Austin/ Arts & Culture
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Published on May 22, 2024
Austin's Budding Bakers Showcase Unique Wedding Cakes at ACC Culinary EventSource: WhisperToMe, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

In a tasteful display of culinary prowess, students at Austin Community College District recently flexed their cake decorating muscles, unveiling a plethora of wedding cakes that were anything but vanilla. The Culinary Arts program at the college allowed the public to gorge on their creativity, offering a free tasting event that showcased nontraditional wedding cakes complete with layers of buttery goodness, but don't expect your run-of-the-mill white fondant affairs; these cakes drew inspiration from themes as diverse as under the sea adventures to succulent gardens, even an R2-D2 homage made the cut.

Among the budding bakers was Madelyn, an ACC student whose journey from graphic design to the sweet science of pastry art is set to culminate this fall—her final project, a wedding cake that screams 70s shag carpets with every vibrant layer, according to ACC's newsroom. "When I started ACC out of high school, my main motivator was getting a degree that could make me money. I liked art and being creative so graphic design is what I went with," Madelyn disclosed in an interview, "Over halfway through that degree plan, I realized that I would rather be happy and enjoy what I did in life rather than worry about how much money it would make me." Her passion for baking led her toward a sweeter path, where she found both a knack for icing and an outstandingly colorful community.

The Wedding Cakes class was just the right mix of artistry and discipline, tasking students with concocting buttercream beauties with a twist—they couldn't actually look like traditional wedding cakes. Madelyn's version, inspired by a fondness for the 70s, didn't quite hit her color expectations but felt on point thematically, she told ACC's newsroom. Her creation, a far cry from the conventional, boasted texture and groovy color tints that could've easily made it a centerpiece at a disco-themed reception.

Reflecting on her experiences, Madelyn was quick to credit her instructors for bolstering her self-confidence, especially Chef Stephanie Herrington, "She helped me find my confidence, and I’m so glad I learned from her," she shared; however, discussing her future, and she said, "I’m hoping to work somewhere I love and where I can bring a smile to others’ faces," her sentiments evoke the timeless trope that happiness, not money, is the ultimate career goal a lesson she clearly cherishes as she nears the completion of her degree, an achievement she once doubted was within reach.

For those pondering the pursuit of higher education—and potentially a tastier career path—Madelyn has a slice of advice, "Apply for scholarships and financial aid," she urges, there are heaps of untapped resources just waiting to be claimed by eager minds keen to bake their mark on the world. This morsel of wisdom was served with a hearty side of encouragement: "Be kind to others, believe in yourself, and always aim for happiness," because, in the grand banquet that is life, you really do only get one seat.