Tuesday 7th January 2014
Happy new year from all here at Renshaw! The New Year means a new start, and a whole 12 months in which to experiment with and invest in your cake decorating skills, but which trends are making a comeback, and what are the skills you should be focusing on to make show stopping cakes and bakes for your friends and family?
We caught up with the exceptionally talented Mich Turner MBE, owner of London based Little Venice Cake Company and one of the leading lights in cake decorating and sugar craft to discuss all things cakey for the coming year. Currently a judge on ITV’s ‘Britain’s Best Bakery’ and prolific author of popular cake decorating titles including Spectacular Cakes and Mich Turner’s Cake Master Class – not to mention her incredible cake creations for clients across the world – Mich is perfectly positioned to share her insights in all the upcoming fun for cake bakers and decorators in 2014.
I think the focus for 2014 will be very much on what’s inside the cake. Quality ingredients, local and seasonal produce and exciting flavour combinations.
The main focus will be on the different fillings and flavours of cakes. Different flavours of frosting – Swiss meringue buttercreams, ganache, using fresh fruit puree mixed through buttercreams – that accentuate the flavours of the cake itself rather than being quite separate. Focusing on flavours really permits decorators to explore and create their own individual style. Examples of this trend might include a fresh buttercream flavoured with espresso, or replacing white sugar with unrefined sugar in recipes for deeper, more caramel notes.
Taking that emphasis on flavours one step further will be things like flavoured sugar paste. A white or dark chocolate sugar paste can again add to that flavour profile of a cake and work to marry the cake itself with the decoration. This trend recognises that the covering has to be enjoyable to eat, as well as looking inviting.
Vintage will be another hot trend for 2014. Think of The Great Gatsby – regency, straight sides, laced sides and mathematical details will all be very important – so royal icing and piping skills will again come to the fore.
Ombre cakes and checker board cakes – things which begin with what is inside the cake and predominantly in how it is made. In 2013 we saw different flavours, that bakers cut and put together to compliment one another, quite a strong trend that will continue.
Roses, stripes, frills and working with and piping buttercream will also remain.
Mainly covering cakes with royal icing and people wanting to learn how to cover and ice a cake properly. The focus will be on resurrection of old skills, with a real nod to tradition, but married with on-flavour cakes, (not traditional fruit cakes), appealing to the modern palate.
To that end, I think we’ll see fruit cakes with far more luxurious ingredients – cranberries, apricots, figs, sour dried cherries soaked in brandy – as well as more modern methods of making fruit cakes, soaking them in a really good brandy, using fresh citrus juices and zest. Really good farm fresh eggs, fresh ground spices, choosing the flavours, fresh grated ginger, fresh juices, then cooking for a long time, in a slow oven, to produce a cake with very little crumb. It’s about looking out for those great recipes and matching our tastes with ingredients that are available now.
In terms of decorating, people will be looking to cover a fresh cake in a coat of sugar paste, either in the traditional way or through panelling it. That, or a royal iced finish on a fresh vanilla cake, over a thin layer of marzipan and ready to roll icing to give a strong base on which to cover in one layer of royal icing, thereby accommodating the modern palate, but producing a cake that will cut nicely and still have that regal royal iced look.
I look to fashion and current trends in that world – colours, textures, styles. Currently, the main styles are floral, free flowing and very feminine, as well very structured styles and patterns, like a houndstooth print.
I also love the idea of exploring the history of wedding cakes. Period dress, jewellery and lace all lend themselves so nicely to cake decoration that requires precision work – that’s what I love!
I’ll be researching my own creations with old books and of course the internet, but as for the flavours I’ll be experimenting in the kitchen and making things, tasting them, changing the sugar or the cooking times. It’s a science. I never get to a point where something is finished. It’s always evolving.
Crown cakes, cut and shaped from a large cake covered in beautiful marzipan and ready to roll icing. They’ve become so stylish, so much more than a cupcake. Crown cakes give you the scope to create a perfect gift, and there’s a huge amount of pleasure for the baker and decorator too, as well as for the person receiving them. They’ve been a massive trend over the past ten years, with hand painted designs and moulding techniques coming in to play. They provide great scope to practise and play with your own skill.
Pillars! Super deep tiers of cake, making use of Plaster of Paris pillars, harking back to debutante times. They have completely disappeared. They skipped a generation really. If you look at the Queen’s wedding cake then Diana’s, they’re perfect examples. Plastic ones just won’t cut the mustard.
Two words – salted caramel. It’s done for cake what sundried tomato did for pasta back in the 80s.
In 2014, I’m predicting bold new flavours – lime, pistachio, coconut, coffee. Think lime & pistachio roulade. You can really make the lime the hero and use it in several different ways. We’ll really see these flavours being the hero, ensuring they are identifiable in every element.
So what do you think the major cake decorating trends are going to be? Which skills are you looking to hone, and are there any of Mich’s predictions you’re itching to get your fingers into? Tell us your baking and cake decorating trends for 2014 in the Renshaw Big Trends Survey!
We want to hear it all, and through sharing your hopes and dreams, we’ll be offering a discount of 15% OFF all orders at the end of January, when we release the results of the biggest cake decorating survey for the coming year! Plus, the first 300 entries receive a FREE 250g pack of White Ready to Roll Icing too.
Find out how to enter here.