Let Them Eat (Wacky, Whimsical) Cake – The New York Times
Adorned with dried Queen Anne’s lace, red clover flowers, bolted callaloo, dried onion flowers, fresh thyme and a fresh cabbage rose on top, the cake that baker Aimee France made for a recent wedding at the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park looked as if it could have been decorated with flora she found while transporting it to the location.
The olive oil cake, layered with cardamom whipped cream and a jam made of lemon, bergamot leaf and blackberries, was frosted in brown butter prosecco buttercream in Ms. France’s signature style: Loose, lumpy and fantastically imperfect. It was a look, she said, that was inspired by the flowers and color scheme for the wedding. But, like most of her confections, the cake was perhaps more so influenced by her artistic mood.
“Honestly, that week I was on a big ‘Phantom of the Opera’ kick,” she said.
Based in Bushwick, Brooklyn, Ms. France, 22, started her baking business in August 2020, and cites the music and costumes of opera and ballet as frequent inspirations. She often decorates her cakes with halos of dried herbs that she forages from her home state of New Hampshire, and intentionally arranges some askew so that they tilt like a frosted Tower of Pisa.
“People want to separate themselves from that perfectionist, pristine kind of wedding,” said Billie Belo, 38, who founded the Manhattan-based Cakes for No Occasion in July 2019. “A cake isn’t mandatory anymore, so if they are going to have a cake on display, it’s like, how do we mess with this?” She has made wedding cakes that are bright, gloopy and frosted with a Jackson Pollock-esque technique. “I’ll just whack frosting at the cake and it’ll splatter on there,” she said.
Ms. Belo is one of several bakers who achieve an unconventional look by slathering their cakes in frosting that is colored so bright, it practically glows. Chicago-based artist Hyun Jung Jun, 32, takes a naturalist approach, dyeing her frosting with turmeric, beet, and butterfly pea powders. A self-taught baker, she started an Instagram account, Dream Cake Test Kitchen, in June 2020 to show off her work and now receives dozens of orders a month, she said.
Madeline Bach, 26, a Manhattan-based baker who is also known as Frosted Hag, instead hordes AmeriColor food dye, which she uses to saturate buttercream in deep lapis lazuli and burnt orange tones. Whether natural or artificially colored, these cakes make the minimalist, so-called naked ones that have proliferated in past years look, …….