Forget the dress. Forget the location. Forget the flowers. The real star of a wedding is the cake. Brides dream of elaborate, towering cakes that take hours of planning and preparation — not to mention the time it takes to actually bake and decorate the cake!
Award-winning ICE Chef Instructor and Master Cake Decorator Toba Garrett makes it look easy. She has been practicing the art of cake decorating for 30 years and teaching classes for 17 years. Her latest book, Wedding Cake Art and Design is a handbook for professionals, as well as a guide for students, serious-minded bakers, and even brides themselves. We spoke with her about the book, cakes and why she loves teaching.
What made you want to write this book?
Originally, we started out doing a second edition of Professional Cake Decorating with a wedding cake companion, but it evolved into its own book. The book guides the reader through the whole process of making a wedding cake. Usually you start a few sketches ranging from a very expensive, elaborate cake to a lower-budget cake that will realistically meet the client’s needs. We decided to develop three sketches for each cake in the book and give the reader a thorough understanding of how to go through the whole design and decorating process. Not to mention the plethora of recipes for everything from cakes to gum paste. Also, the book has information on how to set-up your business, getting equipment and supplies, developing your style, catering to your audience and anything else you’d need to know to run a successful business.
Where did you get your inspiration for all the cakes?
All of the ideas came from actual clients. Clients come to me with concepts and we go through a consultation to design the cake. I wouldn’t do a cake on a handshake. I work with the client on developing their dream cake.
What types of cakes do you like to do?
I love to do cakes that challenge and stretch me. I like to create new ideas and come up with something very beautiful. Usually it is adding a twist, whether it’s an elaborate flourish, a floral design or detailed piping. I love giving the client something they’ve never seen before.
How does writing compare to teaching?
I write like I teach, going through the process the same way I do with my students. I love the transformation of the student. They often start out intimidated by the elaborate cakes they’ve seen. But within a few weeks they’re doing more than they ever thought they could. There is a light in their eyes when they’ve amazed themselves and made something they are proud of. I like when they start to see that making and decorating cakes is an art.
Chef Toba’s cakes are truely works of art. She has won more than a dozen international gold and silver medals for her work. Her experience has taught her a great deal about cakes and the business of selling cakes, as well as teaching students about the art of pastry. Her book is a great way to learn more from Chef Toba. Wedding Cake Art and Design is available in stores and online now.