Did you know that baking in season was not only good for the environment but also allowed you to make the most delicious cakes?
In cooking schools, they teach the importance of seasonality. But somehow, it’s often overlooked in the baking world. After all, if your customer wants a cake with fresh raspberries in January, you are going to oblige. However, offering in season alternatives to your customers could make all the difference to the taste of their wedding cake.
Seasonal baking allows you to use the freshest ingredients for your cakes, when they are available. Unfortunately, some products like lemons, almonds and oranges etc. will always have to travel a lot before ending up on our shelves. But still, buying them in season means that they will be at the height of their yumminess, and that will certainly have an impact on the quality of your final product.
But enough with the pep talk, let’s speak about facts. Professional facts.
Adapting your cake menu to the seasons is going to make you stand out.
Baking is caring
When you go to a restaurant and the menu is made with seasonal and (as much as possible) local products, you know that you’re in a place where they take their food seriously and you expect quality. Same goes for your customers when they order from you. It tells them that your cakes are not just pretty, they also taste amazing. It tells them that you care!
Plus, rather than doing the exact same products all year around, because it is the norm, your customers will get to try different things as you renew your flavours!
And logistically speaking, things needn’t be overwhelming!
Create a seasonal menu
During the cake consultation, your customers can choose from different menus. For example, on my website I have three sections for cake flavour: All year around flavours, Autumn/Winter and lastly Spring/Summer.
Cake tasting session
And what if they get married in July but have their cake tasting in October? Fear not! All you need is to have “all year rounders" flavours. Anything made with preserve or curds (Victoria Sponge, Lemon cake), but also Chocolate based cakes, nut-based cakes (Coffee & Walnut for example, or Peanut Butter and Jam), Carrot cake or Banana sponge (as bananas grow all year around), Red Velvet, and the list goes on. In short: any flavour that does not involve seasonal fresh fruits.
Guide your customers as a true professional
Remember that clients want to book professionals because they have the knowledge in their area of expertise. During cake consultations, I typically serve my customers 4 “all year-round” flavours, and two from the season we’re in. I clearly explain to my customers that they can find flavours from their wedding season on the website (if different) and why I don’t offer those flavours out of season (raspberries taste like water, pears are too hard, etc.). Without fail, not only do they understand but they also like my “Chef” approach to the matter.
Rest assured that once your clients have tasted some samples and realise how DELICIOUS your cakes are, they will know they are safe to order a couple of flavours they haven’t yet tried as they had their consultation in a different season than the one where they’ll get married.
*Seen in the industry: The lovely Suzanne Brady from Cove Cake Design offers a sample box service that changes every 2 to 3 months with her own selected seasonal flavours. Not only is this a very clever way to avoid waste by regrouping your samples, it also sends a very clear message to your customers: that they should trust their cake designer to know what flavours will be served best at what time of the year!
And now: here are my top seasonal flavour combinations
Pumpkin & Spices (try using pumpkin instead of carrot in your usual carrot cake recipe and load it with Christmas spices)
Pumpkin & Oranges
Chestnut & Vanilla
Pear and Hazelnuts Praliné
Chestnuts and Vanilla
Apple and Salted Caramel
Orange & Spices
Chocolate, Hazelnuts & Orange
Litchis & Rose
Milk Chocolate & Mango
Rhubarb & Pistachio
Apricot & Almonds
Strawberry & Milk Chocolate
Cherry & Chocolate
Cherry & Pistachio
Creamy Mint & Strawberry (infuse fresh mint in whipping cream and use that cream as a base for a white chocolate ganache - just YUM)
Raspberry & Lemon (bake fresh raspberries and lemon zests in your usual sponge and drizzle with fresh lemon juice when filling the cake for a nice lemony kick)
Strawberry & Basil
Rose & Raspberry
Fig & Star Anise (one of my fave!)
Caramelised peaches and Vanilla
As always guys, please let me know how you get on as I would truly love to hear about you!