Dine & Wine

Art History Inspired Birthday Cakes

Vithória Konzen Dill 13 July 2023 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.

Cake Art: Cake inspired by Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, and Jackson Pollock. Photography by Blue Moon Bakery via Pinterest.

Cake inspired by Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, and Jackson Pollock. Photography by Blue Moon Bakery via 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?

Cake Art: Cake inspired by Sandro Botticelli. Photograph by April’s Baker via Pinterest.

Cake inspired by Sandro Botticelli. Photograph by April’s Baker via 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 successful with the public.

Cake Art: Cake inspired by Claude Monet. Photograph by Cioccocakes via Pinterest.

Cake inspired by Claude Monet. Photograph by Cioccocakes via 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.

Cake Art: Cake inspired by Vincent van Gogh. Photograph by Meringue Bakery via Pinterest.

Cake inspired by Vincent van Gogh. Photograph by Meringue Bakery via 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.

Cake Art: Cake inspired by René Magritte. Photograph by La Belle Aurore via Pinterest.

Cake inspired by René Magritte. Photograph by La Belle Aurore via 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.

Cake Art: Cake inspired by Salvador Dalì. Icing Insight.

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.

Cake Art: Cake inspired by Wayne Thiebaud. Photograph by Williams Freeman via Pinterest.

Cake inspired by Wayne Thiebaud. Photograph by Williams Freeman via 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).

Cake Art: Cake inspired by Andy Warhol. Photograph by Alliance Bakery via Pinterest.

Cake inspired by Andy Warhol. Photograph by Alliance Bakery via 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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