When Shrimps founder Hannah Weiland tied the knot in 2018, her wedding cake was an outlandish four-tiered confection reminiscent of the one from Elvis Presley’s and Priscilla Wagner’s wedding in 1967.
Little did we know how that was a taste of things to come.
Flash forward to 2021 and heavily decorated retro-influenced cakes that seem to leap out of our parents’ wedding albums have taken on a whole new meaning in terms of aesthetic and what they represent today.
Kitschy, gaudy, and ornate, we’re talking layers of buttercream frosting, pastel colours, ribboning motifs, cursive text and details like pearls, glazed cherries or even tiara toppers.
While LinLin Cake Shop does not ship to Singapore, we are total stans of this Malaysia baker for her editorial-style shots of her cakes.
Style-wise, the vintage and lacey decorations of these cakes could very well make them be inside the set of a production set a Sofia Coppola, Wes Anderson, Gucci, Rodarte, Petra Collins, et al set.
For starters, here’s a little history: the popularity of the style can be traced back to the cookbook Lambeth Method of Cake Decoration and Practical Pastries by British pastry chef Joseph Lambeth in 1934.
According to the site Food Timeline, the intricate over-piping technique became in vogue up to the ‘50s, before being overtaken by decorating styles using fondant.
Thanks to the pandemic and the time home bakers have on hand during the circuit breaker and quarantine, cakes ala Lambeth are having a renaissance and reappearing on our feed in the past year.
The movement’s gotten so popular that there are Instagram accounts dedicated solely to this style of vintage cakes. Ones that caught our eye include @cuteasscakes, which features a wide range of vintage cake bakers from the US and UK.
The trend has blown up in Korea too, with baking accounts like @mondue and at @juujuucake gaining large followings. Closer to home, Malaysia-based @linlin_cake, whose eye-popping multi-tiered cakes are shot against Victorian-eque backdrop, have become our guilty indulgence.
Aida Dolrahim of Baked gives a tongue-in-cheek spin to retro cakes.
The cake has also served as the perfect M.O. of activism and social awareness. The irony is not lost as the outspoken crowd uses something as saccharine sweet and domestic as cakes to shout out slogans/causes pertaining to topics like politics and mental health in icing. (Some messages that have been spotted include “KILL NAZIS,” “Never Too Much” – you get the picture.)
“Vintage and retro-styled cakes are having their moment again, and this could largely be fueled by quarantine baking,” observes baker Aida Dolrahim, who runs IG-based Baked (@baked.sg). “I feel these types of frilly buttercream cakes are nostalgic and remind people of birthday cakes from their childhood.”
Baker Cindy Li of Yoyosummer (@yoyosummer_sg) started making vintage cakes during the CB and hasn’t stopped since. “I was inspired by IG posts of vintage cakes from South Korea,” she says. “The vintage cake designs are all colourful and exquisite − looking at them makes me cheerful and my customers feel the same.”
Ahead, we spotlight some bakers who have put their own spin on their Lambeth-esque creations.