by Larissa Gutscher

If you’re running your own bakery, chances are you’ve already come up with big visions for the kinds of products you want to sell. You’ve probably also collected a good base of repeat customers who know they can trust you for great quality every time. But if you want to expand your selection or serve up something a bit different from your family recipe, what else can you try without hurting your brand? We’ve collected a few ideas for creative cakes that might inspire you to try something new in your own bakery.

Make a cake version of another dessert

Okay, so maybe you already serve pastries alongside your slices of pie – but have you ever tried adapting classic desserts into cake form? Imagine one giant cinnamon bun coming out of the oven and being served with a sugary glaze, or a 30 cm-wide cookie cut into slices to be shared among a group like a pizza. You can still use your tried and true recipes, but present them in a way that is memorable to customers.

Inspiration: White Chocolate Panna Cotta Tart; Semmelkladdkaka

Creative Cake Ideas

When you’re tired of the same old semlor, try a semmelkladdkaka. Photo credit: Kungsörnen

Use vegetables

It’s not unheard of to use vegetables to create moist cakes that are not overpoweringly sweet. While zucchini or sweet potatoes can be snuck into recipes to give diners an extra serving of veggies, don’t be afraid to make vegetables like carrots or beets the star of your cake.

Inspiration: Rhubarb Almond Cake; Spiced Parsnip Cake

Use seasonal foods to create a limited edition cake

Now that you’ve gotten excited about vegetables, there are even more opportunities for what you can do with produce in your baking. By using fruits and vegetables that are in season or that are grown locally, you’re not only helping the environment, you’re also creating a bit of an exclusive offer that will encourage your guests to buy more when they can. If you only serve your delicious pumpkin cheesecake for a few weeks in autumn, diners will be rushing to get their hands on a piece before it’s gone.

Inspiration: Cloudberry Baked Cheesecake; Buttermilk Cake with Blood Orange Frosting

Add alcohol

Another way to spike, er, spice, up your recipes is by adding a bit of booze to your concoctions. Sweet or creamy alcohols like coffee liqueur or brandy are natural complements to dessert, but you can also get creative with something a little edgier, like vodka, rum, or even beer.

Inspiration: Liquor Soaked Apple Walnut Ginger Cake; Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Whiskey Ganache and Irish Cream Frosting

Creative Cake Ideas

These cupcakes may look innocent, but they’re made with three different types of alcohol! Photo credit: POPSUGAR

Make a cake version of a chocolate bar

We all have our favourite sweet treat that tempts us every time we stand we in line for groceries, but those plastic-wrapped delights are filled with unnecessary chemicals that can make us feel extra guilty for giving in to our cravings. By offering your own version of popular chocolate bars, baked fresh with high quality ingredients, you can give your customers the opportunity to indulge in their favourites with much less regret.

Inspiration: Toffifee kage; Snickerskage

Use substitutes for conventional ingredients

Old family recipes that have been passed down for generations generally contain the same basic ingredients, like white flour, butter, and white sugar. But as food trends have boomed in the past few decades, alternatives to these classics have been popping up everywhere. Nuts and legumes have more health benefits than the grains that are used to make plain flour, so try experimenting with almond flour or coconut flour instead. Instead of butter, protein-packed Greek yogurt makes for a juicy cake. And there are myriad ways to sweeten any dessert nowadays, including agave, honey, dates, and maple syrup. By switching up some of your ingredients, you’ll be able to cater to the vegan, gluten-free, and paleo crowds as well.

Inspiration: Raw Pistachio, Coconut & Lime Cheesecake; Gluten-Free Almond Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting

Go all out with decorations

A cake should most importantly taste good, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t look nice as well. In an age where diners often pull out their phones before taking a bite to show the world the wonderful creation they’re about to eat, putting a bit of extra time and effort into cake decoration is some of the cheapest advertising you can give your bakery. Decorating has no limits: whether you use fondant, icing, fruit, sauce, marzipan, or even inedible props, you can create something that truly wows your customers and jazzes up your display case.

Inspiration: Persimmon Almond Rosette Tarts; Kage med blåbærmousse og kiksebund

Bake a surprise inside

If you’re not a fan of flashy decorating on the outside, why not make your cake look nice on the inside? With a few cookie cutters and some food colouring or bold ingredients, you can create your own work of art on every slice.

Inspiration: Fødselsdagkage

Creative Cake Ideas

Cakes can look good inside and out. Photo credit: Jakob Ljørring via Ude og Hjemme

Hopefully these suggestions have inspired a new wonderful creation in your bakery. If you’re ever stuck in a creative rut, Pinterest is a great outlet to get ideas flowing. You can also join online baking communities such as CraftyBaking to see what else is being served around the world.

If you plan on trying any of these ideas, be sure to leave us a comment or let us know on Facebook. A Shopbox representative would certainly love to try a slice!

Check out: The Best Places to Eat in Copenhagen and 7 Creative Ideas to Make Your Restaurant Stand Out