Bringing tattoo art to a cake
I was recently asked to do a christening cake for an infant. I was a little challenged with the task when I was asked to shape the cake like a cross, not because of any technical difficulty, but because it was well… to be honest, a little corny. I try very hard to add style and an aesthetic sensibility to my cakes. I never just throw a bunch of ornaments or flowers together and hope for the best. Everything is well planned out for a theme and it’s design before the cake is made.
There is a constant struggle as a cake designer to please the client, but also to bring your design principles and aesthetics to your cakes. I face this challenge often. A lot of people ask me for specific things, or replicas of other cakes. While some cakes I am asked to duplicate may look nice, the mission here is to always create something unique and original. You have to press your style as an individual cake designer and in a sense, a brand. Perhaps there are other cake designers out there that willingly and with no questions asked, duplicate other cakes or blindly follow clients’ instructions. I just don’t happen to be that person. I will try my best to listen to a client and to achieve satisfaction, but if I could float some other ideas or designs by them, I will.
I began to brainstorm on this cake… on how I could keep the cross design, include blue flowers, and come off with it looking cool. I thought about roses and hearts. And then it occurred to me to look at some classic tattoos, which usually have both. Not only did I think an arrangement of a heart and roses looked like a tattoo, but it also reminded me of latin american religious depictions of the Virgin Mary—a religious depiction, which would match this theme well. This is what I came up with. I wanted the roses to look chunky, so I piped them out of royal icing instead of gumpaste. I also hand-painted them later to give more of a look reminiscent of watercolors. I included a bow and hearts to bring it back to babyland.