Woman kneading flour in kitchen, closeup.
Adobe Stock

Nostalgia will never go out of fashion for baked goods

5 Hottest Bakery Trends to Know Right Now

These trends are taking the baking industry by storm—are you ready to jump on the bandwagon?

Looking to refresh your bakery’s offerings? These five hot bakery trends are shaping the market—and the way people are buying and eating baked goods right now. 

From cakes with an old-timey Victorian aesthetic to nostalgic treats with a twist to a classic bread ingredient used in unexpected ways and more, consider adding these of-the-moment baked goods and product offerings to your bakery menu:

Bakery Trend No. 1: Apothecary Chic

As TastingTable reports, one of the hottest baking trends of 2023 based on Pinterest data is actually pretty old-timey-sounding: the “herbal apothecary aesthetic.” But what does that mean, exactly? 

Start by thinking about an old-timey apothecary—the predecessor of today’s pharmacies. These establishments sold all sorts of treatments and medicines, ranging from scientific to herbal remedies. The aesthetic was distinctive, with bottles of potion-like liquids, herbs and dried flowers arranged neatly in clean, sanitary spaces.

How can you transfer that concept and aesthetic to cakes and pastries? The opportunities are endless. For instance, you could keep it simple by decorating cakes with edible dried flowers. Or, you could create pastries with edible flowers or medicinal herbs, such as rosemary-lavender scones or sage-infused cupcakes. 

This trend can go beyond your baked goods. You can also incorporate the apothecary look into your menu, flyers, and labels by choosing type styles and imagery that offer a simple, old-timey feel. 

Bakery Trend No. 2: Nostalgic Treats With a Twist

Nostalgia will never go out of fashion for baked goods. But lately, bakers have been finding success by adding unique or unexpected ingredients to classic favorites like chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes, and brownies. 

What kinds of unexpected ingredients? For instance, award-winning pastry chef and author Christina Tosi has been touting an unexpected ingredient—black sesame, which she says offers a savory note like peanut butter but with a more exotic flavor.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be a standout stand-alone ingredient. Instead, you could opt for creative flavor combos. For instance, Philadelphia’s Crust Vegan Bakery specializes in unexpected combinations of familiar flavors. Their ever-changing roster includes items like pistachio-cardamom scones, cheesecake seasoned with a chai-like spice blend, and seasonal homemade pop-tarts in flavors like blueberry maple and blood orange-raspberry. 

Want to capitalize on this trend? Consider offering some of your most popular treats with a new ingredient or flavor profile.

Bakery Trend No. 3: Take-and-Bake

During the pandemic, people baked a lot more. The baking fever may have cooled, but people haven’t lost their taste for freshly baked items.

To help meet this demand, many bakeries have started to offer “take-and-bake” style baked goods. It might be par-baked bread that just needs to be finished for a few minutes in the oven, or it might be ready-to-bake pastries.

For example, Seattle’s Grand Central Bakery offers several “U-Bake” items, ranging from cookie dough to pies and pizza dough. They offer the same convenience of pre-made items from the grocery store, but with a superior flavor. 

NYC’s famed Mah Ze Dahr Bakery is on the bandwagon, too—they offer bake-at-home cinnamon rolls that can be frozen and thawed to bake to perfection. 

The bottom line? Customers crave freshness. Consider adding take-and-bake varieties to your roster.

Bakery Trend No. 4: Sourdough That Goes Beyond Bread 

Sourdough is on the rise (pun intended). 

According to surveys conducted by the Craft Bakers Association, between April and August of 2022, the number of purveyors selling sourdough products had gone up by 7 percent, with 10 percent more planning to add sourdough products in the coming year. Those numbers aren’t massive, but when you consider the short period of time and projections, they are significant. 

The increased interest in sourdough products has gotten bakers thinking beyond the loaf. As it turns out, the tangy flavor that sourdough starter imparts on bread loaves can also add a certain something to other baked goods. 

For instance, Flour Craft Bakery, a California bakery with two locations, offers Sourdough Chocolate Chip Cookies—brown butter chocolate chip cookies made with a sourdough starter. The flavor is familiar, but just different enough to make them an item worth seeking out.

Interested in offering more sourdough products? Consider adding sourdough starter to baked goods like cookies, cinnamon rolls, or doughnuts. 

Bakery Trend No. 5: Dessert Experiences 

In this day and age of delivery apps, it can be tough to get people into your bakery. The solution? Give people an experience that makes them want to get out of the house. 

For instance, Asda, a London grocery chain with in-store bakery-cafes, created a 13-course bread tasting menu to promote their baked goods. 

Of course, a dessert experience doesn’t have to be delivered in-store. It could be 

as simple as putting together a party package of top sellers for your customers. For instance, Milk Bar, a dessert chain with locations across the U.S., offers a product/experience called “The Ultimate Birthday,” supersized collection of desserts designed to make any event an instant party, including a birthday cake, cookies, cake truffles, and a decadent pie. 

The takeaway? Even if it’s as simple as adding candles and a birthday card to birthday cake orders, consider ways to transform your baked goods and dessert items into “experiences” to make them more enticing to customers.

Ready to Be a Trend-Setter?

These trends are taking the baking industry by storm—are you ready to jump on the bandwagon? Consider implementing one or more of these trends into your baking business today to increase customer interest and potentially boost your sales.