First there was Masterchef then came the Great British Bake Off. Last year the cupcake was king, now it’s the turn of the macaron. In the last few years, it seems that not only has baking experienced a renaissance, it has also become a competitive sport. By Kiesha Meikle

Can you remember a time when it was ok to serve a cake that looked homemade? A time before the Instagrammers, Pinterest pariahs and Facebook fiends made everything so darn competitive? I do, but that was a long time ago. Now, the trend for ‘cake art’ has taken home baking to the next level and god forbid you don’t keep up.

Check out our update on baking trends for the coming year…

Baking Trends for 2014

For 2014, the challenge for the humble home baker will be to create breathtakingly beautiful cakes – but not as we all know them. From cake pops to retro bakes with a twist, cake designs will be breaking down boundaries and challenging us to not only create the delicious, but also the most aesthetically pleasing, innovative designs. (Yes, I am still talking about cakes)

Whether you are a keen home baker or just want an easy option, pastry is always guaranteed to impress. Puff pastry is the pastry of choice for 2014, but it’s not suitable for people with little time on their hands. Making puff pastry is time consuming, as it requires being rolled out with cold butter and refrigerated several times. If you do have the time, try making it with chocolate or even a variety of herbs and spices to try something new.

Another type of pastry that’s regaining in popularity is choux. Choux pastry can be made into delicate little buns that look cute and taste great, but they can be fiddly. Again they’re not the best things for amateur bakers, or people with minimal patience.

Experimentation is key (the more daring, the better!)

If you’d prefer a cake, make it big. Try experimenting with flavours; teas such as green tea or earl grey work surprisingly well in cakes, frosting or icing. If you like the classics, again experiment with them. Regional dishes like the Bakewell Tart can be given a modern twist by adding fun ingredients and flavours.

Another classic flavour, Buttercream is also back in a big way for 2014. A simple icing, it can be incredibly moreish and decadent – although it can be hard to mould so maybe try it as a filling on your more ‘artistic’ attempts.

For non-bakers

If baking isn’t your thing, 2014 will see a focus on healthy cooking and eating. Allergy-free foods, Asian flavours, Middle Eastern flavours and alternative cooking methods (like poaching and steaming) will see us preparing food with more thought. Stay posted for our upcoming post on ‘Cooking Trends for 2014’.