Baker’s Choice: Flexible and Innovative Flavors for Cakes

In 2019, Dawn’s “Inspired By You” initiative invited four customers to its Innovation Studio in Jackson, Michigan, to experiment with—and ultimately select—three flavors of cake mixes that would become Dawn’s newest products: coconut, coffee and honey. These flavors are flexible yet foundational, so you can easily pair them with additional fillings or icings, resulting in an endless combination of innovative baked goods. Here’s what the new cake flavors inspired us to make:

Fill with Dawn German Chocolate Icing, pipe Dawn Chocolate Buttercreme on top and decorate with toasted pecans, coconut and a chocolate decoration

German Chocolate Cupcake

Bake with Dawn Exceptional Baker’s Request Toasted Coconut Cake Mix, fill with Dawn German Chocolate Icing, pipe Dawn Chocolate Buttercreme on top and decorate with toasted pecans, coconut and a chocolate decoration.

Tropical flavors are gaining popularity rapidly. Datassential FLAVOR™ reports that 57 percent of consumers love or like coconut and that number is likely to only increase. Currently, it’s on 37.7 percent of U.S. restaurant menus and is projected to grow 10.7 percent in the next four years.

When baking with coconut, consider the following flavor pairings for tasty combinations: chocolate, vanilla and ginger. Citrus fruits, such as lime, and tropical fruits, such as pineapple or mango, also blend well with coconut.

At Dawn, we chose the chocolate pairing when creating a cupcake using the new Coconut cake mix. Try the recipe for Coconut German Chocolate Cupcakes.

Let your local coffee shop inspire you when searching for flavor combination inspiration. Chocolate (think mocha), cinnamon, caramel and hazelnut make delicious pairings for coffee.

Latte Cupcake with Nutella®

Bake with Dawn Exceptional Baker’s Request Coffee Cake Mix, fill with NUTELLA®, dip top in melted Dawn Fudge Icing, roll edges in toasted chopped hazelnuts and top with coffee-flavored Dawn Buttercreme.

As the popularity of artisan coffee grows, tapping into this delicious market is a solid business decision. Datassential FLAVOR™ reports 50 percent of consumers love coffee and its many variations.

Let your local coffee shop inspire you when searching for flavor combination inspiration. Chocolate (think mocha), cinnamon, caramel and hazelnut make delicious pairings for coffee. 

We used both chocolate and hazelnut pairings to elevate the new Dawn Coffee cake mix. Try the recipe for Coffee Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes.

Bake with Dawn Exceptional Baker’s Request Honey Cake Mix, fill with Dawn Bavarian Creme mixed with banana bits, ice with banana liqueur-flavored Dawn Buttercreme and top with dried banana chip.

Honey Banana Creme Cupcake

Bake with Dawn Exceptional Baker’s Request Honey Cake Mix, fill with Dawn Bavarian Creme mixed with banana bits, ice with banana liqueur-flavored Dawn Buttercreme and top with dried banana chip.

“With the rise of sustainability and local first, people are looking back at these natural sweeteners,” says Dawn Senior Application Chef Melissa Trimmer, CEPC. According to Datassential FLAVOR™, 40 percent of consumers who have tried honey love it. 

The sweet flavor of honey pairs well with cheese (think cheesecake); fruits, such as blueberries, strawberries and bananas; and nuts, such as roasted almonds and walnuts. For a unique twist, tea-inspired ingredients can add an interesting flavor profile to baked goods.

We went with the fruit pairing, using bananas as our complement to the new Dawn Honey cake mix. Try the recipe for Honey Banana Cupcakes.

What sweet treats would you create with these flavors? Share your inspirational experiments with us on Instagram @dawnfoodsglobal.

Photos: Conway Photography