Summer is the perfect time to bring fresh ideas – and fresh toppings – to the limelight. Shoppers are hungry to purchase colorful sweet treats and comforting bakery products that are both nostalgic and inventive.

Milhojas pastries are a wonderful example of an authentic Hispanic dessert that is trending upward. These delicious desserts are stacked with layers of puff pastry and are topped with bountiful slices of colorful fresh fruits – presenting a true showstopper in the bakery cases.

“We are extremely proud of our milhojas pastries,” comments Gissel Miranda, whose father, Gustavo, started Miranda’s Bakery 16 years ago in Woodburn, Oregon, just north of Salem. “We started making them from the start, and now every bakery you walk into around here, they have it.”

Pastries filled with fresh fruits are prominent at Miranda’s Bakery, which is introducing traditional sweet breads in square shapes with circles of fresh strawberries, blueberries and peaches in the center.

Macarons, cake pops, muffins and even apple pie are bringing local communities together throughout the state, thanks to the imaginative efforts of local panaderías.

Maravilla’s Bakery in Salem, Oregon, features new dessert cups presented in a single-serve clear cylinder cup filled with fresh fruit pieces, swirls of chocolate, whipped cream and topped with chocolate and fruit decorations. These elegant dessert cups are featured in the beverage bar of the bakery.

At Maravilla’s Bakery, the driving force of current merchandising efforts involves accentuating the traditional favorite flavors and comfort foods, as an after effect of the pandemic.

“We are reinventing the business,” points out Alma Maravilla, who runs Maravilla’s with her husband, Juan. “The hardest part of the past two years has been to keep our customers. Fortunately, people really wanted to get out and talk to people and get something from the bakery they love.”

What the bakery is experiencing now is “let’s bring back memories,” Alma says.

“Our community is heavily Hispanic. A lot of people can’t go back to their hometown, and they come here. We bring people back that emotion of being home. For me, that emotion, that time, you can’t compare that to a trend. Those emotions speak louder. As an example, we had a customer come in with their daughter who is just turning 15. We helped her celebrate happy birthday with mariachis. Their daughter was very emotive. It was a special moment. You remember that feeling.”

At La Tapatia, based in Salem with three locations in Oregon, the bakery is busy presenting the full variety of traditional favorites of Latin American bakery foods available at their food stores, explains Brenda Alvarez, whose father, Mauricio Alvarez, started the business in 2003.

“Sweet bread is a staple of Mexican communities,” Brenda says. “Sweet breads bring people together. It really is a community builder, which ties back to family.”