Art and Design KS2: Cake sculptures

Presenter Karim Zeroual is in a bakery trying his hand at some cake making.

Have you ever thought of cake decoration as art?

You might have noticed how elaborate and aesthetically appealing cakes can be, cake decoration uses many skills associated with art, such as design and sculpting. It is sometimes known as the sugar arts.

We Meet Lily Vanili, baker and master cake decorator, who is going to show us how to make cake sculptures out of fondant icing.

Lily demonstrates how she makes her renowned heart cake, using red velvet sponge, fondant icing and food colouring.

Karim and a group of children take up the challenge to create a cake sculpture of their own.

We follow them through the process and then see their end creations.

This short film is from the series Get Creative.

Teacher Notes

Before Watching

If you have opted to pre-make icing and/or cupcakes with the class these could be made as part of an earlier cookery lesson which incorporates maths and/science skills.

Find one impressive image of a cake sculpture to show the class and discuss with the children whether they consider cake decoration to be art, why/why not?

Ask them to reflect on times when they have seen impressive cake design and to consider the skills that might be involved in creating something so elaborate.
For example;

  • Art Skills - design/drawing/3D sculpting/presentation
  • Science Skills – baking/mixing ingredients
  • Maths Skills – timing/measuring ingredients

After Watching

Ask the children to sketch out some initial ideas for their cake sculptures, allow them to develop ideas around any theme or give them some guidelines.

This could be a stand-alone lesson with the children creating more in depth sketches that include colour and a short description of their design and theme.

Alternatively, this could be a quick task before sculpting.

Possible themes for sculptures could be:

  • Make a cake sculpture inspired by a character from a story or poem
  • Make a cake sculpture for your best friend’s/parents’ birthday, what would they like to see?
  • Make a cake sculpture that links to our topic or theme work e.g. tudor design/Islamic patterns/pirates

Ask the children to consider which 3D shapes are included in their designs e.g. a head could be made from a spherical shape.

Demonstrate to the children how they can use tools to join parts of their sculptures together.

Allow the children time to create their sculptures and remind them that if they need to they can reroll the icing and start again!

Master Skill(s)

Simplifying an idea into 3D shapes in order to make a sculpture.

Sculpting and joining 3D shapes.

Thinking Questions

  • Which event are you making the cupcake sculpture for?
  • What is the theme of your design?
  • Which 3D shapes will you need to make in order to create your sculpture?
  • Have you viewed your sculpture from all angles to make sure it looks 3D?

Supported Learning and SEN

This is a tactile activity which will make it very appealing and accessible to many children with SEN.

Provide children with as much support as required to complete the activity individually or in small groups if preferred.

Provide examples of 3D shapes that children can refer to when making their own, these could be sourced from maths resources or you could pre make some using the fondant icing or modelling clay.

Provide visual examples of possible cupcake toppers that can be formed using simple 3D shapes e.g. a cat made up of spherical shapes for body and head and cylindrical shapes for the legs and tails. You can source these through a simple internet search e.g. search for simple shape drawings of animals.

Extend this Project

You could extend this challenge by having children create cakes for an event that they organise, such as a community tea party or a charity bake sale.

They could choose the theme and event then spend time creating the overall aesthetic for the event e.g. bunting and table decoration.

Included in this could be maths and science lessons that incorporate baking their own cupcakes.

Children could review and evaluate their outcomes in small groups, discussing challenges encountered and what they would improve on next time.

Curriculum Notes

These films meet and extend the current national curriculum requirements for art and design at KS1 and KS2 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 2nd level in Scotland.

The films and lesson ideas will engage, inspire and challenge your children to explore their own ideas and produce creative work.

The films introduce children to high quality skills and knowledge in art and design.

The challenges set support children in becoming proficient in techniques including, but not limited to, drawing, painting and sculpture.

Through the films, the children will be introduced to and inspired by a range of artists, craftspeople and designers, they will experiment, invent and create work that links to the work of professional creatives.

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