Endangered Cake Museum Update

Readers may remember the story of the endangered cake museum, a unique but homeless collection showcasing examples of piping, icing, sugar work, and other edible decorative techniques, from a post on Edible Geography earlier this year.

IMAGE: Cakes from the Kuyper Cake Collection.

In a stroke of good luck, Liz Williams, Director of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum (SoFAB) in New Orleans, also came across the post and got in touch. I referred her to Susan Holtz, the culinary instructor who had first rescued the collection when its founder, Frances “the Cake Lady” Kuyper, passed away in July 2010, until budget cuts by the LA Unified School District threatened its survival yet again.

IMAGE: Cakes from the Kuyper Cake Collection.

Following a trip to Los Angeles to view the collection, and some hasty fundraising, Williams emailed me last night to say that the Kuyper Cake Collection is now safely installed at SoFAB as a permanent fixture of the museum’s Tout de Sweet: All About Sugar exhibit, in the Sugar Gallery. The opening reception for the new acquisition is on November 10, 2012, from 4 to 6 pm, and cake will be served, accompanied by some sparkling wine to toast the collection’s founder and all those who helped ensure its continued existence!

IMAGE: Cakes from the Kuyper Cake Collection (note the rubber stamping).

For those of you not near New Orleans, the museum has also photographed the entire collection, so you can now browse its sugar flowers, rosettes, ribbons, and gnomes online. As SoFAB researcher Ilana Obuchowski has written in an introductory text, cakes have formed the both the visual and edible focus of celebrations from birthdays to weddings for hundreds of years, and their decoration is a form of edible art:

Whether crafting sugar into a mold or creating a character out of fondant, cake decorators are true artists. The edible ingredients are often times more difficult to work with as the artist must blend not only colors, but also flavors as cakes are meant eaten and enjoyed in addition to being photographed.

IMAGE: Cakes from the Kuyper Cake Collection.

A huge thanks to Liz Williams, Susan Holtz, Domino Brands, and all who have contributed to preserving this slice of cake history. I can’t wait to visit in person!

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