Rock Star: Geode Cakes Are Still Going Strong
In January 2016, Rachael Teufel, cake designer at Intricate Icings in Denver, Colorado, created one of the first geode cakes and posted it online. The image quickly went viral, launching a cake decorating trend that continues to inspire pastry chefs and consumers across the nation.
According to Mark Seaman, CMSA, of Barry Callebaut, “The Geode Cake trend was explosive; it took hold quickly over a large geographic band making it one of the most recognizable design concepts in recent years.”
By early September, the concept had migrated to Philadelphia for the renowned hip-hop artist Beyonce’s 36th birthday party. Her birthday cake was produced by Philadelphia’s influential Cake Life Bakeshop. Beyonce’s husband, Jay-Z, was in town for his annual labor day Made in America music festival, and the couple needed a striking cake for her birthday party. “Their team gave us total freedom,” said Lily Fischer, owner of Cake Life Bakeshop. She and her pastry chef, Rebecca Craig, took inspiration for this design from Beyonce’s devoted fan club, the Bey Hive (pronounced like bee hive). The name is a reference to the fierceness and sweetness of Beyonce’s fans, who patrol social media and defend her honor when they deem it necessary. She is also referred to as “The Queen Bee”, so black, yellow, and gold seemed appropriate colors.
With a primarily black fondant exterior that mirrored her fans’ toughness, and honey lavender cake soaked in white wine syrup with goat cheese frosting on the interior, the cake’s geode decor joined these elements to create a unified and high-impact presentation.
It is possible to use the geode design more subtly. Rachael Teufel produced a light blue geode as a design focal element on a mostly white cake. Quiet or loud, a geode cake requires extraordinarily precise detail, belying its natural appearance.
“The process of designing a geode cake is very similar to a traditional cake, with the exception of adding additional support to the cavern, once the cake is carved away. The edible geode is made from a combination of granulated sugar and rock candy, and then crafted within a fondant-covered cavern encircled with multicolored modeling chocolate to create the look of stone,” says Rachael.
With a quieter appearance, flavor becomes more important in a geode cake. Teufel’s light blue cake featured three flavor combinations: vanilla bean cake with fresh strawberry preserves; coconut cake with coconut cream mousse; and honey lavender cake with honey mascarpone cream. Her amethyst Geode Cake, visually bolder, had only one flavor – her signature zucchini lime cake with cream cheese icing. She likes to include “rich texture, deep colors, and lots of light – letting the natural beauty and shapes of geodes lead the design.”
With the geode cake having plateaued a bit since it arrived on the scene in 2016, it is now more of a staple option for wedding and celebration cakes than it is the next new idea. But for cake designers who want to expand their high-impact design offerings, this option is rock-solid.