The Rise of Reality Tv and Cake Decorating Themed Shows

In the Fire

Since the start of the The Real World on MTV in the early 1990s, the landscape of television programming has drastically changed. Reality television now accounts for more than one-quarter of prime time programming on broadcast networks. Culinary-themed shows like Top Chef, Food Network Challenge, and Cake Boss have been big names in the reality TV world. Ace of Cakes, for instance, debuted in 2006 on the Food Network and has since become one of the channel's highest rated shows.

Baking Pastry Arts

Shows like these have put extreme cake decorating on the map, initiating mainstream viewers to techniques such as fondant, handcrafted sugar decorating, and the making of gum paste flowers. The success of reality TV shows about cake decorating competitions or business have made cake decorating a major culinary trend, leading to even more shows like Cupcake Wars, Top Chef Desserts, and the Next Great Baker--all evidence that viewers' interest in decorating techniques are ever increasing.

Cake Decorating Techniques and the Art of Fondant

The use of fondant is at the foundation of most cake decorating techniques. Cake decorators roll out fondant in a multitude of colors to cover large surfaces of cake and provide a surface to play with. By using cake decorating supplies such as fondant, cake decorators are able to cover an intricately shaped chiffon cake with a smooth and unblemished white surface allowing delicate details such as flowers or human figures to be added for a flawless result.

Compared to buttercream, which is more finicky and difficult to work with, fondant makes an endless variety of eccentric cake decorating techniques possible with a thick and perfectly smooth surface as a base. Fondant can also be shaped and formed into bows, drapery, and intricate figures, making it one of the most versatile cake decorating supplies in any baker's toolkit.

Extreme Cake Decorating and New Trends

Extreme cakes are also the subject matter of the highly rated Food Network Challenge show where contestants handcraft monumental cakes such as candy castles and picture-perfect Disney characters while racing the clock. These shows have helped modernize and diversify the cake decorating industry. Cake decorating trends have evolved from the classic, tiered, pearl white wedding cakes to more elaborate, real-life inspired, colorful concoctions. Brides and grooms seeking the perfect wedding cake are now drawn towards more personal cakes that say something about their personalities.

Cake decorating schools are evolving to meet this demand, and graduates of cake decorating schools are some of the most creative bakers out there. Duff Goldman, the star of Ace of Cakes, graduated from the Baking and Pastry Arts Certificate Program at the Culinary Institute of America. Most of the cakes that have made this small Baltimore bakery such a success story are extravagant, larger than life desserts. Notable examples are his rendition of the Arthur Ashe Stadium for the US Open, an incredibly detailed version of Hogwarts castle for a Harry Potter movie premiere, and a galactic masterpiece for the Star Wars Clone Wars wrap party.

Cake decorating shows and their successes are definitely playing a role in shifting trends in cake decorating. With a degree from a cake decorating school you could be running your own bakery--or competing for big money on the next reality cake decorating show.

About the Author:

Browse Baking and Pastry Arts Schools & Colleges

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More


    See More



    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
            Show more [+]
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Students get real-world experience through the required externship at the end of the program.
            • Curriculum includes laboratory sessions, academic preparation and hands-on experience.
            • Program objectives are to provide students with skills needed for cooking wholesome, attractive, food preparations and to assist graduates in obtaining positions in the food service industry.
            • Accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF).
            • Has campuses in Melbourne, Sarasota, and Tallahassee, Florida
            Show more [+]
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 12:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
            Show more [+]
            1 Program(s) Found

            Lackawanna College is the premier, private, accredited two-year college serving the people of northeastern Pennsylvania. With a focus on keeping higher education affordable and accessible to our immediate community, Lackawanna draws 80 percent of its student population right from our own region.

            With a main campus situated in downtown Scranton, Lackawanna’s expanding footprint also includes satellite centers in Hawley, Hazleton, New Milford, and Towanda.

            2 Program(s) Found
            • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media.
            • A private post-secondary institution of higher education serving south-central Pennsylvania and northern Maryland since 1967.
            • Offers associate degrees in specialized business and specialized technology, as well as programs leading to professional certifications and diplomas.
            • Gives each student their own career services specialist who helps keep them focused on their goals.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            Show more [+]
            • Accredited
            • Accelerated Programs
            • Financial Aid