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What an honor to be asked to curate another cake show at the Woodmere Art Museum… and for Halloween nonetheless-my favorite holiday! I can’t thank Bill Valerio, Hildy Tow, Anne Standish and the entire staff at the Woodmere enough for giving me and some fellow Philadelphia-area cake artists the phenomenal opportunity to exhibit our cakes at their museum. This show’s theme was inspired by the museum’s Victorian mansion- the perfect setting for creepy Halloween cakes. Mother Nature also assisted by providing a full moon the night of the opening party!
The cakes ranged from downright creepy, to trick-or-treat sweet; but all had to have some sort of nod to the Victorian era.
Becca hand sculpted this incredible Victorian bust in fondant and modeling chocolate, which gives a flawless look of real skin. She hand crafted jewel-like details such as the pendant necklace, earrings and hat brooch in gilded gum paste, harkening back to her former education in jewelry design. Inspired by the elegance of Victorian era costuming and the eeriness of portrait photography of the time, Becca’s cake was so realistic, it looked like it could start moving at any moment. YIKES!
Jenny was inspired by Victorian era paper decorations, advertisements and décor. She and her talented team created this whimsical tiered fondant cake in vibrant seasonal colors with hand-crafted edible decorations out of wafer paper to echo papier mache puppets as well as hand-painted scenes, air brush painting and royal icing piping.
Victorian Vampire, by Briana Green, owner of The Fancy Crumb, East Lansdale, PA.
Briana’s cake was a modern interpretation of a popular Victorian theme- vampires, which was popularized by Bram Stoker’s book Dracula published in1897. Briana’s spectacular cake includes elaborate airbrush painting, elegantly crafted gilded gum paste frames and an amazing gravity-defying hand-sculpted 3-D vampire reaching out from the cake to grab passers by!
Victorian Haute Couture, by Masha Lipkovsky, owner of Unik Cakes, Warminster, PA.
Masha is well known for her realistic gum paste flowers, evident here in this elegant arrangement inspired by Victorian fashion. Masha incorporated popular Victorian elements like lace, cameos, damask fabric and flowers into a stunning tiered cake highlighted with dry dusting with petal and luster dusts and topped with a 3-D floral skull. Although her cake is dominated by blacks, greys and dark purples- Masha includes a few lighter-colored flowers in seasonal yellows and orange to transform the otherwise dark palette into an elegant arrangement worthy of a Halloween bride’s wedding cake.
Danielle loves the macabre and she didn’t disappoint with this super creepy cake inspired by Dracula. Known for her innovative techniques, Danielle created a cracked texture on her cake by heating painted fondant with a torch for an incredibly disturbing effect. The hand-modeled skull protrudes from the center of the cake as if levitating, and is surrounded by elaborate hand piping in royal icing as well as royal icing string-work, a very advanced and difficult cake decorating technique.
Till Death Us Do Part, by Cristina Cinquino, owner of PrimaCristina, Chalfont, PA.
Inspired by Victorian gothic-revival architecture, Cristina created this enchanting scene that captures the moment a couple poses for their wedding portrait outside of a church. Cristina depicts fine details in fondant such as the bride’s lace veil, gown and floral bouquet, as well as the groom’s tuxedo, bow tie, and top hat- as the newlywed skeletal couple stand in front of a decaying hand-painted church ruin.
Tatiana’s inspiration for her cake design came from one of the interior rooms of the Woodmere Founder’s Gallery as well as New Orleans Voodoo. Her cake was a compilation of three scenes- a hand sculpted tree base, the Founder’s Gallery complete with miniature hand-painted reproductions of the painting collection and fireplace, and all topped by a modeled 3-D skull and framed portrait of Voodoo priestess Madame Laveau.
mASSked, by Grace Henden, owner of GH Cakery, Philadelphia.
Grace was inspired by a photograph of a Victorian-era child wearing a rather creepy donkey costume. Grace hand modeled the life-sized bust in fondant and modeling chocolate- which gives a flawless life-like finish like real skin. She created the donkey mask by soaking and forming rice paper on a handcrafted mold and hand-painted it with petal dusts.
Emily was inspired by the unique architecture of the Woodmere’s mansion, as well as the atmospheric landscape paintings and portraits in their permanent collection. Emily created a whimsical scene with hand modeled gum paste tree, edible chocolate skulls, airbrush painting and highlighted with gold luster dust.
Victorian POEtry, by Noelle DeSantis, owner of Ella Vanilla, Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia.
As soon as the Woodmere approached me about doing a Halloween cake show and we landed on the Victorian theme, I knew I wanted to pay homage to Edgar Allan Poe, the master of the macabre! I hand sculpted the raven topper out of gum paste and texturized it by painting with royal icing. The portrait of Poe is hand painted with petal dust, drybrush petal dust and edible marker. The lower tier includes bas relief vignettes of different Poe stories such as The Tell Tale Heart, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Black Cat, as well as a nod to the Woodmere mansion by depicting it as The Fall of the House of Usher. Of course The Raven tops the cake- Poe’s most famous and iconic work.
Here are some additional photos from the opening party and yummy cake tasting. A big THANK YOU to everyone who came out to celebrate with us!
We’re SO ready for summer here and created our latest cake to help usher in the warmer weather! You’ll learn a lot of cool techniques in the mermaid cake decorating class, such as how to use a silicon mold to make seashells, create fondant scale pattern, ice your cake and paint with edible metallic paints! See our May class schedule HERE.
A big THANK YOU to the Woodmere Art Museum for inviting me back again this year to curate another cake show, Sweet Inspiration, in their beautiful museum. This year’s theme was based on the stunning children’s book illustrations by Philadelphia artist, Charles Santore, for books such as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the Wizard of Oz, Snow White and more. Ten of the Philadelphia area’s top cake artists created whimsical cakes inspired by one of the illustrations of their choice, and the results were spectacular cakes highlighting the artistry of cake decorating.
We had a fun and fabulous opening reception, where each cake artist had a chance to describe their cake and some of the advanced cake decorating techniques they used, as well as what inspired them about the illustration they used as the basis for their cakes. Below are some highlights from the opening reception party with photos courtesy of Brian James Photography, Chestnut Hill.
The gallery talk went in the order of the illustrations, which were hung in order by book, starting with Peter Rabbit. Jennifer Roach, Executive Cake Artist for Cescaphe Event Group, created this beautifully hand-painted cake, highlighting her expertise in illustration painting with petal and luster dusts as well as 3-D cake sculpting..
Next, was the Wizard of Oz, with a fantastic compilation of illustrations combined into one fanciful cake by Danielle Zahodski of The Master Baker. Danielle excels at building complex cake designs, evidence here in her gravity-defying cake twister swirled together with Oz, Dorothy’s home, flying monkeys and minute wafer paper poppies all supported by a base with the sleeping Cowardly Lion and yellow brick road.
Danielle was followed by an enchanting cake hand-sculpted and hand-painted by world-renowned cake artist, Colette Peters of Colette’s Cakes. Best known for her whimsical and unique cakes for celebrities, Colette’s showpiece of the Emerald City sparkled in hues of metallic green luster and disco dusts, which highlighted the ornate architectural elements. Her cake looked like it stepped right off the pages of the book! Unfortunately, Colette was not able to attend the party, but her cake was a show-stopper!
Next were the illustrations of the book Snow White and a fabulous sculptural cake based on the Evil Queen with elements made of isomalt and rice treats created by Nala Holloman, cake artist for the Night Kitchen Bakery and her own business, Bhumiart. Nala’s specialty is sugar sculpting, seen here in the many hand crafted pieces such as the skull, knife, apple and book of spells.
The next book in the show was Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. My cake (Noelle DeSantis owner of Ella Vanilla) was first in the group, showing Alice as she falls down the rabbit hole, with a hand-sculpted cake topper of Alice in free fall as well as hand-painted gum paste decorations in petal, luster and metallic dusts.
Next up was the finely detailed cake with hand-painting and stunning gum paste flowers by Lara Kalin, of LaraLada cakes. She created an enchanting scene with the beautifully rendered caterpillar and Alice, along with gum paste mushroom and cluster of delicate wafer paper foliage at the base.
Lara’s cake was followed by a striking cake in a bright color palette inspired by decorative elements of the Queen of Hearts. Created by Cristina Cinquino of PrimaCristina, this sophisticated and more abstract cake design was highlighted with gold accents and punctuated with stunning wafer paper roses.
Owner of The Fancy Crumb, Briana Green’s gravity-defying topsy-turvy cake of the Mad Hatter’s tea party was next in the line up, highlighting her expertise in complex cake construction, sugar sculpting and refined airbrushing technique.
The next cake was the large, whimsical 3-D cake of the rabbit standing about 2 feet tall created by the super-talented Masha Lipkovksy of Unik Cakes. Finely hand-sculpted on an armature base, Masha’s rabbit looked so realistic as if it could jump right off of the pedestal!
The final cake in the show, was a beautiful interpretation of Noah’s Ark- The Flood. Jennifer Low, owner of the Frosted Fox Cake Shop used buttercream icing applied in an impasto-style technique to achieve the Impressionistic and turbulent atmosphere to her cake, which she then juxtaposed with delicate gum paste roses.
Not only were the cakes show stoppers, but each cake artist brought along cupcakes for tasting.
And a stunning floral arrangement graced the entrance from Robertson’s Florist. The rest of the evening was good fun with the tasting, wine and mingling. Thanks to everyone who came out to make this launch an extra special evening!
We’re thrilled to be invited back again this year to the Woodmere Art Museum to co-curate our second cake show, on view March 15- 21. Join us for the Opening Reception & Cake Tasting and see ten fanciful cakes inspired by the children’s book illustrations of Charles Santore, like Alice in Wonderland, the Wizard of Oz, Peter Rabbit and more. Area cake artists from Night Kitchen Bakery, the Frosted Fox Bakeshop and your’s truly will be exhibiting! See more information HERE.