Tart Bakery cake balls with gold frosting and flower detail
Tart Bakery in Dallas offers a variety of cake balls and other miniature desserts.

KANSAS CITY – While the expression, “My eyes were bigger than my stomach,” is all too common when it comes to desserts, the trend toward downsizing to bite-size treats is gaining steam. Petits fours and other single-portioned desserts complement the “everything in moderation” approach to indulgence that many consumers are adopting because, after all, a little indulgence is better than none at all.

Carly Fields, Tart Bakery
Carly Fields, pastry chef and manager of Tart Bakery 

“Having bite-sized desserts allows for more choices and variety,” said Carly Fields, pastry chef and manager of Tart Bakery in Dallas, Texas. “I believe most people do not want to commit to one dessert, and the bite-sized desserts allow them to have fun and try more things. At events, they are a more social way of ending your meal as they are easy to carry around and you do not feel glued to your seat eating a piece of cake. You can mingle with a petit four in one hand and a glass of champagne in the other.”

This same mindset is reflected in recent statistics. Miniature desserts showed up on about 12% of all restaurant menus last year, which is nearly double the amount in 2005, according to Datassential Menu Trends. Additionally, bite-sized and mini desserts ranked second on Statista’s list of the 10 leading trends in desserts on restaurant menus, forecasted by professional chefs for 2015.

Petits fours

Generally speaking, petits fours are bite-size pieces of cake delicately covered in fondant with either a fondant or buttercream decoration.

Ka'Rita Pickens, Kraze Kreations
Ka’Rita Pickens, owner of Kraze Kreations

“Petits fours can be described as dainty, timeless, bite-sized pieces of heaven,” said Ka’Rita Pickens, owner of Kraze Kreations in Bessemer, Ala.

Petits fours often require more skill than other bakery items, but they’re the perfect size on which to display monograms, images, or other requests for customers’ special events. Another bonus of petits fours is that the flavor possibilities are endless.

“For us, our White Velvet and Rockin’ Red Velvet are the most popular,” Ms. Pickens said.

Petits fours decorated for a baby shower
Miniature desserts are a great option for events like baby showers.

Traditional flavor staples tend to be popular as well.

“We offer petits fours in three different flavors: vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry,” Ms. Fields said. “In addition to these, we always offer custom options such as colors and decorations to accommodate your party theme and celebration.”

Other bite-size options

While cookies, brownies, and cupcakes still appear to be among the most popular mini desserts, other miniature pastries in addition to petits fours have shown strong growth. Tiny cakes are always on the menu at Kraze Kreations.

“In our shop, we also carry a variety of mini cupcakes and tea cakes to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth,” Ms. Pickens said.

Rows of colorful French macarons, Tart Bakery
French macarons are a popular bite-size dessert at Tart Bakery.

At Tart Bakery, other popular bite-size desserts include French macarons, cake balls, and a broad assortment of tartlets and mini pies, including cherry lattice, chocolate caramel, and key lime, Ms. Fields said.

In addition to those options, other bite-size treats proving popular on menus include cannolis, tassies, whoopee pies, mini éclairs, chocolate-covered fruit, gourmet marshmallows, s’mores, rice krispy treats, ice cream balls and mini donuts.

Design ideas

The design possibilities for bite-sized desserts are as diverse as the desserts themselves and the flavors in which they can be made.

“We have standard designs we do for our bite-size treats, which are created to fit into any celebration,” Ms. Fields said. “For example, our vanilla petit fours have an elegant white rosette and edible pearls, while our red velvet cake balls are drizzled with the same pop of red that you will find inside. We also offer endless possibilities for customizing designs on most of our treats.”

Kraze Kreations encourages pastry personalization, Ms. Pickens said.

“We customize all desserts from simple flowers to fondant bows and add edible luster and disco dust to make sure our desserts are the next Kraze,” she said.