With the most hectic and potentially profitable season (graduations, Mother’s Day and summer birthdays) for cake and cupcake shops fast approaching, it’s the perfect time of year to take your finished products up a notch by pumping up the flavor.

The new American palate is framed by an increasingly diverse public that is eager to try new flavors, says Michele Lex, chief marketing officer for The Perfect Purée, Napa, California. The secret ingredient to a well-accepted product line is the ability to stay within the limits of your customers’ comfort zone and yet still push the limits of creativity.

“Flavor is what we’re all about,” says Lex. The Perfect Purée offers more than 30 flavors of purees, concentrates and blends. “Our flavors allow chefs and bakers to incorporate flavors that they couldn’t offer 10 years ago, like pink guava and passion fruit.”

Kevin Cecilio, senior director of culinary innovation for the foodservice provider Sodexo in Gaithersburg, Maryland, sees exotic citrus flavors and herbs as trending flavors. Fruit flavors identified include kumquats, pomelos, yuzu, ugli fruit, bergamot and Meyer lemons. Many of the fruits identified are mainly found in specialty retailers, but as access grows demand for such flavors is sure to grow as well.

Bakers and pastry chefs welcome an innovative range of new products designed for them to pump up the flavor of their cakes and other desserts with ease.

PreGel’s revolutionary line of Five Star Chef Pannacrema Pastry Compounds create customized flavor combinations with captivating hues for increased appeal to finished desserts. These top-quality, low-dosage, and highly-concentrated pastes are available in a rich collection of flavors, each boasting an intense taste that is not altered when baked. Five Star Chef Pannacrema Pastry Compounds can be mixed and combined to taste and are great to flavor all pastry products from baked to frozen desserts.

TooFruit from Philibert Savours Inc., Chicago, is a line of dehydrated fruit concentrate in flakes that offers a flavorful addition to cake and bakery recipes, even in a small dose. TooFruit recommends a dosage of 3% to 10% of your mixture, depending on the flavor choice. TooFruit works great as a cake icing.

The Perfect Purée's lineup of fruit purées, specialties, and blends features premium flavors such as pink guava.

Since 1988, The Perfect Purée has indulged the culinary passions of chefs, mixologists and food enthusiasts with products that provide ultimate fresh fruit flavor without the peeling, dicing and simmering required for making purées from scratch.

The company’s lineup of fruit purées, specialties and blends features 30-plus premium flavors, ranging from pantry staples raspberry, strawberry and banana to the exotic lychee, passion fruit and pink guava. The fruits are harvested at the peak of season, puréed and packed frozen to maintain optimal freshness, flavor and color no matter what the season. All flavors can be frozen for up to 24 months from date of manufacture. When thawed, the purees, concentrates and specialties last 7-10 days in the refrigerator, and blends for 21 days.

Cupcakes Squared, which celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2019 as one of San Diego’s leading cupcake bakeries, has been baking with The Perfect Purée since opening and doesn’t go a day without using passion fruit concentrate in its popular Lilikoi Cupcake, a luscious vanilla bean cake topped with pure passion fruit buttercream and lime zest.

Owner Robin Ross pinpoints her creative Lilikoi cupcakes as a popular customer favorite. “For me, a more natural approach was important,” she points out. “I’m not interested in using food coloring or fondant for decor, and I source only high-quality ingredients.” The elegant presentation of her creations is second only to the exceptional flavor because, as she says, “I believe you eat with your eyes first.”

Cupcakes Squared bakes up to a dozen different flavors of mini and full-size cupcakes from scratch each day, including Rosewater Raspberry (a delicate rosewater cake with raspberries and rosewater buttercream) and Red Hot Chocolate (a cayenne and jalapeno-infused chocolate cake topped with chocolate buttercream and jalapeno sugar).

Experts predict a rise in classic floral flavors, such as honeysuckle, jasmine, lavender, lilac and rose. Tropical fruits are on the rise, so try incorporating guava or passion fruit into your cake fillings and icings.

US Foods Holding Corp. recently launched its trends report Spring Scoop 2019, which focuses on the continued expansion of the distributor’s Serve Good program. As part of the company’s “Great Food. Made Easy” strategy and commitment to helping independent restaurants succeed, the Serve Good portfolio offers operators a competitive edge with more than 350 sustainable products.

Food highlights include the new Devonshire Passion Fruit Layered Cheesecake with Fair Trade Coconut. This dessert features tropical flavors of tangy passion fruit and sweet coconut. It is topped with shaved coconut and sugar that are both Fair Trade Certified and is made without artificial colors or flavors.

Making it convenient

Miredys and Karla Peguero, founders and owners of Cake Bash Studio & Bakery located in Van Nuys, California, recently celebrated their first year in business, boasting custom cakes and sweet treats in specialty flavors such as guava & cheese and passion fruit colada. Born and raised in Carolina, Puerto Rico, Peguero fell in love with baking at the age of 4 and remembers watching her mom bake delicious birthday cakes, which brought her family and friends together. Currently, Chef Karla has a YouTube channel with more than 120,000 subscribers and an Instagram page with 11,000 followers.

Novelty flavors are often sought after for the nostalgic, feel-good sentiments they provide. That is why strawberry lemonade, root beer and lavender are some popular ingredients for spring and summer 2019.

SugarNSpyked! has pioneered a new and exciting exotic business to sell liqueur desserts around the globe. Owner Tamara Anderson thought of this idea when she attended a party and discovered how much adults enjoyed alcohol infused treats. They create treats ranging from Oreo rum ice cream to a peach vodka cobbler, and their infused desserts can be delivered countrywide for catering needs.

Beyond cakes and cookies, retailers are seeing the value of pumping up the flavor and presentation of a variety of sweet bakery products, including mochi donuts.