Smaller sizes remain a big trend for cakes. Consumers like the portion size and variety that a box of snack cakes or couple of cupcakes at an in-store bakery provide.

“They’re not going to invest in a full-size sheet cake unless they’re throwing a party and having people over or bringing it to the office, so they’re looking for the smaller size, single-serve options, and that really comes down to the demographics of our nation where you have more one- and two-person households than we’ve traditionally had in the past,” said Eric Richard, industry relations coordinator for International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA). “They’re not looking to feed five or six people. Consumers are looking to feed themselves. … That’s why you’re seeing these smaller size cakes and also cupcakes.”

Cupcakes have the added value of allowing consumers to explore a larger variety of flavors.

“With the cupcake, it’s just one serving that one person has,” said Sally Lyons Wyatt, IRI executive vice president and practice leader, client insights. “You can get a chocolate for one and a salted caramel for another. There’s more ability to personalize, so I do think that that plays a role when it comes to snack cakes and cupcakes specifically versus a sheet cake.”

Pre-packaged mini cakes saw a boom of innovation this year as snack food manufacturers introduced new products and smaller versions of existing products. Little Debbie offers Strawberry Shortcake and Honey Bun Mini Muffins, HighKey introduced its Birthday Cake Mini Bites in August, and Entenmann’s expanded its line of minis in July with Minis Sprinkled Iced Brownies.

“At Entenmann’s, we’re always looking for big — and mini — ways to bring some fun to snack time,” said Catherine Danielowich, brand manager at Entenmann’s.

Other Entenmann’s minis include Danish, snack pies and cakes.

Hostess tapped into the breakfast eating occasion with its new Cinnamon Swirl and Lemon Drizzle Baby Bundts.

“Baby Bundts, one of our key innovation items in breakfast, is off to a very strong start across multiple channels,” Mr. Callahan said in August. “In fact, Baby Bundts Lemon and Baby Bundts Cinnamon were the No. 1 and No. 4 fastest-growing SKUs in the category across total Nielsen Universe over the past four weeks ending July 17.”

This article is an excerpt from the October 2021 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Cake & Snack Cakes, click here.