Anna Walker of Natchitoches is a college student and baking enthusiast known locally for unique and interesting cupcake and bread recipes. In the article below Anna Walker discusses some of the trending cupcake and icing flavors aspiring bakers may wish to try out themselves.
Out: chocolate cupcakes. In: chocolate bourbon pecan pie cupcakes.
The good ol’ cupcake is still having a moment. What once was standard tasty fare for a bake sale or a child’s birthday party is now increasingly gourmet dessert fare. Anna Walker of Natchitoches explains there are Oreo cheesecake, blueberry pancake, salted caramel, strawberry champagne, and peppermint mocha cupcakes.
Anna Walker of Natchitoches notes that people wait for hours to sample designer cupcakes at bakeries across the country that only specialize only in fancy cupcakes. And as some of this year’s trendiest cupcake and icing flavors suggest, they’re only getting fancier.
Anna Walker Says It’s in the Details
Anna Walker of Natchitoches reports that while the flavors of cupcakes and icing themselves continue to please eclectic palates, so do the increasingly intricate designs. Piping styles have branched out to include shapes like rosettes, ribbons, stars, scallops, and ruffles, with many cupcakes showcasing multiple styles at once.
Expect color combinations to continue as well, especially experimental color tones created with a wide range of gels.
Following the trend of unicorn coffee drinks, Anna Walker of Natchitoches says unicorn cupcakes take a basic flavor, buttercream, and turn it into a rainbow fantasy of bright pastels using popular pastel gel coloring sets.
Some are even making so-called “adult” flavor versions of the unicorn, including one incorporating a pink gin look and taste that is frequently seen at weddings.
Anna Walker of Natchitoches explains that pumpkin cupcakes are not new, but the 2022 version is. While in the past pumpkin cupcakes were typically vanilla flavored with a pumpkin-spice bite, more popular versions these days take out the spice in favor of a standard cream cheese icing topped with a pumpkin candy.
Sometimes the cake is simply glazed with light pumpkin flavor.
Fancy coffee is everywhere these days, and not just in cups. Coffee cupcakes offer a distinctive take on ever-evolving coffee dessert options like candy and ice cream. Typically, the cake itself is strongly coffee-flavored and sometimes specified as tasting like a latte, cappuccino, or espresso.
Anna Walker of Natchitoches says the flavor is so strong that the icing takes a muted approach, with trending flavors including the traditional chocolate and vanilla, as well as raspberry and almond. You can even find decaffeinated coffee cupcakes.
Yes, creating flowers from icing is nothing new. Anna Walker of Natchitoches explains that if you’ve been to a wedding in the past 15 years, you’ve seen it. But bakers are now taking the flower power up a notch, using decorative tips that make the entire cupcake look like a flower itself.
And if the cupcake isn’t made to look like a flower, real, fresh (and edible) flowers are frequently sprinkled on top of traditional frosting flavors.
Mounds of icing have traditionally been a cupcake trademark, but nontraditional toppings are now king according to Anna Walker of Natchitoches and used to enhance a unique flavor profile. S’more’s cupcakes have become commonplace, and they are usually topped with toasted marshmallows.
Chocolate frosting is a cupcake staple, but it is now frequently complemented with swirled peanut butter or orange flavors. Sometimes it’s just peanut butter itself that stands in for icing. And if you’re making an Oreo cupcake, why not use real Oreos on top?
Anna Walker of Natchitoches says that lemon is another traditional dessert flavor that’s getting a modern-day twist in cupcakes. Straight-forward lemon cupcakes, with lightly lemon-flavored icing and cake, are now almost as possible as their chocolate and vanilla counterparts.
While they are still sweet, there are versions that are increasingly tart with simple powdered sugar or decorative lemon buds, or candy used as toppings instead of frosting.
There’s nothing quite like getting an unexpected burst of sweet goodness in a dessert, whether it be a doughnut or a molten lava cake. Anna Walker of Natchitoches reports that bakers are now incorporating a range of fillings into cupcakes, including fresh fruit, sprinkles, or dark chocolate fudge.
Sometimes it’s a filling that makes an otherwise plain-looking cupcake turn into a gourmet delight, like a filling infused with bourbon caramel, passion fruit, lime, or cheesecake.
Why have one cupcake when you can sample 10?
Anna Walker of Natchitoches reports that cupcake charcuterie boards or sample boxes have been popping up on restaurant menus, offering small cupcakes packing big flavors, sometimes paired with a specific wine, dessert liquor, or after-dinner coffee. They’re perfect for a date or a night out with family and friends, and many are themed to flavors.
A chocolate cupcake charcuterie board may include peanut butter cups and white chocolate cupcakes. A candy board often includes cupcakes decorated with everything from gummi bears to M&Ms. And a sweet and salt board may include tiny cakes topped with salted caramel icing and actual salty pretzels crumbled on top.