Shows such as TLC’s “Cake Boss” have fed a growing interest in cake design. But some pastry chefs are more interested in natural ingredients and the art of flavor than colorful designs achieved with artificial ingredients.
Riccardo Laurenti, 32, an Italian chef living in Australia, explained: “Ingredients like … gum paste and fondant allow [chefs] to create beautiful decorations and perfect-looking sweets. Unfortunately, the use of fondant excludes fresh ingredients, such as cream and custard.”
Appearance is an important part of the cake-making art, Laurenti said, but design must be balanced with traditional pâtisserie practices.
“In cake design, [according to the current trends,] the amount of time usually dedicated to the actual baking of the cake is spent in decorating it,” he said.
Maurilio Bacchella, 45, has worked as a chef in Italy and Spain, and is now a chef on a ship. Bacchella also said the visual appeal should not take precedence over taste. Synthetic additives and other unnatural ingredients should not replace local, fresh ingredients, he said.
“In my 29 years as a chef, I have experienced and mastered many techniques and a range of cuisines,” Bacchella said. “I have come to the realization that nothing is better than a simple cuisine with genuine and fresh ingredients.”
Another Italian chef, Andrea Vigna, 30, wrote in his blog “Manifesto Contro il Cake Design” (Manifesto Against Cake Design): “Pâtisserie is varied and beautiful with no need for layers and layers of sugar paste to coat it.”
He even called the design trend “dangerous and ridiculous.”
*Lead image of a cake via Shutterstock