Trends set to shape cake decorating in 2018

Lemon and buttercream reign supreme, according to a survey of cake decorating trends, while interest in mirror-glaze and vertical stripes is on the rise.

Supplier Renshaw has unveiled the results of its annual Big Trend Survey, in which more than 4,000 cake decorators revealed their attitudes to topics ranging from popular flavours to wedding cake trends.

Participants were asked what their favourite cake flavours and decorating toppings were from a list of multiple choices, and could pick up to three options each.

With the royal nuptials and spring creeping ever closer, it’s the perfect time to track what’s trending in the world of cake:

Top wedding cake trends for 2018

While Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have opted for an elderflower and lemon cake, fruit remains significant as a celebration cake option, while frosting and sugar paste are the favoured toppings.

According to Renshaw, white-on-white still reigns as a popular wedding choice.

Buttercream also remains a firm favourite, although the latest trend is to stripe the decadent cream vertically.

Hand-painted cakes — ranging from ornamental detailing to free-form speckling — are seeing an upsurge in popularity, with the combination of black and gold emerging as a surprise celebration hit. Ruffled cakes also remain popular, with multi-hued ombre and unusual colour palettes cropping up.

Popular techniques for 2018

When it came to trying techniques they hadn’t used before, 31% of survey participants said they wanted to give mirror-glazing a try. Meanwhile, 25% planned to give airbrushing a go, and 24% fancied trying their hand at a bake with a hidden centre, such as a piñata cake.

Asked about techniques they wanted to improve, 46% of respondents said they wanted to hone their piping. In second place was modelling, in which 31% of cake decorators wanted to refine their skills, while 29% wanted to brush up their airbrushing technique.

Favourite cake flavours for 2018

Lemon came out as the most popular cake flavour, with nearly half of participants listing it as a preferred choice. In second place was milk chocolate, picked by nearly a third of a group.

This was followed closely by carrot flavour, which has allegedly been enjoyed in Europe since the Medieval era —  where carrots were often used as a substitute for sugar. Vanilla came a close fourth as a simple taste that works well as a base for more extravagant icing choices.

Although elderflower did not appear as a significant flavour choice, it is proving increasingly popular with amateur bakers, as many new recipes using elderflower cordial and similar substances are appearing online. Similarly, matcha currently has a small following but demand for this fresh and slightly bitter flavouring is growing.

Ginger and red velvet were selected by a sizable 16% of participants, while old favourite fruit cake was picked by 20% of those surveyed.

Popular cake decorating toppings for 2018

As part of the survey, cake-makers were asked which toppings they used most commonly.

Buttercream came in at a huge 81%, proving that rich, simple flavours are still a mainstay among consumers. Following far behind was sugar paste icing, which nearly half of respondents listed. Ganache was picked by nearly a third of respondents, followed by chocolate.

Only 8% selected marzipan, showing low interest in the rich, almond icing, while the least popular choice was mirror-glaze, with just over 1% of responders saying they commonly use it.

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