In my high school, students had to take a "creative" elective during their freshman and sophomore years. Our options were limited to only three classes: art, choir, or drama. Because I couldn't (and still can't!) sing and at the time and had an intense fear of public speaking, I decided that art was my best bet to cruise through the two years relatively stress-free.
But alas; it turned out that I was no more an artist than I was a singer or an actor. I was terrible at literally every medium we tried—sketching, painting, and even plastering, during which I accidentally waxed off half my classmate's eyebrow when we were doing plaster casts of our faces. My art teacher thought that my ineptitude was on purpose, and responded by reacting with either hostility or indifference to my best efforts. Needless to say, that was the last time I have ever taken an official art class of any kind.
I sometimes wonder what my art teacher would say if she saw me now and found out that I was making my living from taking photos of food, developing recipes, and styling cakes like this one. I'm not sure if any of what I do qualifies as Real Art (whatever that means), but it didn't occur to me how closely related they were up until a recent FaceTime chat with my mom. My mom had called right at the start of my decorating process, and I figured I'd multitask by decorating the cake while we chatted. At the end of our conversation, my mom asked to see my progress and was surprised that the cake, had patches of uneven frosting and was partially naked at the beginning of our call, was now fully covered compete with perfectly smooth sides. "It's like you plastered it!" my mom exclaimed.
To take the arty theme to the next level, I then used a bunch of Wilton Candy Melts to drizzle and "splatter" colors all over this cake in the style of Jackson Pollock. Unfortunately, neither Pollock or myself can really take credit for this cake design—it's actually from my dear friend Tessa (the blogger behind Style Sweet CA) and her new book, Icing on the Cake. Tessa has always been a maestro of layer cakes; her first book, Layered, was dedicated to the most wonderful and creative layer cake recipes (like this London Fog layer cake!). Icing on the Cake has even more layer cake recipes, but also ones for other showstopping bakes like pies, macarons, and more. As a special treat, I'm giving away a copy to one of my Instagram followers, along with a few cake decorating goodies from Wilton Cakes; be sure to check out my Instagram later today for a chance to win!
book || plates
Some baker's notes:
- The cake is a simple vanilla cake topped with vanilla buttercream frosting. In addition to the "paint", the inside of the cake is swirled with different colors for a tie-dyed effect. I used natural food coloring that turned out a touch too pastel and sort of blended together—if you want a more dramatic look, opt for bolder colors like Tessa did in her book!
- Wilton Candy Melts are available online on their site and in multiple colors at craft stores like JoAnn or Michaels. In a pinch, you can also buy Candy Melts on Amazon, but they're much pricier per bag and their colors are limited. You can also opt for Molly's version, in which she uses a royal icing glaze for the paint splatters.