Predictions and New Years go together like cupcakes and sprinkles, especially when it comes to the topic of desserts.
2017 was a year of colorful decadence and over-the-top sweets like cake-topped milkshakes and funfetti cream-filled croissants. But in 2018 we’ll say goodbye to cereal atop everything, with a shift towards wellness, plant-based goodies, and whole grains (yes, even in our desserts!).
Below are the biggest trends I think you’ll want to watch out for in the year ahead.
1. Desserts for Every Diet
If 2017 was a year of excess, 2018 will be equally focused on mindful eating and wellness. We’ll see this in the confections we consume as well. As demand for plant-based food options has reached record highs, 2018 will bring a bigger emphasis on plant-based, dairy-free, and vegan sweets. You can already see this with the popularity of the vegan/dairy-free selections at LA’s beloved soft-serve institution Magpies Softserve, but you’ll soon start to see such options on menus citywide. We’re even predicting more stand-alone spots devoted to alternative-diet sweets. One place to look out for is the upcoming bakery from whole-foods baking company Sweet Laurel, focusing on paleo, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free baked goods.
2. Heirloom Grains
Even with the gluten-free craze in full effect, it’s clear people are still enjoying bread and baked goods, and heirloom grains are making a big comeback this year. In 2017 we embraced heritage grains in the form of artisan breads from local millers like Grist & Toll and farmers like Alex Weiser of Weiser Family Farms, but in 2018 we’ll see these grains go beyond bread to make their presence felt in pastry cases across L.A. Roxana Jullapat at Friends & Family offers great examples of this, with heirloom grain in housemade viennoiseries and baked goods like sonora wheat croissants, einkorn shortbreads, and spelt blueberry muffins.
3. Middle Eastern Desserts
2017 was a big year for Filipino food and for ube in particular — just take a look at the trending treats from Silver Lake bakery FrankieLucy Bakeshop for reference. While we think Filipino food will continue to make a splash in 2018, we’re predicting that Middle Eastern flavors and spices will be a dominant force in desserts. Middle Eastern cuisine had a strong presence in Los Angeles in mid-to-late 2017 with Kismet and Mh Zh hitting the scene. We expect continued growth and excitement about Middle Eastern food to make a big impact on desserts — think flavors like cardamom, pomegranate and pistachio. One great place you can expect to see this is Bavel, the new restaurant from chef Ori Menashe and pastry chef Genevieve Gergis (of Bestia fame) opening in early 2018.