Kitty Glencross, final year student at University College Birmingham and one of Dawn’s Student Ambassadors for 2023, looks at how bakers can make the most of the current trend for American Favourite Bakes this Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate love, whether for a significant other, family, friends, or yourself. And what better way to show your love than with a sweet treat! Valentine’s Day provides bakers with a window of opportunity to get creative with fantastic bakes that will not only make their customers feel loved up but help build business too.
American bakery products - such as brownies and blondies, donuts, muffins, cookies, and cheesecake – are in one of the fastest growing bakery categories. Dawn’s recent Global Bakery Trends report showed that 45% of European consumers have tried American bakery products, while younger people ‘Gen Z’ are more likely to choose them. It’s likely that the trend is influenced by the widespread use of social media; it’s easier for consumers to learn about foods from around the world and to share their eating experiences in an instant via their mobile phones.
Read on for more insight on how to incorporate American sweet bakery into your Valentine’s offering…
Red - The Colour of Love
Red Velvet is a classic American flavour which often features in Valentine’s bakes due to its characteristic red colour – it looks great in a picture - as well as its perfect balance of sweetness and tanginess.
Bakers can easily make a classic red velvet cake, red velvet cupcakes, or red velvet cake pops using Dawn’s Red Velvet Creme Cake Base and Cream Cheese Frosting. Alternatively, use these ingredients in combination with Dawn’s Cheesecake Filling to make a red velvet cheesecake cake, a recent on-trend item which consists of two layers of red velvet sponge with a layer of baked cheesecake sandwiched in between.
Red velvet is increasingly being incorporated into new formats which work well for individual Valentine’s treats, such as red velvet cookies, red velvet brownies, and red velvet cinnamon rolls. The options are endless when it comes to red velvet, and the decoration is up to you! To make a red velvet cake extra special, and to tap into the trend for personalised cakes, shape the cake into a heart, cover with cream cheese icing, and finish with chocolate-covered strawberries and a personalised message piped on top.
Berries and Chocolate - A Perfect Pair(ing)
Consumers associate chocolate and berries such as strawberry and raspberry with the Valentine’s season. There are countless ways that this classic flavour pairing can be incorporated into Valentine’s bakes too. For example, combine white chocolate and berries in a classic cheesecake, or for a creative twist, you can make cheesecake brownies – simply top the brownie mix with cheesecake mix, and swirl spoonfuls of jam into the cheesecake mix before baking.
Here's some other ideas for Valentine’s bakes which combine chocolate and berries, made easier using products from Dawn:
• Strawberry and White Chocolate Muffins – use Dawn’s Strawberry Frosting to make these sweet treats.
• Chocolate and Blackberry Mousse – use Dawn’s Chocolate Fond to make this indulgent dessert.
• Valentine’s Loaded Waffles – use Dawn’s Waffle Mix to make heart-shaped waffles, top with mixed berries and ice cream, and drizzle over chocolate to make this ‘Instagrammable’ dessert.
Incorporating Current Trends into Valentine's Day Bakes
For a creative way of presenting Valentine’s Day products, arrange them into an on-trend charcuterie-style board. This technique is best with bite-sized treats – think peanut butter cups, marshmallows, chocolate-covered strawberries, and chocolate-covered mini pretzels. Bakers can elevate this idea by making ‘love heart’ inspired sugar cookies as the centrepiece of the board – to make these, decorate heart-shaped sugar cookies with brightly coloured icing, and pipe on cute romantic messages, such as ‘Be mine’ or ‘XOXO’.
On-trend styles of cake decoration are very well-suited for the Valentine’s season. Bakers can get creative with heart-shaped vintage cakes or cartoon cakes, or by decorating cakes with a selection of edible flowers and foliage.