Mark Seaman, Certified Master Sugar Artist and specialty application chef for Barry Callebaut North America, keeps a watchful eye on current trends in cake decorating. When nature-inspired trends captured the cake world in 2017, he was quick to share innovative ideas for gemstone (or geode) wedding cakes.

As culinary applications chef at one of the world’s leading premium chocolate manufacturers, Seaman is always open to unique opportunities to promote the art of cake making and chocolate work around the globe.

With that in mind, Seaman recently shared what he’s seeing in the cake world for the upcoming season. The leading trending topic for spring will be all things natural, especially botanicals including florals.

“Designers will be taking incorporation of botanicals to creative levels such as incorporating crystallized edible flowers and hand-painted backgrounds behind gum paste arrangements,” he says. “Design is following the trend of consumers paying more attention to health and wellness who are looking for ‘natural’ and plant-based items – what could be more natural than a flower?”

Clean label will lead the charge this year as more bakeries appeal to consumer interest in ingredients that are approachable and sustainable, Seaman says. He points out that the incorporation of organic fruits, herbs (rosemary and basil), and botanicals (rose and chamomile) will attract carbon footprint-conscious shoppers. 

As always, chocolate will play a big role in cakes. Seaman says that it will be used in more creative ways this season.

“Chocolate is understood to be an affordable luxury and is versatile to create both modern and classic design elements,” he says. “Couverture can and will be used more to create textural visual impact. Also, Ruby, the fourth kind of chocolate, came on the scene in the States last year. This new chocolate is made from cocoa beans just like any chocolate, but is naturally pink and has a complex sour and berry-like flavor. Cake decorators, pastry chefs, and confectioners alike are exploring this new chocolate in its pure form to create visually impactful decor for cakes.”

There are additional trending flavors that cake makers can deploy in 2020, especially as consumers open up their taste buds to a wide variety of options.

“Consumers are evermore open to exploring unfamiliar cuisines stemming from increased global travel and social media stories, while keeping one foot firmly in their comfort zone,” Seaman says. “Some popular options will be yuzu, organic blue fruits (blueberries/blackberries/blackcurrant), plum, and Meyer lemon.”