Single Appeal

The single-serve dessert trend is picking up steam all across the country, even in Hispanic bakeries. Whether cupcakes, mini cakes, cake slices or more, customers are looking for small, convenient dessert items. “People like to have a small taste of everything,” says Ruben Arguello, owner of Pan Tierra Caliente in Houston. In addition to items such as flan slices, éclairs, crème puffs, and napoleans, Tres Leches cakes have also become a part of the single-serve trend.

Anakaren Bakery, which has five retail stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, offers chocolate and vanilla Tres Leches cake slices because these convenient items are gaining widespread popularity. “We sell 100 slices every day just at this store,” says Maria Orduno of Anakaren.

At Fiesta Mart, one of the leading multicultural supermarket chains in the country, Tres Leches cakes are conveniently offered to individuals in small bar cakes, slices and cake cups. Fiesta Mart offers Tres Leches cakes of all shapes, sizes and flavors. There are half-sheet cakes, quarter sheets, 8-inch rounds, cake slices and cups. Flavors include chocolate iced, strawberry iced and cappuccino.

Another Hispanic bakery in Dallas-Fort Worth, Panadería Abuelito earlier this year installed a refrigerated case in the front of their store to display individual cake slices, including Tres Leches and strawberry cake slices, as well as ChocoFlan. They make all sizes of Tres Leches cakes, starting with sponge cake made from scratch.

One way to diversify Tres Leches cakes is through size and shape. At Fiesta Mart, half sheets are the best-selling size, as people buy them mostly for celebrations. Quarter sheets and 8-inch cakes are also available.

Another common request that bakeries such as LaCaroz and Pan Tierra Caliente are noticing is tiered Tres Leches cakes. “A lot of people are asking for tiers,” Rueda says. “And you can do basically anything with Tres Leches cake that you can with other cake.” Flavor is often added to Tres Leches cakes to add to their appeal. The flavor can be added through fruit fillings or flavored toppings. “We always add fruit to the inside of our Tres Leches cakes—strawberry, papaya, peaches or pineapple. We also have mocha and chocolate,” says Ricardo Andrade, owner of LaCaroz Bakeries. Similarly, at Pan Tierra Caliente, they fill their Tres Leches cakes with fruits such as strawberry, peach and fruit cocktail. “We use a lot of fruit on the inside,” says Agustin Rueda, the bakery’s executive designer.

At Fiesta Mart, they use a cappuccino-flavored whipped cream to top off some of their Tres Leches cakes. Decorators distinguish each cake with different combinations of fresh fruit toppings, ranging from pineapple slices, whole strawberries, even kiwifruit slices. “Our success is using fresh fruit,” bakery merchandiser Ron Thompson emphasizes. “Fresh fruit gives eye appeal, and customers love that.”