Confections of Perfection

20160526_Confections_of_Perfection_Header

From cupcakes to macarons, cookies to cake,
fresh-baked treats are making the leap from the oven to
your Instagram feed. To find out just what’s cooking in
every state, we analyzed geotagged Instagram posts
about baking across the country.

Which flavor takes the cake in every area? Which
treats do people post about most frequently? Who makes
the most references to weddings and birthdays? And what
types of unique flavors are dominating your feed
(hello, pumpkin cupcakes!)? Preheat the oven, grab the
chocolate chips, and keep reading to get the scoop.

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Favorite Flavors Across the U.S.

What’s your favorite flavor? Analyzing geotagged
Instagram baking posts based on flavor mentions cooks
up some surprising results: A whopping 44 states
mention chocolate most. Who breaks the mold? Rhode
Island and Kansas love coffee, and Arkansas adores
cinnamon. New Mexico prefers raspberry, West Virginia
favors strawberry, and Mississippi goes nuts for peanut
butter. Who loves vanilla? Nobody. Sorry, vanilla – but
that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

Every State’s Favorite Treat

There’s no sugarcoating the truth: Americans have a favorite baked good. Cookies got the most Instagram action in 37 states from coast to coast. South Dakota and Kentucky are all about cupcakes. Cake comes first in 12 states, including Hawaii and Nevada, along with several spots in the South and Northeast. One state couldn’t even pick a favorite: In Maine, cake and cookie posts tie for first place. Cupcakes topped the list in only two states.

Cake for Special Occasions

When you think of weddings and birthdays, what comes
to mind? Cake, of course! We analyzed Instagram posts
to see which states talk most about each of these
cake-centric celebrations. High-population states
dominate the top 3 for both: California, New York, and
Florida. Other states with a love for both birthday and
wedding cakes include New Jersey, Texas, Illinois, and
Georgia.

Southerners love weddings – especially Insta users
in Virginia, North Carolina, and the above-mentioned
Georgia and Texas. Among the Midwest, Ohio and Illinois
Instagrammers post most about saying “I do.” And aside
from the states already mentioned, blowing out the
candles is a favorite subject on social for people from
Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Washington.

Flavors and Baked Goods

Finally, we mapped Instagram posts based on frequent
mentions of specific baked goods and flavors. When it
comes to cake, most Americans are purists: Chocolate
dominates in 46 states.

But not everyone has cookie-cutter tastes: South
Dakota loves vanilla, Delaware digs strawberry, Florida
enjoys coffee, and Arkansas goes bananas for
banana.

Cupcake lovers get creative with flavors – chocolate
dominates (31 states love it!), while six states love
vanilla, and four prefer caramel. Fruit and veggie
cupcakes abound: Utah and Mississippi adore apple,
Vermont and Pennsylvania enjoy strawberry, South
Carolina likes carrot, and Wisconsin prefers pumpkin.
Indiana and Arkansas spice things up with cinnamon,
Mississippi and California opt for red velvet, and
Wyoming and South Dakota see the perks of coffee.

Macarons – light, meringue-based sandwich cookies –
come in plenty of flavors. Chocolate dominates in 25
states, eight adore vanilla, and a few more like coffee
and caramel. Fruit is popular, with a handful of states
preferring lemon, raspberry, strawberry, and coconut,
and a couple posting about apple and pumpkin. In Kansas
“fruit” macaroons take the top spot. Which states stand
out? New Mexico has a penchant for tiramisu, Delaware
loves pistachio, Wyoming loves red velvet, and Maine
prefers peanut butter.

When it comes to cheesecake flavors, most states
prefer tried-and-true favorites: 19 choose chocolate,
15 enjoy strawberry, and 10 like caramel. Various
fruits make the cut – pumpkin, raspberry, lemon,
banana, cherry, apple, and even peach. The decadent
treat also comes in unusual flavors: peanut butter,
coffee, and cinnamon. Which state really takes the cake
for unique taste? In Maine, three unusual cheesecake
flavors tie for most mentions: pumpkin, carrot, and
apple.

Filters for Baking Fails

For some people, whipping up an incredible work of
baking art is as easy as pie. For others, it’s not so
simple. Baking fails happen – the burned macarons, the
cake that fell through the oven rack – but you can’t
let reality get in the way of a good Instagram post.
Filters can spell the difference between a good Insta
pic and a great one. The 10 filters above are the ones
people use most frequently to mask a baking
disaster.

Top filter
Hefe
adds a touch of drama, ever-popular Clarendon

brightens and intensifies
colors, and

Valencia
boosts colors and warms up images. With a
couple of clicks, you can apply these filters to take a
baking fail from “ew” to “ooooh!” So what if that
gorgeous rainbow cake is actually just a colorful mess?
Your fails are funny, original, and extremely relatable
– and they may taste better than they look.

The Icing on the Cake

Baked goods are heating up Instagram – and as our
fresh-from-the-oven information shows, Instagrammers
from various parts of the country have unique tastes
when it comes to baked goods. Sure, cookies dominate
the baked-good categories, and chocolate cleans up when
it comes to favorite flavor. But there’s so much more
to the story – from carrot cheesecake to coffee
macarons. Want to master the world of Instagram baking
posts? You don’t have to be a food stylist to share
double tap–worthy shots. With these simple tips, you
can have your cake – and Instagram it too.

  • Focus on natural light. For a
    flattering image, you could place your plate near
    the window or set up the shot on the porch.
  • Get creative. Capture a
    cupcake from an unusual angle, try a unique crop on
    those cookies, or compile a series of pics (from
    batter to baked good) to produce a mouthwatering
    collage.
  • Use props. A texture-rich
    placemat, a colorful cloth napkin, or a gleaming
    spoon adds visual interest.
  • Take a bite. It sounds silly,
    but a cookie with a missing bite or a forkful of
    cake make your Insta followers feel like they’re
    there.
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Methodology

We scraped Instagram for #baking, #cookies, #bake,
#cake, and #sweets to come up with 446,121 Instagram
posts to analyze for flavor mentions and baked good
mentions. To find out the top flavor for each baked
good, we searched for mentions of flavors and baked
goods combined within the Instagram captions.

Sources

Fair Use

Feel free to share the images found on this page
freely. When doing so, please attribute the authors by
providing a link back to this page, so your readers can
learn more about this project and the related
research.

Last update on 2021-03-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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