I was watching Alton Brown last night. He did a show in icing. He thinks cake is no more than a vehical to carry the icing. Rose Levy Bernabaum feels the cake is the star of the show. I'm sure many here would feel the decorations are most important. What do you think?
I'm not a big frosting/icing fan, so I think the cake is more important. Presentation is also pretty important, but it doesn't really matter if the cake is gross. I think the best cake decorators find a way to make all 3 elements excellent.
I think it is sort of a package deal - everything should be good. But I am coming from a decorator's standpoint.
The way I see it, I like to focus on the decoration but I feel it is a waste of your time to decorate something that doesn't actually taste good. (Competition cakes using dummies or dummies for wedding cake presentation aside...)
When it comes down to the average home baker though, maybe the decorations aren't great but the taste is totally amazing, which is really their intent.
I guess it depends on your own viewpoint and what you are trying to achieve. Guess I didn't really answer your question...
to me, the design doesn't mean much if no one likes the taste of the cake or icing. I hope my cakes please the customer in all areas!
Its all about the cake to me! of course I want it to be gorgeous but it HAS GOT to be delicious!!!
Icing vs. cake - I think they are equally important but probably a little more on the cake as I have seen people leave icing but never leave just the cake (well anyone over 3 years old). Look vs. taste on the whole thing - taste is more important. I hate being called a "cake decorator" (no offense to anyone)... I am a pastry chef first and a cake decorator second. It just so happens that I know how to cover my delicious cakes in a beautiful manner. The taste is what your guests will remember and care about long after the event.
If I received a beautifully decorated cake that tasted dry, was crumbly, etc., I probably would never go back for a second cake. I agree with sami7333, I want my cakes to taste as delicious as they are beautiful.
I have to say, after so many icing recipes...I'm all about the cake...but firt it has to be a show stopper...I usually scoop the icing to the side, but always appreciate the art work.
For my customers I try to achieve all 3 elements. For myself the cake is the star.
What a neat topic! I think all three must be great to make a great cake. It is terrible to bite into a beautifully decorated cake that is dry...what a disappointment! And who wants to eat a cake that looks terrible?
I would have to say that while all are important, I think that icing and filling should not be grouped together because they have totally different functions. For this reason, I'd rank them in following order:
I think a great filling really makes the cake. Whether it is pistachio mousse, dark chocolate ganache or strawberries and cream, filling matters most because even a boring cake can be made awesome with great fillings.
Cake is second because it has to be a nice taste/texture to compliment the yummy decadent fillings.
Appearance is next because it should be beautiful. I have enough confidence in my abilities as a decorator to know that it's easy to make a cake look good, so I don't worry about this one too much.
Icing is last because most people over the age of 4 leave half the icing on their plate anyhow. Most icings are decent, but I certainly don't live for icing with my cake. It's the gfillings I love.
I agree with everyone here. It's all important. I Love, Love, Love decorating the cakes. And, I've found you can't decorate it without a reasonable amount of icing, so that's got to be good. It has been my experience from talking to clients that most of them want everything. I have only had one client that "could care less what it looks like, the cake is the reason I buy. The pretty decorations are just a bonus." But I have many that say, " I got this cake from xxxx and it was so pretty but the cake was not fresh or tasty." I've also had someone say "not all decorators are bakers, you have to be both." Bottom line, you can have the most amazingly beautiful cake ever seen, but it's going to get cut and it's there to be eaten, so if it isn't palatable, what's the purpose of having a cake? Why not just buy a fancy centerpiece?
great answers. I'm a trained pastry chef and it's all about flavor to me. Nothing is more disappointing than biting into something that looks beautiful but the taste doesn't live up to the expectation of whats inside.
visual is the first way you taste something, and so I would have to say presentation definitly is first, and then taste! But taste for sure matters after the cake is cut
i think there both equaly important due you dont have one you dsont have the other!! and it looks like crap other wise!