Adding Latin Flavors to Wedding Cakes

Latin-inspired flavors are sweeping the American cake decorating world, as cake decorators look to add new twists to traditional cakes and desserts. No longer are Hispanic bakeries being shopped by Hispanic customers almost exclusively. In increasing numbers, Hispanic cakes and Hispanic flavors are being embraced by the mainstream public.

Flavors like strawberry and mango are widely popular with US Hispanics of Mexican origin because those two fruit crops are prevalent in Mexico. Guava is very popular for the same reason among Cubans.

In Houston, Agustin Rueda of Panadería Tierra Caliente has been creating wedding cakes for over 15 years. His passion for his work encourages him to create lifetime memories through the art of cakes. “Our customers want special cakes, and we work hard to meet every need,” Rueda says.

At La Azteca Bakery in Salinas, California, the decorators here make a special gelatin cup in which an edible flower is placed inside the gelatin. The gelatin mixture then goes into a large a wine glass to create an elegant presentation.

In other trends, egg-rich custards and thick caramels, including flan, tres leches and dulce de leche have never been too far outside the culinary world, but regional delicacies and new interpretations of old favorites are trending upward, according to the latest decorating movements.

Owner Gustavo Miranda, who started the bakery in 2008, previously lived in Los Angeles and brought the milhojas recipe with him from Los Angeles years ago.

The fruit and the flaky layers of dough make a unique flavor. The bakery uses strawberries, peaches, kiwifruit, pineapples and grapes, “and we do a jelly glaze on the top to make it special.”

For many years, milhojas cakes have been regarded as a pastry delicacy only to be enjoyed on special occasions. Like its French counterpart, the Napoleon, milhojas is produced with flaky layers of pastry, filled with pastry cream and topped with fresh fruit slices.

“We make milhojas cakes all year-round, sometimes every day,” says Alma Ignacio, owner of Maravilla’s Bakery in Salem, Oregon. “We top them with five kinds of fruit: kiwifruit, strawberry, pineapple, peach and grapes. We bake it from scratch. They call it milhojas because of the flaky layers.”

What is happening now, as customers become more familiar with unique pastries, milhojas is moving into the mainstream. At Miranda’s Bakery in Woodburn, Oregon, full sheets and half sheets are very popular. The bakery makes the giant full sheet milhojas for customers who buy them for special occasions like weddings.

Popular Flavors

Popular flavors can vary by Hispanic country of origin, so it can prove beneficial to know where the customers who shop your bakeries originate.

Popular Flavors by Country:

• Mexico: strawberry, mango, pineapple, garlic, onion, chili powder, oregano, cinnamon, anise
• Puerto Rico: papaya, guava, plantains, lime, oregano
• El Salvador: mango, pineapple, banana, plantains, yucca, guava
• Cuba: guava, citrus, plantains, raisins, cinnamon

Source: Pew Research & bake