Thursday, June 3, 2010

Groom's Cakes (Don't Worry: I See It, Too)

"The Wacky World of Groom's Cakes"
FOXNews (June 1, 2010)

"When Shirley Maclaine hacks off the business end of an armadillo-shaped cake and Tom Skerritt thanks her for giving him a fine piece in 1989's 'Steel Magnolias,' groom's cakes started a journey from regional custom to national trend. Armadillos abound in Texas but these days groom's cakes run the gamut from sushi platters to horned toad to sneakers and tennis bags to barbecued hotdogs.

" 'That was a terrible armadillo,' sighs Earlene Moore of Earlene's Cakes of Lubbock, Texas, a pioneer of today's sculptural groom's cakes. 'The "Steel Magnolias" cake was basically a two-D cake that was built up. It didn't look real.' Moore created her own biologically accurate armadillo cake around the same time and sat him on a hidden platform of Rice Krispies Treats 'so you could see his feet. I invented as I went along. There were no rules back then. And mine was 3-D all the way.'

"Moore ... says groom's cakes reflect Southern hospitality, as 'people in the south tend to be real gracious.' They started out as chocolate sheet cakes with chocolate frosting, with clients occasionally 'asking for a Texas Tech logo or smiley face,' says Moore. 'And then I started getting calls - "Can you make me a basketball? Can you make me a space shuttle?" I'd figure it out because I liked the challenge.' She'd sketch a cake, get approval and 'pray that the cake would come out looking like what the client actually wanted.'..."

There's some detail about how these hyper-decorated cakes are made, although I think you'd have to experiment a bit to fill in what isn't described.

Groom's cakes aren't just armadillos - another baker creates cartoonish cakes that the reporter compared to Dr. Seus' work. No photo, alas. The cakes have been shaped like edible boots, baseballs, books - and part of a tattooed butt.

The article gives a pretty good look at an emerging side of American culture - and a reminder that 'good taste' changes over time.

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