Good Food Blog
Rising cake stars: The top baking trends of 2013Posted at 1:02PM, 18 January 2013 by Natalie Hardwick - Web assistant, bbcgoodfood.com
It's taken a while, but the cupcake has been nudged off its perch. BBC2's Great British Bake Off has shown there's a whole raft of sweet treats out there, waiting in the wings for a renaissance. Like Nostradamus but with a pair of floury hands, the BBC Good Food team has predicted what will be the biggest baking trends this year. Pop on a pinny and get ready to impress.
The trend: Peek-a-boo cakes
Deceptively simply from the outside, it's only when you cut into these cakes that the magic is revealed - so sit back and wait for the gasps. From multi-layered cakes in vibrant colours, to hidden hearts embedded in an outwardly plain sponge, keep the decoration to a minimum to make the most of what lies inside. Sarah Cook's dazzling take is a thoroughly British cake that combines the best of these American trends - edible colour-coding plus some clever jigsaw work.
Peek-a-boo Battenberg cake
The trend: Marshmallows
Soon you won't be able to find a farmers market without a stand selling these moreish treats. So, take the lead among your friends and be the first to experiment with homemade marshmallows. Flavours can be as grown up as you like, from saffron to strawberry, blackcurrant to beetroot - marshmallows are without a doubt the current after-dinner favourite in all the smartest restaurants. Try Sarah Cook's sweet shop version first, then let your imagination run wild.
The trend: Zebra cakes
Remember marble cakes? These are a 21st Century version, where a little precision results in a uniformly stripy sponge. The key is all in the batters: they have to be as similar in consistency as possible, so if too much colouring loosens one, either thicken it with a tablespoon more flour or add a splash of milk to the other to compensate. Stick to the rules, work quickly and confidently and there are endless colour and flavour possibilities.
Chocolate & raspberry zebra cake
The trend: Eclairs
These gorgeous delights are the cupcake of Paris right now, and it won't be long before they cross the Channel in abundance. The prettier and more jewel-like the decoration, the better. Experiment with fondant icing transformed with natural food colouring, then tailor the flavour to the hue - a drop of blackcurrant Cassis works with a purple icing, while framboise works with pink. Once you've cracked your technique, get experimenting with the cream filling, by adding hazelnut or almond extract, coffee or cocoa.
The trend: Doughnuts
Following a vast trail of baked goods before them, the doughnut has turned artisan. Restaurants serving flavours such as chicken liver, black pudding and bacon, and fennel salt have turned the traditional variant on its head. Making them in the traditional ball-shape allows you to play around with fillings such as chocolate, custard, marmalade or fruit, but we like them served Spanish-style as piped fingers with chocolate dip.
Churros with chocolate dipping sauce
What's your cake of 2013? If you need a little inspiration, check out our expansive cake recipe hub