Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Would You Like Cake With Your Plastic?

How much of that is edible?
Last week I wrote about how people overdowel cakes. Another issue that seems to be popping up everywhere is the cake that isn't a cake.

I was talking to the catering manager at a reception site, and he made a comment about the cake they'd had there the night before. He said it looked good, but it was so full of PVC and styrofoam it was impossible to cut, and there wasn't much cake in it. He said that they weren't impressed with it.

When I do a 3-D cake I try to make them out of cake, not styrofoam. Sometimes there are structural elements that have to be used, though, but I still try to use more cake than supports.

I blame television and the stupid "extreme" cakes that they love to show. You'll have bakeries who shall not be named making PVC structures that are covered in fondant and modelling chocolate and referring to them as "cake." No, that's not cake.

It's one thing to make a cake that looks like something else. It's something completely different to deliver a "cake" that is plastic, styrofoam and fondant, then have to bring additional sheet cakes to actually eat.

Why not just call it what it is? It's a sugar sculpture. People are always complaining that clients don't want to pay for elaborate cakes. Well, if you called it a sculpture then maybe they'd stop thinking of the price of the sheet cakes at Costco when they talk about what they're ordering.

So next time you make a 3-D cake, try to actually make it out of cake. It seems to be a dying skill.

 Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at and


Mr. Capoeira Sydney said...

What a neat post! Looking forward for more post from you. Thank you for sharing!

Cake Is Life said...

I could NOT agree more! My other peeve is rice krispies treats covered in fondant and called cake! Sometimes they are a necessity, but I REALLY try hard not to use them so much either!

Great post!

Anonymous said...

I agree with every word! That has been a sore point with me as well about these cake shows that don't really seem to be about cake anymore :(
Thanks for another spot on post Kara!
cindy/cindy's cakery

Jennywenny said...

I did recently have someone specifically ask for extra rice krispy treats recently as the kiddies loved them so much, so I do go that way sometimes! I guess I do spike them with caramel, so they taste better!

Grandma Tillie's Bakery said...

This is my pet peeve also! The worst one I ever saw was Buddy making a "cake" for the showgirls in Vegas. Not one crumb of cake on that thing, just fondant and gumpaste molded over wood. I totally didn't understand everyone making a big deal over the "cake" when they brought it out! Like you said, call it what it is--a sugar sculpture.

Deeva said...

I used to ask why people would spend money to have a cake decorator make a "cake" for them, but I stopped when I came up with the answer. They just want to be on TV! The same thing they are having made by a cake decorator can be made by a sculpter.

I guess if someone offered me that kind of money for a "cake", I might think twice about turning it down.

SweetThingsTO said...

I completely agree! Although there have been a few times I have pushed the envelop with all cake - as minimal non-edible supports. Live and learn... but agree - a 3D cake should actually be cake!