The only thing better than looking at a pretty cake is eating it. Cakes all taste the same once you get past the different flavors of icing and sprinkles etcetera. We are all conditioned from an early age to think of cake as a good thing. Thus, each year on our birthday it is traditional to celebrate with a slice of your favorite chocolate or yellow butter cake covered with thick creamy frosting. Our crowning moments are almost always thus observed. Confirmation, bar mitzvah, graduation, and let's not forget the wedding cake.
Wedding cakes alone are big business. Nationally wedding cakes cost an average of $500, and in the New York metropolitan area, they tend to average closer to $1,200 each. These special event cakes are not simple matters of tossing some cake batter in the oven and slopping on some icing afterward. In fact, at the high end the people who make them are referred to not as bakers, but instead, they prefer being called cakers.
Cakery is an art, and like any art, you only get good at it with time, practice, and experience. As with all areas of expertise, the skill of cake decorating depends on many tools some common, and others intricate and unique to this specialized niche in the world of confectionary artistry.
These days many people have taken to cakery as a hobby. Thus we arrive at today’s day trip suggestion. A day spent learning the art of cake decorating at the New York Cake Academy in Chelsea. The Cake Academy is described by its founder, Lisa Mansour, as a retail store specializing in all of the gadgets, utensils, and gizmos required by cake decorating enthusiast around the world.
In addition to the front end operation, Ms. Mansour also runs the New York Cake Academy from a studio space within the store. Class sizes average 12 students. There are classes for students at every level. Lisa Mansour conducts many of them herself, but there are several top-notch guest instructors as well.
As a person new to the art of cake decorating, you would start with Lisa. You couldn’t ask for a better teacher; she learned the craft from her mother, who was a brilliant cake designer herself. Ms. Mansour has two decades of cake making experience, and she is the organizer of the annual New York Cake Show.
Check the Cake Academy’s website for the schedule of upcoming classes. It would be great if you could do a class with a friend or close family member. It will be even more fun that way. However, whatever you decide, do act early because space is limited. Cakery is an avenue of artistic expression. You may even find that the only thing better than eating a lovely cake is decorating one yourself.