Cakes Get Real
I’ve dusted off the crystal ball and I’m looking to 2015 for inspiration and trend predictions. And I have a bold prediction. We’re coming to the end of ’trendy trends’. Let me explain.Over the past five years we’ve seen cake decorating explode in Australia and across the world.
The work we’re seeing today involving armatures and structure are mind blowing and are no longer just the realm of A listers. Today everyone wants to create some sort of gravity defying cake and many are doing so with great success. But where do we go to from here? What’s the next challenge?
Over the past year we’ve seen a resurgence in buttercream and royal icing. Flowers and figurine modelling keep getting better and better. Five years ago cartoon figures with static postures and faces were all the rage. Now we’re looking for realism or movement (what I mean by movement is creases in trouser legs, billows in shirts, etc). We want the cakes to feel alive, to be animated not animation.
Many people now consider an airbrush to be an integral cake decorating tool. And an airbrush is key to achieving this look of hyper-realism. Three years ago if someone had asked you for a ’chicken cake’ you would have thought of something cartoonish and cute. Today we can still appreciate and love these cakes but it’s the more realistic cakes that take our breath away and make us stop, look and wonder; how did they do that? Thanks a lot Pinterest!
But what if hyper-realism isn’t something you like or think you want or could achieve. Well that’s ok, because like I said at the start we’re seeing the end of ’trendy trends’. Cake decorating is all about bespoke art. The only limits are your imagination and your (ever expanding) skill set. So don’t go looking for trends. If you like a medium, work with it. If you like a colour palette use it, regardless of what Pantone says this season’s colours are.
This brings us to my second ’trend’.
For years I’ve said you can judge a good cake based on these three things:
- Perfect proportions
- Perfect colour combinations
- Perfect finishes
Any combination of two of the above gives you a good cake, a great cake even.
But two out of three is no longer good enough. With so many people producing great cakes, you now need all 3 things to be considered a great cake. So instead of pushing boundaries and making cakes bigger and more complicated but flawed, look to perfecting what you already love doing. Do you want sharper edges? Perfectly symmetrical patterns? Uniform buttercream swirls? What can you practice that would elevate your work from good to great? That’s where the challenge lies.*
I’d be remiss not to mention the importance of technology for 2015.
3D food printers are hitting the shelves at lightning speed. A few weeks ago I met someone who had purchased one and hoped to have it working before Christmas. I can’t imagine what Christmas next year will look like. But I see 3d printed Gingerbread houses on my distant horizon!
There you have it, my directions for 2015. Have I convinced you to forget about trends and to follow your decorating heart? No? Ok, I predict Romantic Luxe to be a big wedding trend, marshmallows will attempt to be the new macaron (not sure if they’ll be successful), entremets and resurgence in the traditional skills and styles. Extension work, more lace and exciting flavour combinations being incorporated into mud cakes. Forget your standard recipe, it’s time to get creative if you want to stand out.
Have a wonderful holiday season. Eat lots, bake lots and enjoy the time you spend with your friends and family in and out of the kitchen.
*Just to be clear I advocate growth over perfection. What can you do to get better? What else can you learn or practice?