A journey to the past

Three beautifully piped pink cakes topped with cherries (piping)

While the trend of COVID sourdough bakers and wholesellers finding so much success they haven’t been able to return to their everyday lives post-pandemic is a relatively common one, there’s something else that’s had home-bakers giving up their day jobs in the post-COVID world. That something new: elaborately piped cake decorations.

But these home bakers aren’t using modern-day 21st century techniques, they are instead favouring styles and colours of the past. The cakes that are popular on social media now are vintage-inspired, covered in ruffles, and absolutely decadent.

Despite the trend for piped buttercream ruffles adorning cakes having died out some decades ago, the trend, inspired by the ornate and elaborate styles of the French Rococo period, are making a comeback.

One such baker is Natasha Mavros, a Sydney psychology graduate who turned to cake decorating to pass the hours during lockdown. After posting her successes to Instagram under the handle @baked_inspace, Natasha started seeing requests streaming in.

“I wasn’t trying to start a business, but it just blew up. I had tens of thousands of followers within just five months, it was insane,” she told Good Food.

“When it was time to go back to work, I realised I couldn’t, because I was fully booked with cake orders for the next month.”

And Natasha isn’t the only one experiencing high levels of demand for her buttercream creations. Patchanida Chimkire, a former chef living in Melbourne, also took to cake decorating to while away the hours during COVID.

Patchanida now operates a full-time business after her Instagram store (handle: @mali_bakes) grew to be too much for her to handle on her own in her home kitchen. In 2021, she was able to open a bricks-and-mortar store in Thornbury, which currently has demand for up to 60 cakes a week.

A few of these self-taught decorators seem to have one thing in common: they’ve all leant heavily on Joseph Lambeth’s 1934 cookbook Lambeth Method of Cake Decoration and Practical Pastries, which popularised a method of over-piping that was centuries old.

The success that bakers like Natasha and Patchanida are experiencing is due in the largest part to Gen Z and Millennial women, who make up the majority of the orders for the over-piped masterpieces, which typically go for between $180–300 per cake.

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