Slideshow: Leeds college students showcase cake creations

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For students at a Leeds college these stunning end-of-year creations literally are the icing on the cake.

After hundreds of hours of toil and concentration, the eye-catching displays produced by cake decoration students have gone on show at the Danby Campus of Leeds City College.

Helen O'Callaghan with one of the exam pieces.

Helen O'Callaghan with one of the exam pieces.

Head of cake decorating Judith Taylor, who has been producing her own remarkable handiwork for the last 32 years, said there was one key attribute to becoming an exponent of the art.

“Patience,” she said. “If you are patient, I can teach you, but you need to have that.”

The college course includes three levels of tuition – basic, intermediate and advanced.

At the first two levels, students learn the art of royal icing, marzipan and sugarpaste work to create cakes and models to a professional standard.

At the advanced level,which includes complex sugar work, students have to design and create their own wedding cake decoration.

Among the more than 150 exhibits are a haunted castle, a novel wedding cake display of a bird bride and groom atop a pile of cushions and a tree trunk base.

But, as good as they look, they’re merely a feast for the eyes, not for the tastebuds – the decorations are crafted around a polystyrene dummy base rather than an actual cake. Mrs Taylor, who said that the students had spent several hours a week since Christmas working on the displays, added: “The standard is excellent, a lot of work has gone into them.”

The college has specialised in delivering craft and plant bakery, patisserie and confectionery training for more than 70 years.

It has its own commercial bakery at the Thomas Danby Campus, on Roundhay Road, where trainees can put their knowledge into practice after learning their trade in the numerous on-site kitchens, which are kitted out with equipment found in professional bakeries.

The cake decorating exhibition has been run at the campus every year since it opened its doors in 1977.

This year’s display, which finishes today, will be the last one in the building before the campus closes ahead of a planned move to the new Printworks Campus, in Hunslet Road, Hunslet.

Many of those who take the cake decorating course hope to go on to forge careers in the industry.


Cake decorating can be traced back to the mid-17th century, when it was employed to create elaborate desserts for feasts and banquets for the aristocracy

Its popularity grew in the mid-19th century. as the French began to serve dessert as a separate course

The advent of the temperature-controlled oven and baking soda and baking powder in the 1840s revolutionised cake making

Around 1929, Wilton Enterprises began to advertise formal cake decorating classes, which became a huge success

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