Fruits and vegetables can add a punch of flavor to cakes this season. One of the most popular fruits this time of year is strawberries, as it is one of the first to ripen and is bursting with flavor and possibilities. They have a sweet scent, which provides an additional sensory aspect to desserts.
According to Lawrence Foods, 94 percent of United States households consume strawberries and over 53 percent pick strawberries as their favorite fruit. The United States happens to be the leading strawberry producer in the world, with California producing about 75 percent of the U.S. crop.
The sweet fruit’s possibilities make it ideal for spring. Lawrence Foods provides several products for strawberry season. Strawberry Glaze is a ready-to-use glaze that adds a finishing touch to your fresh strawberry favorites, Orchard Fresh Fruit Fillings feature only premium quality fruit, and EZ Squeeze Fillings come in convenient two-pound angle cut sleeves, making it easy to create your favorite seasonal desserts.
Another seasonal food, avocados, can provide a wealth of benefits to the bakery in items both sweet and savory. Their mild flavor pairs well with others including chocolate. “Avocado delivers a rich and creamy mouthfeel,” says Mark Seaman, certified master sugar artist and specialty application chef for Barry Callebaut North America, “and its natural fattiness accentuates a cake’s flavor profiles.”
They especially work well as “seasonal sensation” pairings with fresh berries, and can add a health boost to desserts. Healthy avocados contain 250 milligrams of potassium per 50-gram serving, and potassium (an electrolyte) helps muscles contract and regulate fluids and mineral balance in and out of body cells.
Chef Nathaniel Reid of Nathaniel Reid Bakery has earned great acclaim thanks to his innovative uses of ingredients. One of those is rhubarb, a long, stalky plant that goes well with many desserts. The former James Beard Outstanding Baker semifinalist likes to balance the tart flavors of rhubarb with something creamy. Chef Reid uses cream cheese because of its texture and versatile flavor.
There are so many other flavors that work well with rhubarb, including strawberry, elderflower, and raspberry. The vegetable pairs well with subtle floral flavors. Try adding a few drops of orange blossom water to any recipe for an added dimension. Nathaniel Reid Bakery makes a rhubarb, raspberry, and elderflower jam that is excellent on everything.
Spring cakes will continue to feature seasonal favorites such as citrus, but bakers are looking for unique twists and complements to set them apart, says Sarah Hickey, senior director, insights and market research, at Dawn Foods.
“Over the last four years alone, flavors like limoncello, guava, grapefruit, and rhubarb have seen upwards of 20 percent growth and are showing up on the menus of bakeries of all sizes, from artisanal bakeries to large chain restaurants such as Carrabba’s,” she says. “The inclusion of herbs such as thyme, rosemary, mint, and lavender also help to add levels of freshness to springtime treats.”
Healthy alternatives will continue to be on trend for spring with a focus on naturally sweet ingredients such as honey, coconut, and specialty olive oil.