When it comes to baking, there’s perhaps nothing braver than diving head first into a decorating idea, with little or no experience behind you. It takes a certain amount of confidence, and a certain amount of humor, knowing that what you are about to do could go terribly, horribly wrong. This was exactly the challenge Amy Stevens faced when she first started her Confections Series, which began as a response to her 30th birthday and quickly transformed into something else entirely.
From Amy: My original idea was to bake 30 birthday cakes for myself and photograph them. I ordered a kit from Martha Stewart.com and watched an instructional video on decorating cakes. When I quickly discovered my cakes were never going to look like the ones in the video and the pamphlet, I decided they were better off in their exuberantly imperfect states.
In the end, it’s the flaws in Amy’s cakes that make them so great. The unevenness and bright colors of the desserts, which are often set against similar graphic backgrounds, are so absurd that you can’t help but smile. The content is garish and trashy, but that’s the reason you love it. In a way, these cakes remind me of characters on a child’s television program, a claymation fantasy where the charm is in the imperfections.
Amy’s photographs aren’t all about the cakes, though. There is a deeper meaning beneath the layers: I am commenting on cake as a rich cultural symbol as well as the domestic fantasy world of contemporary home decorating magazines and television shows. It’s a fantasy world where entertaining, cooking and decorating unite. It’s a place where one needs to have a beautiful home, decorated seasonally, in order to entertain friends with gourmet meals and elaborately concocted desserts.
I really love the whole idea behind the Confections series and the photos are just mesmerizing. You can see more of Amy’s work on her website. You can also buy prints online, via her Etsy shop.