Birthday cakes are taking all shapes and sizes nowadays. The great news is that the tools available from bakery and cake decorating companies make it simpler than ever to add the wow factor to your original cakes and cupcakes.

Lawrence Foods Decocrèmes® Colored Icings come in an assortment of versatile trending colors, sure to catch your customer’s eye. “Our proprietary SureShades® color technology ensures beautiful colors that will not fade or bleed. With a clean vanilla flavor, you have never had color taste this good!” Lawrence Foods points out.

This indulgence trend is particularly significant in chocolate cakes. Chocolate cake and cupcakes continue to be the top flavor among all cakes/cupcake flavors (source: Nielsen, POS Sweet Bakery), and chocolate cake is also projected to grow 2.2% over the next four years (Source: Datassential MenuTrends/Flavor).

In 2021, chocolate cakes will be darker and richer than ever before, with bakers turning to ingredients such as black cocoa powder, activated charcoal and richer fudge.

Color is “free”

Mark Seaman, CMSA, culinary applications chef, specialties, at Barry Callebaut, points out that color is "free" to add to cakes and cupcakes.

“Color makes your product more appealing and provides a great background for chocolate decorations to pop,” Seaman recommends.

Use different piping tips. Just changing the style of the icing on a cupcake or cake gives it a completely different feel. Your customers will see your case as filled with a huge variety of different options, even though you have not had to add in any new recipes or labor.

Another tip is to use chocolate to your advantage.

“Chocolate is the number-one preferred flavor for desserts,” he says. “Drizzle chocolate (or colored white chocolate) over cupcakes and cakes for added pizzazz. You don't need to be a chocolatier to add eye-catching chocolate accents or chocolate decorations.”

Almonds are a great ingredient for decorations. Roasted, natural almonds provide a great color contrast to desserts, along with a great crunchy texture against the soft consistency of your cake and buttercream. Almonds also provide a great way to appeal to consumers' search for desserts with a "healthy" component.

As for more design trends, chocolate drips can be made with ease and add dynamic design. Pipe some chocolate ganache over the edge of your cakes or dip your cupcakes in it.  the look of the chocolate oozing down the sides of a cake or cupcake are great attention-grabbers.


Dawn Foods predicts that consumers will continue to look for ways to find everyday luxury through sweets. Using bright pops of color in icings and topping cakes with sprinkles are both great ways to achieve this. Retailers can also use icing to create drip cakes, where the icing appears to “drip” down the side of the cake, which is rather trendy right now.

Melissa Trimmer, corporate executive chef at Dawn Foods, points out that retail bakeries are getting extremely creative with how they promote their newest designs.

“Some bakeries create Instagram spaces in their bakeshop,” she points out. “With the rise of social media, trends permeate so quickly.”

Environmental factors

It’s not secret younger consumers today have environmental issues top of mind, and plant-based options are a growing trend.

Chef Rubber food colors are available in multiple forms – from powder, to liquid, gel, and paste. Which to choose will depend on the dessert, confection or beverage that is being created. The two main categories in colors for the food industry are water soluble and fat dispersible (lakes and dyes). A water-soluble colorant works best when the water content in the recipe is higher than the fat content. The best example would be when making macaron batter – the most common selection isa gel or water-based powder color that is easily mixed with the water content in the egg whites. Similarly, a fat dispersible color added to a fat-bases product like chocolate will work significantly better than adding a water-soluble colorant.

The creative mind and pastry knowledge of the Chef Rubber founders have developed and launched a full line of natural colorants. These products are derived from vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spices. Chef Rubber has natural options in both water-based and fat-based colorants. 

“Plant-based products are here to stay,” Chef Rubber co-founder Paul Edward says, “but I think you have to look at where you are located and who is your mix of clients. You need to respond to what your customers want.”

Trend setting

So, what types of cakes are trending most popular?

Barrel Cakes

Barrel cakes, or ultra-tall cakes with indulgent toppings, are incredibly popular. These cakes truly are everywhere right now, as bakers are making and decorating them to promote across their social media feeds.

Cake Shots

Lawrence Foods offers creative ideas to ring in the new year for customers looking to celebrate birthday parties and other occasions.

One great idea for your bakery case is to create Cake Shots, which can be filled with all sorts of flavorful options. Lawrence Foods recommends icing your Cake Shots with its Pink Champagne Decocrèmes.

To make them, cut your cake into 2-inch circles and pipe with Lawrence Food icing. Place a second cake layer on top and wrap with a cake band. Cover the top with icing and garnish with sprinkles.

For spring, it’s time to get “berry obsessed.” Strawberries are the first fruit to ripen in the spring, a traditional seasonal harbinger, and Lawrence Foods offers multiple options for decorating.

Strawberries are members of the rose family, sharing sweet scents. They are the only fruit to wear their seeds on the outside.

94% of United States households consume strawberries.

Over 53% of kids picked strawberries as their favorite fruit.

The United States is the leading strawberry producer in the world.

While strawberries are grown in every state, California produces about 75% of the U.S. crop.