When is Icing, Art?

When does Cake become Edible Art?

Is there a point when Buttercream becomes an artistic medium?

YES.

Creation is intent. Simple as that.

If you have taken something, anything, and used it to express an idea, an emotion or message, you have created.

This has been on my mind for a while, so let’s break down the Art of Caking..

Cake Decorating and Cake Artistry

Is there a difference? I would say yes there is, and I don’t think it’s about skill, I think it again comes back to intent.

Say you’ve baked a cake, and when it comes to putting on the icing, you follow the instructions, or guidance you’ve been given.  You have decorated a cake.

If however, you decide to personalise your cake by adding some lollies or something that the recipient would just love, that’s where the art comes in. Creation. You have taken something, and used it in a way to express an emotion, in this case, your regard for the recipient. You are a Cake Artist.

“But I have no training, or skill, I’m not an Artist!!”.  Art has never been, and should never be, about skill over expression.  Hold onto that.

But it’s ‘just Buttercream’

I have actually had someone say this, directly to me, about my cakes.  Why not give me a nice paper cut, and pour lemon juice on it! (Princess Bride reference for the fans of awesome movies ? )

It’s not “just” Buttercream.  It’s the medium in which I choose to express myself.  It’s what I use to create art, create memories, drown sorrows, and share my life. There’s nothing “just” about that.

You may have noticed that I always capitalise Buttercream, even when when not grammatically accurate.  That’s because to me Buttercream is important, really important.

I understand that fondant has been, and will rightly so continue to be, a beautiful and flexible design medium.  Just because it covers Buttercream or ganache doesn’t make it superior.  Afterall, fondant couldn’t stay on a cake without something to help it ?

So how much should we expect to pay for Art?

Whatever the Artist is charging. Simple. If their price doesn’t match what you want to pay, don’t buy from them. Simple.

We are constantly told to barter with merchants, put the screws to them, and get the best deal.  Please, please, believe that that doesn’t apply to custom work, or Art.  The person selling washing machines (probably) didn’t build it, so they won’t take it to heart when you tell them it’s not worth the price.

So how do I become a better Artist?

Skill can be taught, emotion needs to be felt.

Look around you, really look.

Look at the flowers in your garden, or even the weeds at the bus stop.  Look at the way the light hits the trees first thing in the morning, or at dusk.

Feel the sun on your face, the wind in your hair.

Appreciate the extraordinary and the mundane.  Feel it, and create.

Viva La Buttercream xx


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0 thoughts on “When is Icing, Art?”

  • Wonderful article. A bit of background – my company is Marci’s Masterpieces. It’s brand new – still a hobby company. My friend named it. I struggled with the name because I thought it was a bit presumptuous. I don’t consider myself an artist or even that what I do is good enough to be called a masterpiece. But I made my peace with the name because everything I bake has my heart in it. And when I saw your article today, it sealed it for me. Yes – I follow directions, and then something within makes me personalize my project in a way no one else does. That makes it my masterpiece. I hope to be making cakes as beautiful as yours some day. Thanks for sharing. Lovely article.

    • That’s it right there Marcia! So glad you found your stride, and I can’t wait to se where you go from here!

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