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The Evolution of Cake Decorating Over the Years

Apr 4, 2008
Most people are simply not aware of the long and interesting history of cake decorating around the world. Cake decorating has a long and fascinating history as an edible art. Here is a brief overview of the evolution of cake decorating over the years. It is interesting to note how cake decorating, like most other things, is simply a reflection of the society and life of the people who developed it.

The Very Beginnings of Cake Decorating

Cake decorating has some very interesting roots. Cake decorating is actually one of the newer edible arts, especially when it is compared to other culinary arts. Cake decorating appears to have gotten its start back in the mid-17th century. It is probably no coincidence at all that this is the same time that cake pans first made their appearance in domestic kitchens across Northern Europe. At the beginning in the mid-17th century, cake decorating began to gain much popularity as a means to create elaborate desserts. These elaborate cake desserts were often used as displays during feasts and banquets. In most case, only the wealthiest aristocracy could afford to put on such confectionary displays. However, in most cases these were mainly used as decorative display pieces, and they were not eaten.

The 19th Century Brings Cake Decorating to the Masses

The history of cake decorating truly picked up steam at the start of the mid-19th century. During this period in history, the French began to serve the dessert as a separate sweet course and it began to be served at the very end of a complete meal. It was during this time that desserts, mostly in the form of confectionary treats and cakes, began to make their appearance on dessert and banquet tables across many parts of Europe.

The Advent of Temperature-Controlled Ovens Make Cake Decorating Possible

During the period of the 1840s, a new development in kitchen technology made cakes more popular and prominent than ever before. The temperature controlled oven emerged as an important piece of kitchen technology. This development made baking much more easy and convenient. It was during this period that cake baking became much more popular with those who had access to a temperature controlled oven.

The First Instances of Cake Decorating

During this early period in the history of widespread cake decorating, most cake decorating still consisted mainly of the old difficult English method. This method generally consisted of decorating with over piping. Cakes were most likely covered in rolled fondant. The borders would usually be very intricately over piped on the cake. There was another important development during this same period, and it had to do with the introduction of baking powder and baking soda. These, of course, are very important ingredients that revolutionized cooking and baking. These ingredients made it much easier to get the kind of dough consistency necessary in order to do widespread baking.

The 20th Century Brings the Wilton Method to Kitchens Everywhere

Around the year 1929, a new method began to be developed that would transform the way baking and cake decoration was accomplished. An American business known as Wilton Enterprises began to put on their own cake decorating classes. These classes were often advertised to chefs, caterers and other enterprising gourmands with a serious interest in cake decorating and baking. The Wilton's, in 1947, began to promote their own line of cake decorating products and baking utensils. These made a big splash and had a big influence on how thousands of people began to decorate their cakes and approach their own personal baking. Eventually, the Wilton Method became the most accepted method for approaching cake decoration. However, in the 1980s, the company merged with another company. Today, there is no one accepted way bake and decorate a cake.
About the Author
Josephine Gauttier is the author of the popular eBook "The Art of Cake Decorating". You can find more information about cake decorating at http://www.artofcakedecorating.com
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