Air-brushed cakes and mandala patterns on icing – we open Pandora’s box and find recipes for success. We’ve got the sweetest home helps that make baking fun. Kathrin Runge shares her impressions of Ambiente and identifies food trends to make cakes and cooking even lovelier.
Baking is booming. Baking your own bread, cakes and cookies is no longer simply a means to an end: for many people it’s a passion. Cooking is something you have to do, but baking is something you do because you want to. Purveyors of bakeware are responding to the trend, with a wealth of equipment and possibilities to shape and bake individual cakes.
If you thought fondant icing and cake pops were the ultimate in fashionable baking, our report from Ambiente will make you think again. There may not be such overall hype in the food sector as there is in other spheres where Scandinavian ‘hygge’ (well-being) now seems to be an all-encompassing trend. But four key cake fashion directions did emerge at the trade fair.
Cake art: every piece a work of artistry
You can spray paint, use watercolours and achieve marbled effects – cup cakes and larger versions are decorated more creatively than ever before. The baking itself is consigned to the background while the process and style of decoration come into sharp focus. Is it attractive or merely excessive? It’s probably a question of taste. Cake painting involves using a brush to decorate cakes and fondant icing, a bit like childhood watercolours. The trend of colouring for grown-ups also works on cake: you use a type of felt pen made with food colouring to colour in preprinted mandala patterns.
For a more elaborate approach, you can find air compressors and spray guns with which to airbrush your baked goods. It might be simpler to add one of the many sorts of sprinkles to your frosting. Whether you use the miniature skulls and crossbones as decoration is entirely up to you. Easter bunnies might be a less contentious choice.
Diversity: all shapes and sizes
Football jersey, fish, starfish or vintage car – cake tins and cookie cutters are varied like never before. Previously, manufacturers were content with traditional star, heart and circle shapes, but some have now produced several hundred varieties. This should help promote baking all year round, not just for Christmas and Easter. Miniature baking is also in demand, and not just for single people or for children. There are now fine angel pastry cutters and 10 cm tart tins as well as extra-small versions of the usual kitchen equipment.
Baking butler: the new home help
Even for someone who’s got everything, there’s always something new you could use. For example a set of five small round cake tins to make the coloured layers for a rainbow cake all at once. Or a springform tin with a bottom that becomes an attractive cake plate for serving. How about a small container for sprinkles and suchlike, making it easier to spread your decorations evenly? Or a great utensil like the Swiss Wunderböxli, which helps make filled pastries in an instant: in windmill, boat and square shapes.
Feeling good: bake yourself well
These days, products not only need to be high quality and useful, but also presentable. And fun. And make us feel good… Kitchen appliances such as juicers, food processors and mixers have long been statement items. They sit on the work surface even after they’ve done their job. Pastel colours are in demand: many manufacturers offer baking tins, crockery and mixers in pale blue and pink. Sweet like sugar. Like the macaroons and whoopee pies you make.
So while there are always new things for the kitchen, traditional baking is still highly prized, without being showy. All the companies showing at Ambiente also offer the usual springform tins, heart-shaped cookie cutters and rolling pins. Sometimes grandma’s marble cake recipe is simply the best, beating all the push-up pops and cronuts. So get baking! You can cocoon, spend more time with the family, get back to basics and back to your roots, and in fact still be bang on trend.