Style Court

Eight Years of Textiles, History, Art, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes

5.23.2011

Do-Over Cake?

 [Photography by Noah Sheldon from Sarah Magid's mouth-watering Organic and Chic.]

Reading about one of the Corcoran's free summer programs for kids, Edible Color Wheel, I flashed back to past cake decorating experiences.

Around 2001, my preschool-age niece watched again and again a recorded Martha Stewart Living episode -- the Barbie Party Cake show. At the time, this was a bit of a departure for Martha. Incorporating an actual Barbie into a dramatic ballgown-shaped cake veered a bit toward kitsch but a soft palette kept the confection within Martha's realm and little girls thought the end result was absolutely magical. (Keep in mind this was before similar cakes became available at the grocery store bakery counter.)

[Photography by Noah Sheldon from Organic and Chic.]

We had plans to give it a go ourselves using a homemade mold to shape a base as grand as the one in the picture. (As I recall, the original instructions suggested using a bowl as a partial mold.) Along the way, though, another family member with the best intentions picked up a look-a-like mold at a craft store. Unfortunately, when our cake came out of the oven, it resembled an over-sized banana muffin and would've been a better fit with a pint-sized Chelsea® or Courtney® doll. Still, the real problem was the sweltering Georgia heat and humidity which caused the icing to run, leaving Barbie partially unclothed. 

I had a little more success with the handbag cake. We made the malted ball handle ourselves without any glitches (looked just like beads) but opted to order the cake from a local bakery known for their ultra-soft icing colors and scrumptious goods. This cake withstood the high summer temps, however, sadly did not really resemble the shape I requested. Nonetheless, the girls were pleased so I wholeheartedly recommend the Martha project. A couple years later it was Williams-Sonoma's sandcastle cake that wowed the adults.

[Photography by Noah Sheldon from Organic and Chic.]

I'm thinking this might be the summer to try one of the simpler cakes in Sarah Magid's book, Organic and Chic. You may recall she favors buttercream over fondant and has a designer's sensibility; I imagine we'll have fun experimenting with color and line.


The great thing about summer lists, as opposed to New Year's resolutions, is that they're typically carefree. To Try lists rather than To Do. This may also be my summer of the DIY upholstered headboard but I'm keeping that loose. For now I'm still making my way leisurely through Victoria Finlay's Color: A Natural History of the Palette. (Yeah, still!) If you're in the mood for more color history, checkout A Perfect Red , or if you have a personal favorite on the subject, please let me know.


Speaking of Corcoran happenings, don't forget John Robshaw will visit the Gallery this week, Wednesday, May 25 at 7 p.m., to discuss his past adventures in India and Asia, and explore how travel impacts his textile designs. General admission is $15. Details are available here. A complete list of summer lectures and courses can be found here.


I receive no freebies, discounts or compensation for mentions of John Robshaw products and events. Wares that appear in my pictures are my own purchases.

1 comment:

Pigtown-Design said...

i went to a wedding this weekend and they had the most gorgeous cake. it was at the zoo, so the cake was white with black silhouette of animals on it. sounds odd, but it was gorgeous. it's on my blog.