You may have heard that we eat with our eyes just as much as we eat with our mouths. While this isn’t technically true, there might just be something to it. Enter edible arts! We’ll get into more details shortly, but essentially, edible art is the process of making food—especially desserts—more gorgeous. Home chefs might practice edible art in the comfort of their own kitchens, but the craft also incorporates highly technical skills that professionals use in high-end kitchens and bakeries all over the world. 

Want to learn how to use those skills on your own? Curious about what it takes to become a professional? Keep reading to learn more about edible art. 

What Is Edible Art?

Put simply, edible art is food that is created to be art. While anyone working in the food world wants their creations to taste delicious, people who specialize in edible art pay extra attention to the aesthetic of their dishes. They’ve practiced different approaches to decorating food using a variety of tools and ingredients. With enough proverbial tools in their aprons, they can turn any treat into a masterpiece. 

Edible art tends to show up more in the preparation of sweet foods than in the preparation of savory dishes. If your jaw has ever dropped at the beauty of a decorated cake or iced cookies, you have some talented edible artists to thank. 

Here are a few common approaches to edible art: 

Beautifully iced cookies make a fantastic addition to any holiday, party, or other celebration. They can be customized for the occasion and perfected down to the last detail. Even within a single batch, each cookie can have its own special twist. There are so many ways to get creative with cookie design. 

Check out these pro-level approaches to cookie decorating:

Flooded Cookies 

pink cookie
Flooded cookies have a flawless look. 

Flooding cookies with royal icing gives them a clean, neat appearance. Once you’ve mastered the basics of making the royal icing and applying it to your cookies, you can move on to more advanced designs that will rival what you’ve seen in bakery windows. 

Edible Markers 

drawing on cookies
You can use edible markers to add lots of delicate details to your cookies.

Edible markers are available for purchase online and at most craft and kitchen supply stores—and you can use them on top of a smooth royal icing base to create any visual effect you’d like. This is a great technique for anyone who wants to have a lot of control over their edible art. 

Food Cookies

ice cream cookies
Turn homemade cookies into any other type of food with a few artistic details. 

If you want to try your hand at several cookie decorating skills—especially piping—consider preparing food cookies. With the right frostings, piping techniques, and candy details, you can make your cookies like an ice cream cone or any other snack you enjoy. 

Practice Piping for All of Your Edible Art 

Basic Piping Skills For Cake Decorating 

Cake Design

Cakes are perhaps the original edible art. Ornate cakes were commonplace at weddings and other celebrations long before people started posting photos of their edible art on Instagram. Trends in cake decorating are always changing, but check out these styles of edible art that are especially popular on cakes recently: 

Bubble Cakes 

rainbow cake
Source: instagram
Have you ever seen a more whimsical cake? 

Preparing a bubble cake is probably best for bakers who have excelled a few steps beyond basic piping skills, but the overall aesthetic is well worth the effort. It involves combining cold water and powdered gelatin to form a thick jelly in a heatproof bowl, then dipping small greased balloons into it. When the balloons dry, you can pop them—and edible balloons remain for the top of your cake!  

3D Cakes

dinosaur cake
Source: instagram
Don’t be alarmed by this scarily lifelike dinosaur cake! 

In the edible art space, 3D cakes require some pretty advanced skills. Edible artists who specialize in these pieces will bake several cakes of various sizes, then stack them on top of each other so they can carve out the shape they’re going for. Fondant, piped details, and edible airbrushing work together to create a scarily accurate representation of, well, just about anything. 

Gravity-Defying Cakes

Source: instagram
You can’t help but wonder how a cake like this works. 

Thanks to dowels and other construction supports, gravity-defying cakes look like they’re beating the rules of physics! Anti-gravity cakes might be designed with a pouring or spilling effect or might simply look like they’re floating in midair. 

Art Cake Ideas

flower cake
Source: instagram
Those icing flowers look too good to eat (almost). 

There is so much talent in the edible art world, and art cakes give bakers and artists the chance to show off their chops. There are many ways to make an otherwise simple cake beautiful. Here are a few art cake ideas to try:

And that’s just the start! You can show off your artistic skills in cake form in practically any way.

Pastry Design

Cakes and cookies might be the best-known forms of decorative delicacies, but that doesn’t mean they should have all the fun. Edible artists can add their creativity to pastries too. Keep scrolling for some artistic pastry design ideas. 

Bespoke Madeleines

icing on madeline cookies
Source: instagram
These would look flawless at any brunch or special event. 

Getting the baking technique down for madeleines is a bit of a challenge, but once you’ve done that, you’ve opened up a brand new avenue for edible art! Use your madeleines as a canvas for simple piping, flowers, and other designs. 

Character Macarons

animal macaroons
Source: instagram
Can you even handle the cuteness? 

Character macarons are all the rage these days… and why shouldn’t they be? They’re adorable! To make a batch of character macarons, you’ll need to shape your macaron cookies according to the animal you’re modeling. You can add details later with edible markers. 

Enjoy Edible Art!

Whether you’re preparing it yourself or eating it, it’s impossible not to smile when you’re surrounded by beautiful edible art. Cookies, cakes, pastries… they all have the potential to be true works of art, whether you’re eating or admiring them.

Get Cracking With Cookies

Cookie Decorating for Beginners: Create Incredible, Edible Art 

Written By

Alli Hoff Kosik

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