These ’70s-Inspired Shag Cakes Are a Technicolor Dream
Some winning combinations are a no-brainer, like peanut butter and chocolate or croissants and donuts. But others are a little less intuitive. For instance, we never thought there’d be a good way to combine our dual loves of ’70s shag rugs and pretty cakes. Oh, how wrong we were. If only we’d had the visionary foresight of cake decorator extraordinaire Alana Jones-Mann. It’s all good, though. Who could think about the past when these beauties exist in the present?
While we (and everyone on social media) were calling these “shag cakes” because of their resemblance to shag rugs, we weren’t 100 percent sure Jones-Mann would approve of the name. Luckily, she says that the inspiration behind the technicolor, textural cakes wasn’t far off. “I find a lot of inspiration in textiles and textures and am personally very inspired by the ’60s and ’70s,” she tells Brit + Co, “so it wasn’t an overt attempt of representation, but definitely something I was playing off of.” Jones-Mann admits that her love of all things retro isn’t limited to cakes, either. “I’d say that 90 percent of my wardrobe is vintage, with the majority of my pieces from the ’60s and ’70s,” she says.
Being borderline color-obsessive, of course, we wanted to know how Jones-Mann settles on the palette for each pattern she creates. The answer wasn’t an exact science, coming from a true (cake) artist. “Nature, art, fashion, interiors, patterns, prints… the color inspiration behind all my work truly does come from everywhere,” she says. “It’s rarely just one specific image or reference. It’s usually a combination of images or ideas that I have.” Of course, there’s always room for improvisation too. “The palette can change once I start coloring the buttercream. I’ll often make alterations based on what looks best to me once I see the colors come together in the bowl,” she admits.
When it comes to creating the fringe-like lines, she says, “Some [cakes] take just a couple of hours, while others can take a lot longer.” But that’s all part of the journey to a stunning final product: “For me, the process is fairly meditative, and I like to work on them in segments, so I never rush them. For the decorating, I use a grass tip for some of the areas, but oftentimes I’ll use a small round tip because I want more intricate details or shapes.” (We can imagine that the more elaborate patterns really require this precision!)
Although these shag cakes have really blown up on Instagram, Jones-Mann says she’s not caught up in the hype. “I’ve been making the shag cakes for years, and just now they are getting more attention. But like all of the desserts, I make [them] for fun,” she says, a fact that definitely comes across in the spirit of the cakes themselves. And while she’s not too worried about making the next It-cake on Insta, she has gotten a bit of new perspective from seeing her work touch on a trend. “There’s something truly special about having a style that is your own, so it’s nice when it can be appreciated, but hasn’t yet been duplicated or recreated by other cake makers,” she says. “That’s only a very small window of time these days, though!”
What cake decorating trend has you falling head-over-heels? Share it with us on Twitter @BritandCo!
(Images via Alana Jones-Mann)