As we are faced with uncertain times, we're all turning to one thing for that small bit of comfort… dessert! Between 23rd March and 30th April, the most popular recipe searched for on the BBC Good Food website was, you've guessed it, banana bread. Actually, 13 of the top 20 searched recipes were sweet (cakes, biscuits or desserts). It seems that we are looking decidedly backwards to the 'old school' favourites and family comforts whilst indulging our sweet tooth as a means of escapism; think bread n' butter pudding, carrot cake, sheet cake, trifle, Eton mess, rice pudding as well as fusion twists on the classics like Dalgona Tiramisu!
Bell and whistles are out – simple soothing and (most of all) flavourful are in. Sweet, comforting, indulgent ingredients like caramel, treacle, chocolate and toffee are firm favourites. However, as the summer sets in we should expect the dense cakes and gooey pudding to be replaced by the lighter desserts such as pavlovas, lemon tart, burnt cheesecake and ice cream sundaes; still comforting and with the indulgence factor. If you think familiarity and comfort as key drivers, mean that innovation is out – think again. With so many home cooks increasing their skills on a day to day basis, and home baking becoming ever more popular, there is plenty of experimentation and twists on classic dishes being revolutionised. There is also still so much room for growth in plant-based desserts as the popularity for egg and flour-free baking continues to rise.
We're also seeing a rise in 'all day desserts' – desserts not restricted to a specific day part, cakes for daytime snacking, after dinner, after workout, mini sweet treats all trending as desserts go cross day part.
We mustn't forget that baking is for everyone, particularly in the COVID-era, but not everyone is a master baker. Thus 'easy' and 'no bake' desserts are rising in popularity - e.g. traybakes, banana bread and 'fridge cakes'. Also gaining momentum are dessert boxes/ kits, aka recipe boxes that are delivered to your door and come with ingredients pre-prepared.