpone Cake and Apricot Crostata, respectively. The cake sees soft sponge sandwiched with apricot jam and topped with an apricot drizzle and sprinkling of white chocolate curls, while the crostata – sweet tartlets – see a light and flaky Italian pastry smothered in a layer of apricot conserve and topped with criss-crossed patterned pastry.

Online retailer Sponge, meanwhile, has embraced zingy lemon and blueberry for its Summer Special Cake. The cake features a lemon-infused sponge with pockets of blueberries, smothered in creamy white chocolate and blueberry buttercream.

Squares of peanut butter caramel blondies

Source: Dawn Foods

Recipe: Peanut Butter Cocoa Caramel Blondies


Blondie Batter:

  • 1,000g Dawn® Blondie Mix
  • 200g Unsalted melted butter
  • 240g Water

 Inclusions and Decorations:

  • 150g Dawn® Delicream Cocoa & Caramel
  • 150g Dawn Balance® Crunchy Peanut Butter
  • 50g Peanuts
  • 50g Milk chocolate chunks

Working Method

Blondie Batter

Melt the butter in a bain-marie (no hotter than 35°C). Add the Dawn® Blondie Mix and the melted butter to the bowl.

Then, add the water and mix for 1 minute on slow speed and 3 minutes on medium speed.

Inclusions and Decorations

Spread the blondie batter into the baking tray (60x40cm).

Pipe Dawn® Cocoa-Caramel Delicream and Dawn Balance® Crunchy Peanut Butter on top of the batter. Swirl with a wooden stick.

Sprinkle the top with milk chocolate chunks and peanuts


Bake at 180°C in a deck oven for 35-38 minutes (or 160°C for a fan oven).

When cooled, cut the traybake into slices.