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.
Here are the cakes in random order. Enjoy!
Lady Tillie, The Mighty Battle, by Becca Craig of Cake Life Cake Shop, Fishtown, Philadelphia.
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!
Merry Mischief Makers, by Jennifer Low, owner of the Frosted Fox Cakeshop, Mt. Airy, Philadelphia.
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.
Ode to Dracula, by Danielle Zahodski of The Master’s Baker, West Chester, PA.
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.
Laveau Manor, by Tatiana Wingate, owner of Sprinkled Sweetness, Philadelphia.
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.
Victorian Halloween, by Emily Colavita, owner of Colavita Confections, Blue Bell, PA.
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!