Bright, bold colors are not only appealing to the eye but provide the “pop” on social media that cake decorators across the country are seeking. Consider that the 2018 Pantone Color of the Year is ultraviolet.

“Color and texture are the first two things people take note of when they first see a cake,” says Chef Mark Seaman, specialty applications chef for Barry Callebaut. “In today’s world, all decorators want to create an Instagram-worthy cake that is immediately eye-catching.”

Keith Appling, chief sales officer for Lawrence Foods Inc., agrees with Seaman that color is about as big as it can be when it comes to cakes. One trend that Lawrence is keeping close tabs on is the use of paler, more sophisticated colors that are tailored to certain regions of the country.

In addition to color, Lawrence is seeing a lot of interest in new and better flavors, Appling says. “Not only in our flavored icing line, but also with our classic vanilla and chocolate buttercremes. There are regional preferences, and we strive to suit our customers – and their consumers.”

Running parallel with increased demand for bright colors is the “black is the new black” concept, Seaman says. “To best fit current demands and trends, Mona Lisa has been developing a deep black rolled fondant colored only with Barry Callebaut’s own black cocoa powder.” The result, he says, is a flavor reminiscent of an Oreo cookie and a black color made with no artificial dyes.

Barry Callebaut’s Mona Lisa fondant was created with a unique blend of fats and starch-free sugar to provide a longer working time with no cracking or tearing, even on shaped cakes, Seaman says. That helps both newer and seasoned decorators alike, he says, because it reduces the stress of covering the cakes in a timely manner and increases the ability to cover even more extreme designs.

“This same fat matrix creates the perfect pliability decorators need to cover over-the-top designs,” says Seaman. “Even when exposed to humid or dry conditions, Mona Lisa’s fondant stands its ground and does not become sticky, tacky or dry.”

The other important aspect of the functionality of fondant, Seaman says, is to provide ways for decorators to create high-impact designs using fewer mediums and techniques. Mona Lisa fondant rolls so thinly, he says, that decorators are using it for techniques that used to be reserved for gum paste, such as quilling.


Fondant continues to be available in new flavors, providing cake decorators with a wide array of options.

New from Satin Ice, Peppermint Mocha Fondant provides a bright, clean white color and offers limitless creativity. Classic flavors of brisk peppermint and rich chocolate combine to perfectly complement your holiday sweets. This limited-edition fondant gives a nod to traditional holiday flavors, while still maintaining the integrity and Satin Ice quality. Examples of applications include party favors, hostess gifts and cookie swaps.

Abel & Schafer recently introduced Arcolor rolled fondant in North America. Arcolor and A&S have entered into a collaborative partnership to promote and sell superior rolled fondant, gum paste (fabric effects, flowers and pastillage) and Sugar Lace and Royal Icing.

Arcolor rolled fondants are superior in taste and performance, providing a great cost-performance ratio. It is a cane sugar fondant that is refrigerator and freezer stable. There is no need to use cornstarch or powdered sugar for rolling it. The rolled fondant comes in an array of 19 beautiful, vibrant, hold-fast colors.

“I have worked with the Arcolor rolled fondant, gum pastes for flowers, fabric effects and pastillage for over six years, fine-tuning all the techniques for the utmost results. The Arcolor fondants and gum pastes have been thoroughly tried and tested. The results have been enormously successful,” says Julie Bashore, master confectioner and owner of Sugar Arts Institute of America. “Arcolor products have been extremely well received by our students, the bakery owners and their cake decorators.”

According to Abel & Schafer, the use of tailor-made A&S cake mixes (also available in sugar-free, gluten-free and vegan) in combination with the Arcolor rolled fondants provide a superior decorated cake in terms of taste and performance. A&S European quality jams and fillings can make your cake projects even more delicious.

Innovations in icings and whipped topping


A better-for-you whipped topping supplier, truwhip is adding a dairy-free, vegan variety to its growing lineup of product offerings. The 2018 addition meets the dietary needs of plant-based, dairy-free and vegan consumers. The truwhip vegan flavor is the first dairy-free truwhip variety offering, joining the existing lineup of truwhip products including truwhip original, truwhip skinny and truwhirl squeezable. All truwhip products are gluten-free, Non-GMO Project-verified and certified kosher with zero trans-fat per serving, no hydrogenated oils and no high fructose corn syrup.

“The demand for plant based food offerings is increasing and we are delivering a variety of products for our consumer’s needs,” says Andrew Oppenheimer, director of sales at Peak Foods, LLC. “As we continue to diversify our product varieties, we aim to prioritize the growing dietary preferences in the better-for-you category.”

Elena Taylor, director of wet ingredients for Dawn Foods, says that as consumers continue to demand icings that have great aroma, flavor and visual appeal, bakers must offer consistent and vibrant colors, while also appealing to consumer preferences for taste and smell, Taylor says. “At Dawn, we’re also seeing a big opportunity within the industry when it comes to packaging — bakers are demanding easier to open lids, sustainable packaging and product innovation.” 

As part of its ongoing commitment to customer collaboration, Dawn regularly refreshes its consumer trends report and partners with customers to help them meet their consumers’ evolving demands. To that end, last year Dawn unveiled its latest milestone: a state-of-the-art Innovation Studio in Jackson, Michigan.

“The Dawn Innovation Studio is a place to inspire creativity, encourage innovation and strengthen collaboration,” Taylor says. “As customers continue using our PHO-free products or expand their offerings to include more Dawn products, we encourage customers to use the space and work closely with our team to ensure our customers always bring the best products to consumers and help drive their business forward.”

Overall, Taylor says, all icing types are shifting a bit in response to some of the major trends the company has seen throughout all bakery categories, with an increase involving the following elements:

  • Increased relevance of perceived “natural” elements, e.g. cleaner label, more muted color palettes, real botanical or fruit components;
  • Continued relevance of luxury/special elements, e.g. sophisticated flavors like alcohol, component ingredients with interesting/special provenance, global flavor influences;
  • Fun elements, e.g. nostalgic, artsy, creative or mash-up elements; and
  • Light and airy options

“Today, consumers want products made with real ingredients that also taste great,” Taylor says. “In response, bakers want to create the cakes, brownies, donuts and other signature treats their customers love while also maintaining the quality and consistency their business is known for.” Expect these trends to be paramount in 2019.

New products in chocolate


For cake and pastry shops and bakeries looking to elevate their product offerings for the holidays, Mona Lisa Decorations, a Barry Callebaut brand, has unveiled two new small, two-bite chocolate cups that will make any dessert extraordinary.

The new cups include the Small Retro Cup, which is made with Horizons sustainable cocoa. This premium chocolate cup has a unique twist with its high to low edge. Simply fill with mousse and top with a Mona Lisa decoration and watch your customers enjoy this chocolate creation. There is also the Small Rectangle Cup, which is made with Horizons sustainable cocoa. This premium dark chocolate cup is modern and easy to use on any high-volume buffet or plated dessert.

Perfect for catering, banquet and buffet chefs looking to take their dessert to the next level, both easy-to-use cups are 63% Cacao and were expertly crafted to be small yet sturdy.

Educational initiatives

For cake decorators and pastry chefs striving to tap into educational resources, there are several new programs worth noting. On Nov. 12, the launch of the Chocolate Academy Online marked the first e-learning platform dedicated to professional chocolate education for chefs, by chefs, according to leading gourmet chocolate brand Callebaut. The Chocolate Academy Online offers the opportunity to learn from the best chocolatiers and pastry chefs in the world.

Chocolate Academy Online offers a large number of interactive video courses by renowned chocolate chefs that are built to guide the students to evolve and to teach them to master professional gestures and techniques. Each week a new course is added in order to stimulate students and motivate them to learn more, including detailed step by step downloadable recipes and chef’s tips & tricks adapted to the seasons.