Cake trends on the rise in 2024, according to a pastry chef

Get ready to see bows, meringue and more.

<p>Courtesy of Larissa Neto</p>
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Trends are far from being limited to fashion alone. The food world evolves through fashions and styles, just like any other industry, and this is especially true for cake decorating. Cupcakes were once the hottest item to have at large celebrations like weddings, but also as a dessert when hosting a small dinner party or get-together. (I should know, I used to work at one of the most popular cupcake shops in America.)

But just as shoulder pads have been phased out of clothing, cupcakes have taken a back seat to other styles of cakes, from naked cakes to Victorian or Lambeth cakes, more recently. We asked a pastry chef to weigh in and describe some of the new cake trends she’s seen gaining popularity.

Meet the expert

Caitlyn Cox is the pastry chef at RT Lodge in Tennessee. She describes her own style as that of a modern grandmother, having worked at other much-loved and lauded venues like Henrietta Red and Back in The Day Bakery. In addition to taking care of the restaurant’s delicious pastries, pastries and desserts, she also designs and creates cakes for weddings and events.

<p>Courtesy of Larissa Neto</p>
<p>” src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTk2MA–/ 94a418713b3dd”/><noscript><img alt=Courtesy of Larissa Neto

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Lambeth Pipework

This trend is notable for its intricate design consisting of multiple styles of layered piping (ruffles, shells, etc.) wrapped around the top, sides, and base of a cake.

“It reminds me of my grandmother and her wedding cake and the trend is picking up steam because of that…nostalgia,” says Cox.

Nostalgia is a theme we often see in cooking, from retro recipes making a comeback to chefs paying homage to family recipes. This style is especially popular with wedding cakes. “We had a bride match the color of her grandmother’s dress to the lambeth cake so it came full circle at the cake cutting ceremony: it’s sweet, sentimental and classic.”

<p>Victor Protasio;  Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall;  Props Stylist: Mary Clayton Carl Jones</p>
<p>” src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MQ–/ c9d03aae31eed3e”/><noscript><img alt=Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall; Props Stylist: Mary Clayton Carl Jones

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Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall; Props Stylist: Mary Clayton Carl Jones

Large format cakes

Multi-layer cakes are a thing of the past. Okay, not entirely. But large-format sheet cakes are becoming more and more popular. Just because there aren’t many of them doesn’t mean they can’t impress. In fact, many are richly covered in Lambeth piping or extend to impressive lengths (just look at this example which measures four and a half feet).

“These kinds of cakes are becoming a trend because couples want a real ‘wow’ effect. Instead of a wedding cake measuring five feet tall, they’re going in the opposite direction and asking for five feet in length or diameter, which which allows couples to play not only with its appearance, but also with its flavors,” says Cox.

Brunch Cakes

Who says cakes have to be made with buttercream and layers of sponge cake? Not today’s modern brides. A cake is what you make it, and brunch cakes, whimsical takes on the format using breakfast or brunch foods, are the kind of fun version we’re here for.

“Designed for the relaxed couple who want to enjoy the day and leave formalities behind, these can be ideal. Whether it’s a layer cake made with cinnamon rolls or pancakes, it leaves room for whimsy and flavor rather than formality. Couples focus on the food they want to eat and build their entire wedding day schedule around that,” says Cox.

<p>Antonis Achilleos;  Props styling: Christine Keely;  Food styling: Tina Bell Stamos</p>
<p>” src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTYzOQ–/ fe5f8cf3937a6″/><noscript><img alt=Antonis Achilleos; Props styling: Christine Keely; Food styling: Tina Bell Stamos

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Antonis Achilleos; Props styling: Christine Keely; Food styling: Tina Bell Stamos

Get the recipe

Meringue layer cakes

Stacked meringue layers are one of our favorite ways to mix up desserts. Our Snowy Christmas Pavlova is just one example of how crispy layers of baked meringue can be sandwiched with toppings (from curd to fresh fruit to custard and more) and stacked in an elegant design.

“Light, airy and soft-looking, they pair easily with the minimalist bridal aesthetic. Encouraging another alternative to cake, whilst remaining true to the traditional white dessert, it strikes a good balance between classic and risk-taking,” says Cox.

Cox also noted how the meringue is naturally gluten-free, making it a little easier to accommodate guests with dietary restrictions.

Hector Sanchez; Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas


Sarah Jessica Parker brought back the hair bow and now this fashion trend has trickled down to cake design. Look how gorgeous the rhubarb bows look on this cake.

“When it comes to design, the food world parallels the fashion world, and we also follow the bow trend. I’ve seen cakes covered in bows made from buttercream, candied orange peel, or even real ribbons tied to the sides of a cake. This feminine touch makes it a beautiful decoration for any occasion,” says Cox.

Passion fruit

If there’s one trendy flavor that sets Cox apart, it’s passion fruit. This is something that David Tamarkin, editorial director of King Arthur Baking Company, also mentioned when we asked him about upcoming baking trends in 2024.

Cox has even incorporated tropical fruits into her desserts at RT Lodge. “We currently have a passion fruit meringue tart on the menu, which is an updated version of lemon meringue,” says Cox.

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