Culinary Arts students design wedding cakes: Meet Madelyn

From multiple layers to decadent piping and icing, Austin Community College District (ACC) Culinary Arts students showed off their final projects for the wedding cake class. The program hosted a free community tasting on Thursday, May 2.

For the final project, the students were tasked with making a wedding-style buttercream cake, but were challenged to use a nontraditional wedding cake style. Decoration themes included under the sea, succulents, R2-D2, and more.

One of those students was Madelyn. She started at ACC as a Graphic Design student but changed to study Baking and Pastry Art, which she expects to complete this fall. Her cake was inspired by the 70s aesthetic and shag carpeting. 

Three tiered cake colored in orange, green, brown, and yellow Three tiered cake colored in orange, green, brown, and yellow
Four tiered chocolate cake Four tiered chocolate cake
Four tiered white cake with top layers angeled Four tiered white cake with top layers angeled

Hear more about her path to pastry making.

Why did you choose ACC?

It seemed like the most affordable option. I never wanted to go to university, and my high school mentors highly recommended ACC.

What made you want to pursue culinary arts?

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. 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. I always loved to bake, so I took a stab at the Culinary Arts program, and I’m glad I did. I’ve learned more than I could’ve ever learned and met so many great people in my classes.

Can you tell me a bit about this class, and your cake? What was the inspiration behind it?

Wedding Cakes is exactly as described: a class about decorating wedding cakes. Half of the semester was spent creating a “dummy cake,” a styrofoam cake covered in royal icing (see photo below). The last half was about buttercream cakes, which would be our final. Ironically enough, it couldn’t be themed as a wedding cake, so I went with the 70s. Specifically, “shag carpet.” I wanted a cake with a lot of color and texture, and although the colors didn’t come out as I had planned, I think the theme still translated well.

What has been one of your favorite experiences at ACC?

Everything about the pies and tarts class–and don’t tell her I said this–but Chef [Stephanie] Herrington greatly impacted me this semester. She helped me find my confidence, and I’m so glad I learned from her.

What are your future career and educational goals?

Not to sound cliché, but I never really saw myself graduating. Not that I couldn’t do it, but it felt like one of those things I would never attain. Only during this semester did I realize how close I was to finishing, seeing all my hard work and long hours pay off. I’m hoping to work somewhere I love and where I can bring a smile to others’ faces. Everyone deserves a bit of kindness, and I went to help spread it.

What would you tell someone considering applying for college?

Apply for scholarships and financial aid. There are so many scholarships out there that can help you achieve your goals without breaking the bank…mostly. A lot of them are just never applied for!

Be kind to others, believe in yourself, and always aim for happiness. You only live once, so make this life one for the books.

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