Dine & Wine

Art History Inspired Birthday Cakes

Vithória Konzen Dill 6 June 2022 min Read

Birthday cakes are an established tradition for many. Baking in itself is an art – a delicious one. So why have a cake that is only delicious? Make it beautifully artsy as well to satisfy not only the appetite but also the eyes of art lovers.

Humans have been baking birthday cakes for a very long time. In Ancient Greece, moon-shaped cakes were offered as a tribute to Artemis (the goddess of the moon). It was in the Middle Ages, though, that the Western birthday tradition we know today took shape.

German children received a cake with lit candles on the morning of their birthday. The candles, which represented the child’s age plus one (for the hopes of another year of life), burned through the day. Only at night, after dinner, the child would blow out the candles and make a wish.

Art History Inspired Cakes.

Cake inspired by Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, and Jackson Pollock. Blue Moon Bakery/Pinterest.

Later on, the Industrial Revolution popularized the birthday cake tradition. The mass production that came with that period made baking tools and ingredients more easily available. Even pre-baked and prepared cakes became more common because of that. But that’s enough of historic chit-chat! Here are some beautiful cakes inspired by famous artists and artworks to serve as inspiration for your next birthday.

For a Divine Celebration

The Birth of Venus, by Sandro Botticelli, is one of the most iconic images of Venus. Also known by the Greek name Aphrodite, the goddess was born from the sea foam – which explains the seashell elements in the cake. Why not summon the goddess of beauty and love on your special day?

Art History Inspired Birthday Cakes.

Cake inspired by Sandro Botticelli. April’s Baker/Pinterest.

Whether you prefer Michelangelo’s classical looks or Bosch’s crazy chaos, here are more Early Modern Art inspired cakes:

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Leaving a Good Impression

French painter Claude Monet was one of the precursors of Impressionism. The name of this art movement even originated from one of his paintings – although not with a complimentary intention. Unlike the first Impressionist paintings, this Waterlilies-inspired cake will certainly be a success with the public.

Cake inspired by Claude Monet. Cioccocakes/Pinterest.

For Fans of Nature-Inspired Art

Vincent van Gogh is, without a doubt, one of the best-known artists today. No matter how much one knows about art, they have probably heard of him at some point. With so many beautiful paintings to choose from, Van Gogh is a source of inspiration to bakers all over the world. This cake that looks just like Almond Blossom is almost too beautiful to eat – almost.

Art History Inspired Birthday Cakes.

Cake inspired by Vincent van Gogh. Meringue Bakery/Pinterest.

Here are some other cakes that look just like 19th century art:

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Ceci N’Est Pas Un Gâteau

To reflect on the illusory power of art, Surrealist painter René Magritte coined the phrase “ceci n’est pas une pipe” (French for “This is not a pipe”). He purposely created strange and confusing images that challenged the viewer’s perception. But do not worry about the following image: yes, it is cake.

Art History Inspired Birthday Cakes.

Cake inspired by René Magritte. La Belle Aurore/Pinterest.

If you’re in the mood for another Surrealist, though, you can make a Salvador Dalì inspired cake. Follow this recipe for your own version of The Persistence of Memory.

Art History Inspired Birthday Cakes.

Cake inspired by Salvador Dalì. Icing Insight.

See more cakes inspired by 20th century art here:

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Edible Pop Art

If you have ever craved one of Wayne Thiebaud‘s sweet creations in real life (as one does), then here is your chance. The painting Cakes is currently in the National Gallery of Art (in Washington DC), but the cakes in this photo are identical recreations of the ones in Thiebaud’s artwork.

Art History Inspired Birthday Cakes.

Cake inspired by Wayne Thiebaud. Williams Freeman/Pinterest.

A lot of interesting artworks involve food, so there is no lack of inspiration for baker artists. Another Pop Art icon turned into a cake is Campbell’s Tomato Soup can (not only in the classic red and white but also echoing the colorful works of Andy Warhol).

Art History Inspired Birthday Cakes.

Cake inspired by Andy Warhol. Alliance Bakery/Pinterest.

For more Pop Art in its baked version, see these:

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Missed your favorite artist or art movement in this list? Here are some other cake ideas to please pretty much every art lover:

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