Petula Dvorak: This isn't your grandma's cake decorating

By Petula Dvorak
Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The crowd sported more biceps tattoos than bifocals. More body piercings than pacemakers. More geeks than grandmas.

And that was a bit surprising, because the event that night in Bethesda was all about cake decorating.

"I made Darth Vader's head once," one cake artiste told me. "It was red velvet cake on the inside."

"A dragon, that was my favorite cake I did," another said. "Claws. Fire from the mouth. It rocked."

"A bride of Frankenstein wedding cake," yet another said.

The world of cake decorating is no longer solely encrusted with sugar roses, frosting swags and buttercream basket weaves.

I have watched this world change in the past few years. And to describe this, I'll have to admit my own obsession.

It was about 2 o'clock one morning when my husband realized that my cake jones was worse than he thought.

I was hunched over the kitchen counter, hacksawing furiously at a wooden structure.

"I thought you said you were staying up late to make a birthday cake," he moaned.

"I am. This is the internal structure for the rocket ship. It's going to be at least two feet tall, so it needs an infrastructure so it won't fall over," I replied, having just finished my third Red Bull.

"You may want to start thinking about what it is that people say about you when you leave a room," he said, and went back to bed.

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