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 Cake 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 Sweet 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. The 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.
The weekend is coming and that means cookies at the Abbotsford Flea Market! This weekend we’ll be selling three favourites, Reese’s Stuffed Peanut Butter, Nutella Stuffed Sugar Cookies and Smores. We’ve got two new ones to tempt you as well. Chocolate Mint Volcanoes and Apple Crisp Shortbread. Stop by on Sunday and pick up your favourite. www.thatsagoodcookie.ca #thatsagoodcookie #cookie #cookies #chocolate #mint #food #snack #abbotsford #peanutbutter #apple #nutella #weekend #yummy
A photo posted by That’s A Good Cookie (@thats.a.good.cookie) on
Cakes 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 strawberries, 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 making 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.
Well… this is NOT what I was
expecting. Ok #bakers out there, I need help!
What on earth happened?? This was supposed to
be Hershey’s Black Magic cake. I followed
the recipe exactly, oven temp was right,
leavening was soda, powder and buttermilk. It
rose in the first 10 minutes of baking and fell
before the 20 minute mark. What. The. Heck?
#cakefail #cake #chocolatecake
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 makes your Insta followers feel like they’re there.
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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.
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.