The Art of Cake Decorating
Cake decorating is referred to as one of the sugar arts in the world of baking. Many aspects of baking, icing and creativity are involved with decorating and its competitive business. In addition to being beautiful works of art, decorating has been used to capture memories and be an inspiration. One may ask, what does it really take to be a great cake decorator and most importantly where did it all start? Decorating skills and techniques have developed greatly since three-tiered wedding and candled birthday cakes. The process has evolved to this day presenting beautiful towers of deliciousness. These unique creations also take us on an interesting trip through decorating history.
As most know, cake is a term with an elaborate history and a subject with many aspects. Cake denotes a baked flour connection sweetened with sugar, honey, eggs and milk. It has a distinct texture created by mixture rising during the cooking process. Cakes found in “Swiss Lake Villages” were made from roughly crushed grains, moistened, compacted, and cooked on hot stone. Obviously cake techniques have progressed since then. As time passed, over many centuries by trial and error, baking techniques began to improve due to influence from other countries and cultures (Davidson, 122-123). Based on the cakes success, a creative way to put imagination to good use came to the surface.
Cake may trace back for centuries but decorating made its debut during the mid – 17th century in Europe and North America where European influence has been the stronghold of cakes. Decorating made its first appearance in domestic kitchens across Northeast Europe. Popularity spread as a way to create elaborate desserts for displays during the feasts and banquets of the wealthiest Aristocracy but mainly just for display only. The mid – 19th century ultimately brings decorating to the forefront (MomMag 1). The French started serving dessert as a completely separate course than the main dish adding art and beautiful designs to the original meal. As decorating popularity began to increase, companies started getting down to business. Soon after decorating was recognized, the Wilton method arrives in 1929. Wilton Enterprises made their debut and began to advertise decorating classes to the public, anyone with any interest in baking cooking or decorating. Chefs, caterers and other gourmands took advantage of these classes and began obtaining this new skill of the future. Classes were a great success and allowed creativity and talent to run its course. Decorating was difficult at first, cakes were generally covered in rolled fondant and borders were intricately piped (MomMag, p1-2). Things became easier especially because in 1947 Wilton Enterprises began to develop and promote their own line of baking and decorating products along with many other things coming to the decorating community. In 1983 Wilton Company merges with the Cop co Kitchenware Company and became even more successful with their new partners. When they merged with Rowoco, the name was changed to Wilton Industries. Wilton Industries was a hit and ‘Wilton’ is a well known cake decorating method to this day. It is one of the most popular methods because it uses butter cream icing instead of royal icing and it seems to be more appetizing (MomMag,1-2). Styles and methods of icing were quickly becoming established. Whatever method is used depends on what kind of look a decorator is going for; they all differ in good ways. As artists began to experiment, Josh Lambeth published his own books and are still classics. He is famous for his real step by step instructions, in depth drawings and beautiful photos which made things much easier for the average decorator (MomMag, p1-2). Another method was also introduced; The Australian method is similar to the Lambeth method because they both involve the use of over piping on fondant covered cakes (Boswell). Things began to advance...
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