Christmas Flavours – Trends and Twists on Traditional Bakery Items

Christmas Cake Trends
Much like the tradition of setting out a plate of mince pies and a glass of milk or tumbler of whisky for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, the Christmas season insights a yearning for familiarity and warming flavours that evoke a cosy feel. However, the overarching theme for this year’s offering of sweet treats is an injection of new into the nostalgic. Continue reading to learn why Santa Claus might prefer to find an espresso martini pud awaiting him on the hearth, over the usual tipple this Christmas (besides the fact that the caffeine kick would aid immensely with the Christmas Eve rounds, of course).


New In: Nostalgia

Although it ties in with the desire for familiarity and comfort that comes with the festive season, nostalgia isn’t a trend that has solely arrived for Christmas. Nostalgia in bakery has been a prevalent premise prior to the fast-approaching Christmas period and can be linked to the effects of the unfamiliar and unsettling COVID-19 pandemic. 

Not only are retro flavours, such as Millionaire’s, sticky toffee, chocolate orange, and Black Forest, taking centre stage, classic and traditional bakes are being reinvigorated by more modern flavours, such as blonde chocolate or the flavours of specific cocktails (more on this later). 

A prime example of this trend is the crown cake. In my opinion, this style of dessert bears resemblance to the innately retro Bundt cake, which was itself inspired by a cake even more traditional. Visually, the Bundt design draws on a European cake, Gugelhopf or Kugelhopf. Retailers have this showstopping centre piece playing host to the aforementioned blonde chocolate or have chosen to intertwine yet more nostalgia through the use of some of the more classic flavours mentioned above.

Crown cakes differ to Bundt cakes in that they boast a divot which acts as a well for sauce, instead of a hole all the way through the cake. Combined with the sharper, more striking edges in comparison to the softer appearance of the Bundt cake, this allows for the interactivity and theatrics called for by consumers at the most wonderful time of the year.   


Sent into A Savoury Spin

One of the most distinctive decisions by retailers aiming to bring new to the known, is the introduction of savoury ingredients to bakery items that we associate as being sweet. Cheese and choux pastry seem to be the champion combination of this trend, both classically Christmassy in their own right but when combined create double the decadence. Dawn Foods’ Choux Pastry Mix is the perfect tool to help you jump onto the cheesy choux bandwagon (or sleigh if you will).


Tipsy Treats

Buying the ‘Christmas booze’ is a term many consumers will be familiar with, but more and more of these festive tipples will be found in the form of desserts than ever before, due to the emergence of a calling for desserts which emulate the flavours of popular cocktails. With espresso and passionfruit martini leading the pack, most are iterations of layered desserts or trifle, a further nod to the theme of catapulting classic confectionary into the present through flavours.

Furthermore, the cream-based boozy beverages that are so strongly associated with Christmas, such as Baileys and eggnog, are presented by recipe creators on Pinterest as complimentary to the likes of the macaron, making for ideal filling flavours.


X-Mas cake Ideas


Ice, Ice Baby

Contrastingly to the theme of warming tastes, flavours such as peppermint which connote the iciness of a brisk winter’s morning are also inherently Christmassy. A lot of this has to do with the flavour’s affiliation with candy canes, but also peppermint creams. Both confections can be considered as retro, lending the concept of utilising their flavour in other items to the nostalgia trend. Examples of the use of peppermint in traditional bakery items include mint chocolate cakes and the more unusual cranberry and peppermint cookies. Not only is cranberry an intrinsically wintery ingredient, the alliance of cranberry and peppermint is also present in the mixology industry, linking back to the cocktail trend. 

Chocolate cakes are commonplace at Christmas time, offering an alternative to the conventional Christmas cake for consumers who aren’t keen on the controversial fruitcake and marzipan. Combine chocolatey sponge with swirls of minty buttercream and a taste reminiscent of mint hot chocolate is achieved, meshing the antithesis of warming and icey. It is also fun to see these flavours be reflected in the decoration.