There’s plenty of innovation going on in the dessert space right now with consumer curiosity around new flavours and ingredients driving creativity across sweet-centric sectors.
Over the past year, we’ve seen a surge in the number of high-profile pastry projects in the eating out arena, with the likes of Dominique Ansel Treehouse and the pop-up PUFF two of the more interesting openings to recently join the throng.
Meanwhile, in retail, chocolate is all the rage, with vegan versions hitting the big time and adventurous Easter egg creations coming in hot this month.
Permissible (or even unapologetic) indulgence, along with the health and wellness mega-trends, are huge dessert drivers, with portion sizes always a hot topic. And, according to a new report from alcohol brand Baileys, the year 2020 will see cake pops emerge as a beneficiary of consumer demand for the short and sweet.
Desserts on the smaller side have been slowly gathering momentum in the eating out space, with a recent trends report from chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut revealing that 15% of consumers who wouldn’t normally buy a dessert would purchase one if there is an option to buy a mini dessert served with a hot drink.
Meanwhile, in their own 2020 report, French company Brioche Pasquier envisaged the emergence of café gourmand - a selection of small desserts and pastries often enjoyed with a coffee in France.
Baileys have come to a similar conclusion in their release, Baileys’ Treat Report 2020, with cake pops said to be gathering particular traction on social media.
“There has been a rise of 50% year-on-year of people searching for different cake pop ideas,” said Ruby Sharma, partner manager of Pinterest, as part of the Baileys report.
Desserts that are theatrical and interactive also appear as part of Baileys’ 2020 dessert predictions.
“2020 will pave the way for the more interactive, hands-on desserts and treats livening up our dinner tables at home and in restaurants,” the report says.
“Pastry chefs are constantly raising the bar by fashioning their creations into unique forms such as edible lipsticks, or literally bringing the action to the table as they artistically ‘plate’ their desserts directly on the tabletop.”
A good example of this would be Wildflower Cakes & Bakes’ hot chocolate bombe - a chocolate shell that melted away when mixed with hot milk to release cocoa and mini marshmallows.
The big supermarket players have also started to cotton on, with Iceland unleashing their Five Gold Rings dessert last Christmas, with dark chocolate sauce trickling down five rings as you pour over the pudding.
According to the report, natural blue will come to the fore as the lead colour for desserts in 2020, with ingredients such as butterfly pea flowers and leaves potentially to be used to create light shades.
Baileys also say that matcha, which has a strikingly green colour, could even be replaced by butterfly pea, which is commonly seen as herbal blue tea, in popularity.
Finally, the report claims that combinations such as chocolate chilli and rose pistachio could make a return to prominence this year as part of a year of reimagining well-known deserts.
“Trends aren’t about discovering things for the first time,” said Jozef Youseef of gastronomy studio Kitchen Theory as part of the report. “It’s about rediscovering things and appropriating them in a new way.”
Baileys highlighted Himalayan salt, ube, bacon and maple syrup and black truffle as flavours of interest for development chefs looking to redevelop classic pudding tastes and textures.