The average person off the street does not normally have the chance to see the trends happening in sugar art, formally known as cake decorating. They usually purchase boring “ready-mades” from the locally grocery mega-store and have someone write the innocuous “Happy Birthday” in frosting in the space provided on the cake. (The writing on cakes along with the lighting of candles is in itself another topic for discussion.) The most recent airing of the Food Network’s Cake Challenge “Villain Cakes,” provides viewers with hints of the next levels of our sugary consumption. Adding the likes of animated cake parts, one might think the taste sensation rather boring in comparison. This is not a new trend in the over all scheme of the affluent.
For instance, in a review of the a Shelburne Museum doll exhibit there were 31 mechanical pieces being exhibited and made in Paris during the last half of the 19th century, The New York Time’s Tuesday, June 12, 2007 article mentions that, “Automata first appeared in Europe in the early Renaissance. They were virtuoso demonstrations of the great skills of goldsmiths and of the new discoveries of engineering and science…” And like todays over the top sugar art consumers interested in the latest trends like movable cake parts, the expensive dolls were marketed as toys for adults, and according to The New York Times, “most likely displayed to entertain guests.”
As like the Automata of the 19th century that inspired engineers and drove technology forward, this new trend with sugar, which usually has marked very special occasions such as pending birth, christening, birthday, wedding and finally death and shared with family and friends, is challenging the world with new creations showing the talent and skill of its artisans elevating it to heights greater than just a simple cake to eat, but rather a variation in entertainment for guests.