Let's Talk About...trends!

Business By Chef_Stef Updated 30 Oct 2007 , 5:43pm by karensjustdessert

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Chef_Stef Posted 27 Oct 2007 , 8:59pm
post #1 of 21

Well, with a season more or less finished (mine is, anyway)...I'm curious, did anyone see any trends etc this year, or do you see any developing for next year yet?

1. Popular cake flavors?
2. Popular style (fondant, BC, stacked, rounds/squares, etc.)
3. Popular designs?
4. Popular colors or combos?
5. Popular toppers.
6. Next year ?

I'll go first:
1. Flavor: Vanilla caramel, hands down, with a white chocolate raspberry almond a close second, then red velvet, and lots of chocolate--chocolate peanut butter mousse, chocolate kahlua mousse, etc. Some carrot, poppyseed, and spice cakes. No yellow cakes, not even one.
2. Style: About 25% fondant, mostly rounds, only 2 with pillars. A few fountains but mostly white bases with ribbon edges.
3. Design: Ribbon border with some variation of scroll work in contrasting color. NO shell borders; any piped borders, they all wanted pearl or dot borders. More floral designs than mod, "magazine"-type ideas.
4. Color: Most were white-iced cakes with contrasting color piped on, not many solid colored cakes; I think I did one pink fondant cake and one in brown.
5. Topper: Monograms and fresh flowers by far. Few figurines and even fewer GP flowers.
6. Vanilla caramel again and lots of black, white and red or black, ivory, and burgundy.

20 replies
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indydebi Posted 27 Oct 2007 , 11:05pm
post #2 of 21

I do mostly square cakes. But since I prefer doing square cakes, I tend to push those in my sales pitch, which results in me doing more squares.

Lots of ribbon-based cakes. I also do lots of basketweave. But since I prefer doing basketweave, I tend to push those in my sales pitch, which results in me doing lots of basketweave.

Very very few traditional bride-n-groom toppers. I think the price of them has gotten so outrageous that brides are opting out of using them.

I'm not sure there is a "popular" flavor trend, but that it depends on what the cake decorator offers or just what the bride prefers. I NEVER get requests for "exotic" flavors. Grooms want chocolate. Period. Other than that, grooms could care less about the cake! icon_lol.gif

I am seeing brides planning really, really far in advance. I already have 2 bookings for 2009.

I've started to add a bit in my consultation speech about how the cake is the Grand Centerpiece of the reception, and as a result, my last few cakes have been a bit grander than earlier cakes.

If we are anything, folks, we are sales people first and bakers second! If we don't make the sale, we don't get to bake. thumbs_up.gif

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Chef_Stef Posted 27 Oct 2007 , 11:14pm
post #3 of 21

hmm, interesting! I love basketweave, too, but I haven't done one in years...maybe I should do one as a dummy for display--I love the idea of stacked "baskets of flowers" cakes.

I keep hoping some bride will go all Colette Peters on me and ask for something really modern or unusual. I got to do some fun variety this year, but still...Maybe I should add a spiel about the cake being the Grand Centerpiece of The Reception. I like that! icon_biggrin.gif

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littlecake Posted 28 Oct 2007 , 2:51am
post #4 of 21

do ya'll charge more for basketweave? it's so labor intensive i do.

i wish the trend would go back to the old school wedding cakes....you know with swags, ruffles and buttercream roses...i think they are so pretty, and i can do them so fast and they always look good.

i don't offer a bunch of crazy flavors, with as many cakes as i gotta make i keep it simple, i do fill them, raspberry is always the best selling filling.

i been seeing the trend of alot of stacked cakes for the sweet sixteen.

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indydebi Posted 28 Oct 2007 , 3:04am
post #5 of 21
Originally Posted by littlecake

do ya'll charge more for basketweave? it's so labor intensive i do.

I don't because I find it easier and faster than standard, smooth icing. I actually prefer it and encourage brides to order it.

I did a 5 tier basketweave cake a couple of weeks ago and it only took me a couple of hours, which I didn't think was too bad for 5 tiers! And that included weaving real ribbon in the basketweave design.

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Chef_Stef Posted 28 Oct 2007 , 7:11am
post #6 of 21

I charge 0.25/sv extra for basketweave, but like I said, I almost never use it.

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cakesbyamym Posted 28 Oct 2007 , 9:35pm
post #7 of 21

OOH!!! I'm loving this thread!!! I hope that folks continue to add to it. It's so interesting to see the trends *current* and what to look forward to in 2008.

By far, my french vanilla and southern red velvet are my most requested flavors. However, I am doing a lot of caramel vanilla cakes, too.

I did a 3-tiered vanilla caramel fall leaf themed wedding cake last week that was all vanilla caramel, as was the 3/4 sheet kitchen cake. Dulce de leche filling was used on all of the cakes for that wedding.

More and more fondant is being requested...yeah!!!! I just love the smoothness and the clean lines of a fondant covered cake. icon_smile.gif I'm still doing lots of scroll work and pearl dragees. Lots of off centered cakes, too. Super pearl dusted cakes - yes, the entire cake - is also pretty popular. I push that look in my consultation...especially for evening receptions. I make sure to mention the sparkle and shine that the super pearl will give in candlelit rooms. icon_smile.gif Makes a gorgeous picture, too!

Chocolate browns, golds, coppers and oranges are popular right now...of course, with it being fall. Lots of white on white cakes, too.

Chocolate brown with teal. For me, this one is looking very popular!!!

It's about 75/25 for floral toppers over the porcelain toppers. They're so expensive! Geesh! I am doing a lot of my royal icing initial toppers, as well. Fondant bows are also being requested for toppers. People seem to love the present look.

I'd be interested to see how many have *extras* ordered with their wedding cakes. At my consultations, in addition to cake samples, I have mint and cookie favor samples available. 8 out of 10 order items other than the bridal or groom's cakes. icon_smile.gif


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Jenn123 Posted 29 Oct 2007 , 1:44am
post #8 of 21

1. Flavors- French Vanilla and Red Velvet
2. Style - Square stacked boxes each box different but simple with fondant bow. Also dotted swiss. Very little fondant (YAY) Shaped Groom's cakes
4. Colors - Chocolate brown, Apple red (not just for fall)
5. Toppers- Fondant bow, Fresh flowers, Monogram

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jibbies Posted 29 Oct 2007 , 1:55am
post #9 of 21

and southern red velvet are my most requested flavors.

Is southern red velvet different than red velvet?


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dl5crew Posted 29 Oct 2007 , 2:13am
post #10 of 21

No cakes for me at all this year icon_cry.gificon_cry.gificon_cry.gif
Most everyone wants cake truffles. Since I'm not doing freebies, no one wants those.

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debster Posted 29 Oct 2007 , 2:24am
post #11 of 21

For me it seems like flowers are the toppers lately or bows over figurines, squares are over taking rounds and french vanilla with strawberry cream cheese filling for the main flavor.

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CoutureCake Posted 29 Oct 2007 , 7:23am
post #13 of 21

1. Definitely MORE chocolate cakes than white... and not a crumb of chocolate cake left over.
2. I push fondant because it's a time saver for me... but the square cakes have outnumbered the rounds 4 to 1. I had two BC cakes this year and they both got me to raise my prices on BC top coats..
3. Dress and color replicas as always are popular, but most of my brides tend to be very realistic in wanting smooth crisp lines. I'm still seeing either one end of the spectrum with the complex dress design or the other with the basic cake with the cascade of candy clay leaves...
4. LOTS of people are NOT wanting the bright white cakes and asking for the creamier colored cake. Thankfully it's an opportunity to explain the reality that butter causes cakes to be tinted already and show them how this is the case with the cake samples.
5. The annoying toppers tend to be the trend. You know the ones that are horribly top heavy and the weight isn't centered on the 1.5" base to the thing. Otherwise, flowers as always...
6. I think the trend is going to continue with the sheet cakes. We thought cupcakes were die'n their death much to the relief of many a baker, but I'm also seeing a lot of people with unrealistic expectations of what a cake is going to cost. Lots of people that haven't even looked at Walmart or Sam's yet to know that their prices are higher than what they think they're going to pay for cake to feed their 300 guests.

Other trends I'm noticing is that a lot of people are starting early and doing tons of shopping around. I'm also finding a lot of brides that have zero intentions of booking but are just going around to different bakers for the free cake (had two of these last month - as they were leaving they tell their FI "I had no intention of booking here, I just wanted more free stuff")... I've also had a lot of last second calls that never follow through this year. They already are getting a sheet cake from costco with dessert but suddenly want a cake for their photos by Saturday but get sticker shock at the $120 price tag... OTOH, people are starting to pay closer attention to the budget overall in what they can realistically afford.

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cfao Posted 29 Oct 2007 , 11:54am
post #14 of 21

1- I offer about 50 flavors, so my brides have many choices. The most popular is both vanilla & chocolate with raspberry in each tier so the guests get both flavors. Much easier for the caterers that way than asking who wants vanilla & who wants chocolate.

2- Stacked round buttercream cakes - I do not do fondant. I used to see a lot of brides asking for fondant, the last couple of years they realize buttercream tastes so much better and it can still look like fondant.

3- Anything with swirls or tiny triple dot clusters, about 75% have ribbon around the base of the cakes.

4- Very few white cakes any more, ivory is the color of choice. Trim colors are champagne, brown or burgandy.

5- Fresh flowers or Circles of Love figurines are tops. I have also seen some brides purchasing those 10"-15" heavy figurines while they are out shopping and they bring them in when they order their cake. They sit down and proudly say they already have the cake top and pull it out the box to show me. Ah no, that's not going on top of a cake, we can place it on the side. The groom then picks it up (of course, this is the first time he has seen it), sees how heavy it is and now looks at his fiance a little strange when she asks quite seriously why it can't go on top of her 75 person 3 tier cake?

6- Next year, still ivory and any kind of brown. Fountains (yes you read that correctly) started to be requested for this fall's weddings and seem strong for next year. Lots of fresh flowers.

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indydebi Posted 29 Oct 2007 , 12:05pm
post #15 of 21
Originally Posted by cfao

I have also seen some brides purchasing those 10"-15" heavy figurines while they are out shopping and they bring them in when they order their cake. They sit down and proudly say they already have the cake top and pull it out the box to show me. Ah no, that's not going on top of a cake, we can place it on the side.

I've told more than one bride, "Just because it's made to put on top of a cake, doesn't mean that it's MADE to put on top of a CAKE."

More than one conversation on how a cake must be specifically engineering and constructed to support such a piece and it has to be done in advance, not at the reception site when I see the topper for the first time.

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Chef_Stef Posted 29 Oct 2007 , 7:08pm
post #16 of 21

I know, about the toppers...!

I'm trying to really find out exactly what they're planning for the top when we design the cake, because I had a couple of them this year where I got there and

a) they all looked blank when I said "so, where are the cake flowers?"
b) I saw the topper for the first time and said "Good Lord, what's THAT?" One had a 7-8" wide ceramic car that weighed about a pound, that was supposed to go on top of a 6" mousse-filled fondant cake in 96-degree heat...

So I try and have them either get the topper to me before the wedding or really describe what it will be, so I can dowel and plate the top, and even still, when I think I *know* what to expect, I take a bunch of optional goodies for last-minute topper issues in my little tote: hollow dowels and a knife to cut them, 4" board, wax paper, scissors, floral pics, stickytack, etc.

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indydebi Posted 29 Oct 2007 , 7:26pm
post #17 of 21

homecook, because of past experience and this thread, I added a slide to my Wedding Workshop about cake toppers to try to educate brides! This puts it up to about 115 slides now! icon_lol.gif If they don't know how to put together wedding after sitting thru all of that info, they have no business getting married! icon_lol.gif

On the trends topic, I was sharing this thread with hubby, which sparked a conversation on the difference between Style, Trend and Fad. Here's what we came up with:

STYLE: refers to the form, appearnace, character or technique. "A 3-tiered cake is a common style of wedding cake."

TREND: refers to a common tendency regarding execution of the style. "There is a trend to have square instead of round layers on a tiered wedding cake." or "Using flowers as the cake topper has become a trend."

FAD: refers to a fashion that is enthusiastically followed for a short period of time. "Many decorators are hoping cupcake wedding cakes will be a short lived fad."

So.... a fashion that is now considered 'out of style' means that at one time it was the style. A 'fad' is a fashion that never WAS "in style".

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Chef_Stef Posted 29 Oct 2007 , 7:46pm
post #18 of 21

Indydebi--Yep, I too have a whole paragraph on my website Helpful Info page about toppers, because of several weddings I've done where the toppers were so heavy that I wouldn't put them on the cake for fear of them tumbling down the side before the wedding party even reached the reception! One was so heavy they just sat it on top of the cake, snapped the pics, then took it right back off.

I like your trend/fad/style analysis. Hopefully cupcakes will prove to be a fad, too--as in, never WAS in style...lol

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leah_s Posted 29 Oct 2007 , 8:37pm
post #19 of 21

I see nearly all round, stacked cakes. But then I'd just about rather eat dirt than make a square cake, so I push round. I have had one basketweave wedding cake and that was 8 years ago. One fountain this year. Mostly flowers for toppers, or monograms, which I sell.

Mostly soft white. My specialty is using the dress design for the cake, so I'd say about 85% of my cakes are that.

Flavors = chocolate, white and strawberry.

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FlowerGirlMN Posted 30 Oct 2007 , 1:33pm
post #20 of 21

Well, I'm fairly new to this, so I've only got a couple months of orders completed / orders for upcoming weddings to go off, so take this with a grain of salt.

1. Popular cake flavors: Chai Tea cake w/ Chai spiced buttercream, hands down. Double chocolate marble and a chambord soaked dark chocolate w/cocoa-raspberry buttercream are both tied for second, and the pina colada brings up 3rd place.

2. Popular style - So far I've had more requests for rounds, but the last batch of potential orders have been asking a lot about mixing shapes. My last order was for a square/round/heart cake. DEFINITELY more stacked than separated.

3. Popular designs - Not really

4. Popular colors or combos - Most I've done/will be doing are based on the bridesmaid color as a solid, with accent colors.

5. Popular toppers - Noticing a lot of people going without a topper

6. Next year - this is mostly all about next year!

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karensjustdessert Posted 30 Oct 2007 , 5:43pm
post #21 of 21

1. Popular cake flavors:
Chocolate (I use Colette Peters recipe)with raspberry or chocolate ganache; Lemon with strawberries; Key Lime with raspberry; Carrot cake with cream cheese.

2. Popular style - I live on the coast. Lots of beach-themed cakes. Some with chocolate coral; some with real shells; ALL with chocolate or fondant shells. Also, pearls on fondant (my personal fave); and scrolls with a great color combination. Almost always stacked tiers.

3. Popular designs - See #2.

4. Popular colors or combos - Lots of yellows as an accent lately. Otherwise, the typical white or ivory with "here's the bridesmaid's dress color swatch".

5. Popular toppers - Did I mention shells? Monograms and/or flowers occasionally.

6. Next year - More cupcake tiers. Easy breezy for me.

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