December 6, 2016

Cake Design – a beautiful transient art form

Cake, an art form? I hear you question….REALLY! Well yes, beautiful, designed and decorated cakes come into existence using the same design processes and considerations as say the latest collections on the London or Paris catwalks. I am a cake designer and for me, cake is my canvas and sugar my medium. I have always been creative and when I was younger I wanted to paint, but never found the time. Through creating birthday cakes for my children however, I discovered I had a flair for design. This spurred me onwards and upwards. It has not always been easy and as Elizabeth Gilbert says:

“It’s difficult to create things, if it wasn’t difficult, everyone would be doing it and it wouldn’t be special or interesting”

I find that people are generally fascinated by my work and frequently ask where my ideas and inspiration come from.

Retro circle cake inspired by a an old embroidery book and trip to Liverpool

Retro circle cake inspired by a an old embroidery book and trip to Liverpool

Looking for Cake Inspiration
I spent a very pleasant afternoon a couple of weeks ago, sitting in the warm glow of my wood burner, designing a wedding cake that will ultimately be published in a cake decorating magazine next year. It’s impossible to design in a vacuum, like all true artists and designers I need inspiration and this can come from absolutely anywhere.

Developing an Idea
You may think it sounds rather unlikely, but the idea for this particular design came from a chance overheard, rather negative remark that a bride had chosen fuchsias as her wedding flower. Now like the bride, I love fuchsias. As a young teenager I collected cuttings, propagated and grew many beautiful fuchsias. I carefully over wintered the plants in my mothers greenhouse and was very proud of my interesting collection that flowered so profusely each and every summer. I know this may well seem a little weird to today’s teenagers but I grew up with no television in a rural area with little going on…. it was long before the distractions of the internet and mobile phones. Fuchsias held a certain appeal for me and still do, which I guess is why this chance remark stayed with me and why I felt I needed to give the flower my ‘support’.

Drawing on Multiple Sources for Inspiration
Designing is a process with an unknown outcome, so where to start? For me, I like to create a context for an idea. I start by researching and collecting design references. I love this part of the process, it is where I look through my photographs and design reference books, I have collected quite a library over the years. Search the internet for trends and any additional inspiration particularly current colour palettes. I open myself up to ideas, let my eyes feast on the beautiful details and allow one idea or spark another. For me, it’s like picking sweets in a sweet shop, ultimately I have to make choices where one choice often leads to another. Once my bag is satisfactorily full, I begin to sketch.

In this instance I started by sketching a late flowering fuchsia from my garden as this was to be central to my design. I sketched details from the design references that appealed to me, art nouveau patterns, historical ornament details, large fabric ruffles inspired by trends on the catwalk and a touch of gingham. To you, these may sound rather a mishmash of ideas but yesterday these were golden nuggets from which a cake design emerged.

Fabulous fringes cake inspired by a red and black Latino dance costume from 'Strictly'

Fabulous fringes cake inspired by a red and black Latino dance costume from ‘Strictly’

Fairy Dust
In her book, “Big Magic,” Elizabeth Gilbert likens this creative process to ‘fairy dust’ and says “I can feel myself being gently propelled by some external force, something is carrying me along – something powerful and generous and that something is decidedly not me.”

I feel exactly the same and its a wonderful. It doesn’t always happen, sometimes I can’t make an idea work no matter how hard I try, it’s like grouping around in the dark for a light switch and not finding one. Conversely very, very occasionally a fully formed design pops into my head by magic and I have to grab it whilst I can!

Cake may not be essential to our lives but it certainly enriches our experience. If I was a painter I would fill canvas upon canvas and they would probably sit in a pile in my loft – I’ve no idea if I would be a good painter – but as a cake designer, my art is very much admired but it doesn’t last long. I like it that way, it means I can continue to explore ideas and see where my creativity takes me next – how exciting!

Where do you go to find creative inspiration? Do you think that cake designs should be considered art? Please leave your comments below and share your creative experiences.

Sweet wishes
Lindy

Happiness and the therapeutic power of cake decorating

I think most of us can say that we strive to be happy. It’s been proven that money doesn’t primarily affect how happy we are, so what makes us happy?

As a cake designer, I have known for many years that the process of designing, baking, decorating one of a kind cakes makes me extremely satisfied and happy. It is why I do what I do. Interestingly, it has… Continue reading

How to make ombre sugar ruffles for cakes

Ombre sugar ruffles, so pretty! I loved creating these for the ‘Sweetheart Stripe’ wedding cake below – you’ll now find the cake in my ‘Simply Modern Wedding Cakes‘ book. It was such fun experimenting with all my cutters to find which ones worked, which didn’t and which I liked the most. The winner was definitely my moghal arch cutter, as once frilled it created such a beautiful shape – so… Continue reading

Lindy Smith’s ‘Simply Modern Wedding Cakes’ Book shortlisted for Homemaker Magazine Art & Craft Book Awards 2016

I am sure, like me, you love nice surprises! My publishers recently sent me an email letting me know that my latest book ‘Simply Modern Wedding Cakes‘ has been shortlisted for an award, how wonderful. Now I know that awards seem to be two-a-penny these days but never-the-less when a nomination is a complete surprise and your work is being recognised and judged by eminent people including designers in other fields… Continue reading

Doodling, Facebook Live and the Curious Cake Decorator

You have probably heard the old English proverb ‘curiosity killed the cat’ used to warn of the dangers of unnecessary investigation or experimentation. But I would argue that in most cases, the smart reply of ‘and Satisfaction brought it back’ taught to me by my grandmother, is more appropriate. I am naturally curious, always have been and always will be. So I was thrilled to read in Elizabeth Gilbert’s recent… Continue reading

Tips for using Royal Icing for Lettering and Run Outs – Lindy’s Facebook Live video

Royal icing is not a sugar medium I work with everyday, but it is a form of icing that I have always loved using on my cakes. Royal icing is incredibly versatile and an excellent medium for adding decorative elements to cakes and decorated cookies, whether these be piped pearls, decorative scrolls or piped line work. It is also a very good option for adding lettering to cakes. I grant… Continue reading

Canadian Company Cilantro feature Lindy Smith in their Expert Interview Series

I have been cake decorating for over 25 years and I’m still as passionate about my craft as I have always been, if not more so. I consider myself an artist who’s medium happens to be sugar. I love what I do, it’s taken over my life, it’s what I live and breath. However I know that what is everyday for me is not for most. People are intrigued by… Continue reading

Recipe for Moist and Delicious Blackcurrant Flapjack Squares

I must admit that of all the summer fruit that grow in my garden, blackcurrants are probably my least favourite. I guess this is because I find them rather too sour to eat straight off the bush, so unlike raspberries and redcurrants, there is no instant reward for picking them!  Blackcurrants are abundant and plentiful right now and I have three bushes, so lots of blackcurrants. Many of these currants will end up in my freezer… Continue reading

Coffee, Cake and moments of happiness….experiences of Filming a cake decorating class in Denver for Craftsy

The other day I was sitting in a wonderful little coffee shop slowly sipping a sublimely smooth cappuccino when I noticed a quote on the wall which, as a cake designer and sugar artist, really appealed to me. The quote said:

“We seek goodness and beauty in everything we do to inspire moments of happiness….”

This is so true of what I do and probably why… Continue reading

Wedding Cakes Magazine review Lindy Smith’s NEW book ‘Simply Modern Wedding Cakes’

A book is never easy to write, it takes months of hard work and dedication. It is a unknown entity, one that changes and develops as the creative process gradually moves from one step to the next. Writing a book is a very personal, as well as creative, journey and consequently as an author I need but dread to hear what the first critics and reviewers have to say about my work. My latest book… Continue reading

Lindy Smith shares how to use stencils to decorate cakes and cookies on Create and Craft TV

I simply love using cake stencils on my cakes, so when asked to be a guest on the Cake Academy, a Create & Craft TV cake decorating programme, I could only say YES.

There are many different ways of using stencils to add pattern and decorations to cakes. Probably my favourite is using edible coloured dusts, I always think of it as a bit like ‘colouring… Continue reading

Cake Decorating News & Inspiration from Lindy’s Cakes – A Taster from March 2016

Here at Lindy’s Cakes we endeavour to send out regular monthly newsletters by email to let you know what’s been happening, what’s on the addenda and to inspire you to be creative with your cake decorating. Here is a short taster from our March 2016 Newsletter. If you like to receive future newsletters, in full, please subscribe and we’ll add you to our list.

Dear… Continue reading

What kind of Cake Decorator is Lindy Smith?

Cake Masters recently published a multiple choice quiz in their monthly magazine, where they identified five different types of cake decorator. Always up for some light-hearted entrainment, I eagerly answered their questions to find out the results described me perfectly. … Continue reading

Dog friendly birthday cake recipe for our canine friends

I grew up watching Blue Peter (a BBC TV children’s Programme) where the presenters, when I watched it all those years ago, always gave their dogs baked and decorated birthday cakes. It never occurred to me however, to do the same for my own dogs  – until NOW!!

I have recently become involved in the development and launch of an innovative new product called the “Magic Baking

Top tips on how to budget for your dream wedding cake

A beautiful hand-crafted bespoke wedding cake can be yours with good planning and careful budgeting. As with all aspects of your wedding it’s a question of your priorities. I am a big fan of lists and suggest that it is a good idea to sit down and make a list of all the suppliers that are important to you as a couple. This will help you highlight where to the buy the… Continue reading

Older Posts