In the Instagram era, an eye-catching, decadent dessert is a guaranteed way to capture a diner’s heart and score a spot on their social media channels. From Milk Bar’s rainbow-speckled birthday cake to Black Tap’s sky-high cookie- and candy-topped milkshakes in New York City, kooky and colorful desserts are on the rise.
But signature desserts don’t have to be over the top to be crowd-pleasing. Adding a signature touch to popular prepared desserts such as cake, pie, cookies, brownies or cheesecake can be a profitable strategy for enticing diners to boost their dessert spending. In fact, 55% of consumers say when they’re choosing to order a dessert, it’s important that the dessert contains a favorite ingredient, and 40% say it’s important that it’s a signature item they can’t get elsewhere, according to Technomic’s recent Dessert Consumer Trend Report.
Taking the cake
Prepared cake slices can easily do double duty as ingredients for parfaits, for instance. Try grilling banana cake slices, then cutting into small cubes and layering with trendy triple-cream yogurt and mini chocolate chips for a parfait. Or, skewer cake cubes or chunks of a bar cookie, freeze and dip into white chocolate coating, allowing time to set before serving.
Tap into the increased demand for cocktail-inspired desserts by reconstructing a classic drink. Plate slices of plain chocolate or vanilla cake with a chocolate and almond liqueur-flavored sauce for a Pink Squirrel-inspired dessert—topped with pink-tinted whipped cream and a maraschino cherry, of course. Substitute chocolate and mint liqueur-flavored sauce and finish with light green-tinted whipped cream to bring back the classic Grasshopper.
In this video, Sweet Street offers more ideas for creating taste-tempting new desserts using Blueberry Oat Pullman—a moist, buttery yogurt cake swirled with fresh Maine blueberries and topped with rolled oats.
As the cookie crumbles
Milkshakes can provide an unconventional showcase for traditional cookies such as chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin or gingersnap. Mix half of a large cookie with milk and ice cream in a blender, and top with the other cookie half and a swirl of on-trend sauce such as bourbon caramel or chocolate hazelnut.
Similarly, boost a prepared brownie’s dessert profile by turning it into a s’more. Spread marshmallow topping over a warmed brownie, sprinkle with graham cracker or cookie crumbs, and drizzle with chocolate or fudge topping. For a Baked Alaska effect, pipe meringue atop a brownie and lightly brown, then serve with a scoop of caramel ice cream.
For more cookie dessert concepts, from the ever-popular ice cream sandwich to upgraded plated desserts and boozy shakes, check out this video from Sweet Street.
Signature sauces can jazz up nearly any prepared cake or pie offering—serve sauce on the top, on the side or on the plate. Flavor whipped cream, yogurt or mascarpone cheese with chocolate, mashed fresh fruit, vanilla sugar, coffee or liquor/liqueur. Go bold with small diced apples in a caramel sauce or spice up chocolate sauce with cayenne or ground chipotle pepper.
Adding unique custom touches to prepared desserts can create new menu favorites without the hassle of starting from scratch. It’s also a great way to explore new dessert flavor trends without going too far out of diners’ comfort zones.
This post is sponsored by Sweet Street Desserts