Posts Tagged ‘cakes’

Planning and Innovation Key for Spring Cake Success

February 24th, 2018
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The spring cake season can come out of nowhere. The madness of the winter holiday season subsides and is followed, in many regions, by a cold spell that drive shoppers in doors with no reason to purchase cakes.

And then, as suddenly as the trees begin to bloom, the rush is on for graduation parties, Mother’s Day, Easter, first communions and more.

That’s why it’s important to use the slow winter months to plan ahead, says Lynn Schurman, owner of Cold Spring Bakery in Cold Spring, Minnesota.

“We use this time of year to plan out what we’re going to sell and then we come up with designs that we’re going to do,” Schurman says. “We do the prototypes, get pictures, send the marketing out so that we’ve got designs that are fast and easy to do and everybody knows what their options are versus our decorators having to stop and think ‘OK, how should I decorate this cake?’ it makes it much faster taking orders.”

Schurman says Cold Spring Bakery usually comes up with six to 12 new designs for most seasons, but will increase that for the spring, which consumers seem to want more options. Designs are created, dummies are made, and photos are taken for consumers and for the company’s supermarket customers.

Throwing another wrench into the process this year is the relative early April 1 date for Easter.

“With Eastern being earlier, we’re having to work on some of these ideas sooner than we usually plan on,” Schurman says. “It’s all about being prepared.”

That preparation even extends to employee training. Instead of looking at the winter months as a chance to cut labor costs to the bone, that time can be used to teach employees new skills.

“We do a lot of internal training. I know some businesses try to cut labor costs way down when it’s quiet, and we do as much as possible, but we also want to take advantage of the time we do have to get people trained,” Schurman says. “When it starts getting busy, I want people who know how do hold a decorating bag and do some of the designs we’ve come up with. Do it now while it’s quiet and there are snow storms and people aren’t shopping.”

It also makes sense to use the time leading up to spring to find employees who have shown the potential to decorate cakes and make sure they know the ropes. If they can learn the basics, they can be valuable team members in the busy times, working on sheet cakes or decorating cookies and other orders.

“We look for attitude when it comes to potential decorators,” says Schurman. “We want people who want to learn new things. And we also try and look for people who have shown any kind of artistic flair in the past. Sometimes you can tell by the way someone is arranging displays or if they understand color.”

And, just as with every other aspect of the business, efficiency is an important trait. When the busy season hits, those potential decorators must be able to jump in and get it done.

“Sometimes we run into people who are very artistic, but they don’t understand that we’re trying to make a profit on cakes,” Schurman says. “They want to be artistic and do every cake different and spend time to add extra stuff to each cake. We try to weed those people out before we get to the busy times.”

Being Innovative

When it comes to graduation cakes and other spring cakes like Easter– and Mother’s Day-themed pieces, the most influential trends are those that shy away from tradition, says Shawna LaMott with Lucks Food Decorating Company.

For graduation cakes, think bold, multi-colors instead of traditional black and gold. Even school colors seem to be going stagnant. Also prepare for clever takes on modern young adult life.

“Sheet cakes are always a popular sale for graduation and can be updated with growing trends like cheeky messages or images found in social media,” says LaMott. “Puns like ‘Welcome to Adulthood’ or ‘Go on with your grad self,’ along with piled-high sweets keep the party celebratory rather than scholarly.”

Spring cakes are seeing success with a move away from traditional pastels and toward strong, natural elements, like decorations with textures and details from nature. Think foraged foliage, wildflowers and agate. Natural color is growing in demand.

“Alternatively, the colorful and cheeky trends can apply to Mother’s Day and Easter cakes as well,” LaMott says. “Easter can be bright instead of pastel with simple, high-color graphics like fried eggs or retro candies. Puns like ‘Eggcellent’ add humor to Easter cakes, while Mother’s Day messages are often delivered on a dessert. Watch for color splatters and creative brush strokes.”

But to truly be prepared for a profitable spring season, Schurman says, you might have to be prepared to go easy on the cakes.

“Right now people are not buying as many cakes as they have in the past,” she says. “We’re doing a lot of cupcakes. We’re trying to figure out new designs to incorporate more options with cupcakes for graduation parties and events. Really, anything we can do to use them right now is important, because that’s what people are looking for. They’re not necessarily looking for cakes.”

Options that Cold Spring Bakery have used are decorating cupcakes and arranging them in the shape of a cross for Easter, or for the influx of first communion cakes Schurman says her business sees in the spring. Or cupcakes and a sheet cake can be combined in a design; the sheet cake decorated to look like a stained-glass window and the cupcakes arranged in a shape.

“We’re also trying to figure out if there are other kinds of desserts that can be incorporated,” she says. “Not all graduation parties are doing cakes anymore. They’re looking for other options and we try to come up with new ideas, whether it’s using cookies, brownies or anything like that.”

For graduation parties, consumers are looking for unique ideas like ice cream sundae bars, bowls of candies in the school’s colors and more, all of which can be incorporated to boost cake sales.

LaMott says a cost-effective way to respond to these current trends to by adding trendy details and style to desserts that don’t require a lot of time for decorating.

“Pre-made edible decorations are a great solution,” she says. “Lucks is always studying and updating our seasonal decorations to inspire decorators year after year. Our wholesale products are easy to apply and look great on social media.”

Regardless, Schurman says, there are seasons when bakers need to admit that cakes alone might not be the most profitable option.

“People have to look at other options. I heard somebody complaining because their cake business is down and asking what they can do to improve it,” she says. “My whole thing to other bakers is to look beyond cakes to increase your business. Decorate everything out. Decorate donuts, brownies whatever you can.

“It’s the same still and sometimes you’re even looking at higher margin items in those other categories. If you focus on complaining that the cake business isn’t there, you’re probably not going to increase your sales. But you will by adding new products and new options.”




The Barcelona pastry chefs cooking up a chocolate-lover’s dream

April 15th, 2017
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FC Barcelona’s epic comeback against Paris Saint Germain in European football’s Champions League last March is among the inspiration for ‘Mona de Pascua’ or Easter cake in one of Barcelona’s most emblematic pastry shops, Foix de Sarriá.

It took craftsmen a week to create a chocolate version of Barca’s iconic Nou Camp stadium although admittedly it was something of a labour of love. “After the 6-1 victory, it was a good time to create a ‘mona’ of Camp Nou”, pastry chef Xavi Ricart says.

According to tradition, godfathers give these traditional delicacies to their godchildren at Easter, and the Barcelona confectionery guild expects to sell around 700,000 units in Catalonia for this year’s holiday.

Some ‘monas’, which are exhibited in Spanish shop windows until Easter Monday, can be considered true works of art. Pastry cooks have designed chocolate replicas of buildings like the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, ski slopes or famous people, although most Easter cakes still come in the form of a good, old-fashioned egg.

Oriol Balaguer has created a host of small, cute animals incorporating the egg concept along with more conceptual pieces, reminiscent, in some cases, of the works of Salvador Dalí.

Balaguer has even designed an interactive cake for chocolate lovers, bringing you a different way to have breakfast: it comes in the shape of a coffee-pot through which you can pour liquid chocolate into a cup full of cereal.

It may not be the most creative piece he has ever produced but still, he says, “it surprises children, makes the smile because they can play with the ‘mona’”. It’s with simple creations like this that the renowned pastry chef wants to captivate his clientele.

“We can – and must – create emotions for our customers, which is the most beautiful thing about this job”, he says. “The most important and difficult task is to touch people’s hearts, to make them smile and be surprised.”

For Xavi Ricart, who is also aware of the emotional value of this dessert, “chocolate is a lot about illusion and patience. It’s an art, it’s passion”.

Source: Euronews


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Patisserie Valerie launches gluten-free range of cakes

January 23rd, 2016
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patisserie-valerieIn the UK, Patisserie Valerie has this week launched a new gluten-free range of cakes and biscuits, following a rise in demand for free-from products.

We’re excited to announce our NEW gluten free range which will be available online and in stores from 18th January 2016.

Customers can now enjoy a selection of five indulgent individual treats in cafes including a Belgian Chocolate Brownie, Marble Cake, Flapjack, Chocolate Muffin and a Ginger Biscuit. All of these gluten free products are priced at £2.45 to dine-in or £2.10 to takeaway.

Customers will also be able to place orders for a gluten free Double Chocolate celebration cake – which is available in an 8 inch size (which serves approximately 8-10 people). Orders for this can be placed online through the Patisserie Valerie website, or with a team member in store, and is priced at £34.50. There are further plans to launch more gluten free celebration cakes in the future.

As with their other range of cakes, each gluten free product is lovingly handmade by a team of expert bakers.

The launch of the new range comes after a lot of requests from customers.

Nicola Hedley, Group Marketing Manager, explains “We’ve been working on our gluten free range for a while because we wanted to get it absolutely perfect. Our customers wanted gluten free but they still wanted it to be indulgent and that’s exactly what our Gloriously Gluten Free range is.”

Patisserie Valerie continue to meet the demands of their customers with innovative and new product ranges, as well as continuing to expand their presence across the UK.

Paul May, CEO, is delighted with the new range and comments “We’re really excited about our new gluten free range, and we hope that our customers will enjoy the products on offer. This is the first step in expanding our offering to meet dietary needs and we hope that we can cater for everyone in the future.”


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Brand commits to charities

July 5th, 2013
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United BiscuitsUnited Biscuits (UBUK), manufacturer of biscuits and cakes, is demonstrating its commitment to supporting charities close to its business by announcing a new partnership for McVitie’s Penguin with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).

As part of the partnership, which will run until May next year, McVitie’s Penguin has committed to donating £80,000 to ZSL to help safeguard the future of penguins through its conservation research, monitoring, education and public engagement at ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.

Rolling out from July, all McVitie’s Penguin packs will feature a new, modern pack design including the ZSL logo to offer greater stand out on shelf and communicate the brand’s commitment to supporting the charity’s work.  The brand will also be undertaking a social media campaign including competitions on its Facebook page,, to build further awareness of the partnership.

Matt Brown, brand director at UBUK, commented: “The partnership between the McVitie’s Penguin brand and ZSL is a natural fit and we’re proud to be supporting the charity’s work to safeguard the future of penguins. We’re confident that the ZSL logo on McVitie’s Penguin packs will resonate with consumers and help drive further sales for retailers as shoppers show support of the great work ZSL is doing to protect our penguins.”

Source: Sweets and Snacks Europe


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Puratos Deli Cheesecake : A perfect cheesecake, straight from the pail into the oven

March 29th, 2013
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The perfect solution for industrial bakers

Puratos Deli Cheesecake is the perfect convenient cheesecakecake ingredient. It can be used straight from the packaging and has a six-month shelf life in closed packaging at ambient
storage. The product is sold in buckets of 5 or 12 kilograms. It is also available in larger packaging for industrial use. The product can be pumped straight from the container into the
cake form. The cake base can either be whipped to give it an aerated structure or can be used on its own on a crust. DeliCheesecake is suitable for any industrial oven. The result is a
perfect cake with no loss in volume and no cracking.
Deli Cheesecake is freeze-thaw stable, both before and after baking. Once baked, the cake can be used in chilled and frozen distribution channels.
Find out more about Deli Cheesecake for industrial use here

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New starch to tackle collapsing cakes – while keeping texture

May 7th, 2010
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Tate & Lyle is launching a new modified corn starch for bakery and pastry creams and custards, which is claimed to deliver both cuttability and good mouthfeel.

When used in creams and custards native starches tend to deliver a firm gel, which is easy to cut and does not stick to the knife but lacks good texture and mouthfeel properties. Most modified starches, on the other hand, deliver on the mouthfeel but make a sticky mess when the cake is served.

This can put bakers in something of a quandary. In the past, the may have tried to find their own solution by combining native starch and modified starch, but it can be very hard to achieve the right results consistently, Caroline Sanders, marketing manager at Tate & Lyle.

With its new starch, called Resistamyl 140, Tate & Lyle sought to find the a middle ground between the two. When used in hot-processed creams for pastry or biscuit layers, it is said to give good adhesiveness but still be shapable – and does not stick to the equipment.

“Sometimes you want to cut a cake, but it’s a mess by the time you put it on a plate,” said Sanders. “It can help bakers design a high quality product with good mouthfeel.”

She said the real market benefit is that it provides the tools to modulate viscosity. While the major obstacles in getting the firmness/mouthfeel balance right have been overcome, bakers can then combine Resistamyl 140 with native starches themselves to fine-tune the texture to suit their precise needs.

The new starch is an extension of Tate & Lyle’s existing Resistamyl line and is not intended to replace other offerings. It is said to be easy to handle, and to require only short cooking time.


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