Cakes are a staple of British culture and cuisine, whether it’s for a birthday, a tea party or a treat. But what kinds of cakes are Brits baking and eating in 2023?

Exploring cake trends through recipe searches 2022 - 2023

In this article, we delve into the search volumes spanning from May 2022 to May 2023 to determine which cakes are sticking around and which ones have been left behind.

Our primary focus centres on two firm favourites: sponge cakes and cartoon cakes. We’ll discover how these different types of cakes fare in terms of search engine popularity and what they reveal about the preferences and tastes of British cake lovers.

Sponge cake recipe trends

Sponge cakes are one of the most common and versatile types of cakes in Britain. Easy and quick to bake, they’re ideal for beginners or busy bakers – and, of course, taste delicious!

Let’s explore how the search volumes for different sponge cake recipes have changed between May 2022 and May 2023.

Sponge cake recipes image
Sponge cake recipe data image

Sponge cake recipes headlines

  • Victoria sponges, chocolate cakes and cupcakes remain trusty staples for British bakers
  • Are rainbow cake and red velvet cake proving too time-heavy for busy bakers?
  • Is carrot cake’s high fat and sugar content starting to leave a bad taste?
  • Banana cake and apple cake are on the rise – is the cost of living seeing us breathe fresh life into old fruit?
  • It’s all about convenience as mug cakes and fairy cakes make a comeback

Sponge cake recipes insight

The search volumes for most cake recipes remain the same across both years, suggesting enduring popularity for classics such as Victoria sponges, chocolate cake and cupcakes among baking enthusiasts and cake lovers alike.

Nevertheless, amidst the familiar favourites, there are intriguing exceptions that reveal noteworthy shifts in search interest.

The biggest difference in search volume is for the term rainbow cake recipe, which experienced a 33% decrease from 3.6k to 2.4k. This suggests that rainbow cakes, popularised by social media and online influencers, may be losing their novelty appeal among consumers, with data from Google Trends demonstrating a slight drop in interest from May last year to the same time this year.

Rainbow Cake Google Trends image

Higher food costs could potentially be linked to the decline in search activity for more opulent cakes like rainbow and red velvet cake, as well as other sponge cake recipes that have experienced a decrease in popularity. The cost of eggs, for instance, has more than doubled since Q1 2022 while the cost of sugar and self-raising flour have gone up 33% and 11% respectively.

That being said, not all cake recipe search volume has dropped or remained static. The term banana cake recipe has seen a 23% increase in search volume from 18.1k to 22.2k. While bananas have also seen a price rise, they are a versatile and widely available fruit that can be used to make various types of cakes, such as banana bread, banana muffins or banana pudding. They can also be used as a substitute for eggs or butter in vegan or gluten-free cakes, which could appeal to people with dietary restrictions or preferences.

Apple cake recipes have also seen a rise in popularity this year with search volume experiencing a 20% uplift. This may be due to the cost of apples remaining relatively stable over the past 12 months. Another factor could be the prolonged shelf life of apples, which can be stored for several months post-harvest, ensuring a steady supply to meet demand once spring arrives.

The uptick in search volume for fairy cake and mug cake recipes since May 2022 may be attributed to their convenience and quick gratification potential. These bite-sized delights serve as the perfect quick sugar fixes, while their simplicity and speed in preparation make them the go-to choices for many, particularly children or people with busy lifestyles.

Cartoon cakes trends

Cartoon-themed cakes undeniably add a special touch to children's birthday celebrations. Many supermarkets now stock a variety of ready-made cakes featuring beloved cartoon or video game characters.

Cartoon cakes are not only delicious, but also provide kids with a birthday cake tailored to their favourite shows or games. Moreover, the term cartoon cake has seen some significant spikes in interest over the past 12 months.

Catoon cake Google Trends image

Let's delve deeper into how the popularity of different cartoon cake styles has changed between May 2022 and May 2023.

Cartoon Cakes image
Cartoon cake data image

Cartoon cake headlines

  • Gruffalo, Peppa Pig, Mickey Mouse and Princess cakes are keeping kids’ interest peaked with no change in popularity.
  • Paw Patrol and Minecraft are still proving popular despite both seeing a 45% decline in interest.
  • Toy Story cakes have seen the greatest rise in interest, with a 53% increase in search volume this year.
  • Minecraft remains the most popular cartoon-themed cake.
  • Gruffalo cakes remain the least popular cake of the 16 cakes analysed.

Cartoon cake insights

The biggest difference is seen in the Minecraft cake theme, which has a 45% decrease in search volume from 18.1k to 9.9k. This suggests that the Minecraft game, which was released in 2009 and saw search volume of 27.1k in May 2021, is declining in popularity, despite remaining the cake with the highest search volume on our list. But data elsewhere suggests its popularity is on the rise, with 7 million more monthly players than the same period last year.

One theory could be that the game itself has become more diverse and creative, allowing players to customise their own worlds and characters. This may make it harder to find a standard or universal cake design or theme that suits all Minecraft fans.

Another theory is that due to the game being around for more than a decade, many of its fans are growing up and may no longer be as interested in having children’s themed cakes for their birthdays or celebrations.

Or perhaps, as suggested with some other cakes in this article, the drop could be attributed to rising food costs. Unlike princess cakes and Mickey Mouse cakes, Minecraft cakes don’t seem readily available at supermarkets and fewer people may not be able to justify the cost of getting one specially made.

There has also been a notable 45% decline in Paw Patrol cakes, dipping from 14.8k to 8.1k. This trend might be attributed to the show nearing its tenth year, possibly surpassing its prime popularity phase. However, with a Paw Patrol movie scheduled for release later this year, it will be interesting to see if there is a resurgence in interest in the wake of the film’s release.

Although Toy Story cake has low search volume compared to many of the other cakes analysed, it has nevertheless seen the biggest increase in search volume, from 1.9k to 2.9k. This uptick might be fuelled by the recent announcement of a new Toy Story film in the pipeline, thereby rekindling the buzz and fascination surrounding the franchise.

Final thoughts

If this article has demonstrated anything, it’s that us Brits are a nation of cake lovers. Traditional Victoria sponges, chocolate and cupcakes remain unshakable favourites, while more novel and visually striking cakes like rainbow cake appear to be losing their lustre. However, with the affordability of baking ingredients potentially influencing these trends, it will be intriguing to see how this evolves in the future.

With regards to cartoon cakes, the change in popularity is indicative of shifts in children's interests, with classic characters like Mickey Mouse holding their ground and newer franchises like Minecraft, while still very popular, showing signs of decline. Yet, with new media releases on the horizon, the popularity of these themes may yet see a resurgence.

One year on from May 2022, we can see that the UK’s passion for cakes is still strong, even if some preferences have changed. We hope this article inspires you to experiment with some new cake recipes or styles or treat yourself to a classic favourite. With so many wonderful options out there, it just goes to show, you CAN have your cake and eat it too.

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Anna Heathcote

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Based way up on the Northumbrian coast, Anna uses her creative copywriting expertise and SEO experience to ensure clients have fresh, relevant and optimised content on their ...