Baking has transcended its roots as a practical activity into a conduit for artistic expression. And like art itself, baked creations can be done in a variety of styles. From cartoon character cakes to design-focused cookies, edible art takes many delicious forms. Ballerina-turned-pastry chef Maggie Austin takes a realistic approach when working on her multi-tiered cakes; she creates sugar flowers that look so lifelike that you’d never dream they were actually sweet treats.
Austin’s flawless technique produces exquisite cake flowers that evoke a delicate lyricism. Their petals are the most stunning part; they have the same curls and crinkled folds that perfectly mimic the real thing. To achieve this level of accuracy and believability, Austin uses several approaches that include shaping wafer paper into petals, painting them, and arranging them so that they look like a dramatic bouquet.
With such lavish creations, it’s no surprise that Austin’s work has caught the attention of big-name clients. She’s produced pastries for White House Christmas celebrations, Hollywood parties, and royal weddings. Now, Austin teaches workshops in Alexandria, Virginia where anyone can learn how to make her signature peonies, roses, hydrangeas, and more. But if Virginia is out of the picture, her book Maggie Austin Cake: Artistry and Technique provides guidance, too. It’s now available through Amazon.