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Is Cake Decoration an Art? Exploring this Confectionary Tradition

Jul 3, 2008
If you have never decorated a cake before, maybe you have never thought of it as an art. But as any professional pastry chef will tell you, wedding cake decoration has a lot of things in common with the arts, including sculpture and design. If you are like many people, you probably think of cake decorating as something for your grandmother to do. But cake decorating is a well respected sugar art. Wedding cake decoration is highly admired as a culinary art. Here is some information on everything you need to know about how this art got its start.

The Edible Art of Cake Decorating

How did cake decorating get its start? Who thought of decorating cakes for beauty? Most cakes are decorated in order to increase the aesthetic appeal of the cake and to provide a decorative flourish, but cakes are also decorated in order to complement or improve the taste and texture of the dessert. In most cases, cakes are decorated in order to improve the visual appeal of the cake. Many master decorators have elevated cake decorating to a high edible art. Cake decorating can do a lot to improve the appeal and impression of any dessert that needs to be special for a special occasion.

Cake Decorating - A Very Short History

The history of cake decorating can be traced back to the mid-17th century in Northern Europe. It was during this time that cake decorating began to establish itself as a common practice, and it was especially used in the northwestern provinces of Europe. Cake decorating spread quickly in popularity throughout the continent. At once it was only associated with the most luxuriant of aristocratic banquets. These days, cake decorating has become a popular edible art throughout many parts of the world. Cake decorating is a common practice throughout North America, South America, Australia and New Zealand. Many of the world's most respected cake decorators and cooking institutes continue to thrive in the culinary capitals of Europe.

Different Cake Decorating Styles

There are many different schools of thought and methods used in cake decorating, the so-called sugar arts. However, most cake decorating styles tend to use many of the same basic techniques. These basic methods are commonly shared by all cake decorators and run the gamut of cake decorating styles. All cake decorating, regardless of style, involves icing or other kinds of decorative sugars. Many cake decorators use candies, including chocolates and confections in order to decorate. Cake decorating can be as simple as icing a cake with butter cream. Cake decorating can involve simply sprinkling a cake with iced sugar or decorative sprinkles. Or cake decorating can simply mean adding a glossy sweet glaze to your cake. All of methods are basic examples of what you can do with cake decorating.

Popular Methods in Cake Decorating

Although cake decorating is a versatile art that rewards risks and creativity, there are certain methods that almost all cake decorators abide by. Here are the most common types of cake decorating methods and a brief overview of the basic techniques the different methods tend to employ.

The Wilton Method

This cake decorating style mainly uses butter cream. It was developed in the United States during the mid-twentieth century. The Wilton Method quickly became one of the most popular types of cake decorating techniques because it allows beginners to move through different levels of expertise and design.

The Lambeth Method

This traditional cake decorating method uses an over piping technique. It is known as a complicated technique that uses royal icing piping on cakes covered in fondant.

The Australian Method

Another common cake decorating technique, it is known as the Australian Method. It also uses royal icing piping on an intricate curtain and lacework.
About the Author
Josephine Gauttier is the author of the popular eBook "The Art of Cake Decorating". You can learn more about cake decorating at http://www.artofcakedecorating.com
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