Celebrated for her unique artistic style, which blends food and the fine arts, professional artist and cake designer Margaret Braun is creating and executing an installation of “2,000 Sugar Cups – a reflection on kitchen work, on production and replication” at the Museum of Arts and Design, where she is currently an artist-in-residence.
As a young girl, Margaret, who was raised in a New York suburb, was mesmerized by the rows of cookie-cutter houses that surrounded her. Searching for her personal identity in this “environment of sameness,” Margaret turned to drawing. Fascinated and inspired by ornate sequential patterns, Margaret filled notebooks and covered any surface should could find with her doodles.
It’s really no surprise that as an adult she transformed her childhood obsession into artistic expression, and has become one of the most sought after cake makers and decorators around. Her work also translates into mediums beyond cake decorating, such as sculpture, painting, ceramics, pattern design, illustration, and styling.
To create the sugar cups, Margaret uses a combination of techniques from molding sugar to sculpting and hand-painting decorations. She works with pastillage, which is a mixture of sugar, gelatin and cornstarch that dries rigid to form the cups. Each one is a unique confectionery masterpiece.
Lauded for her incredible skill when it comes to mixing and combining color, Margaret chose to work in all white for this project. “Working in all-white gives me more freedom, and more of a challenge in terms of making them all different,” she said in an artist statement.
This isn’t Margaret’s first over-the-top project, she once made 2,000 individual mini-cakes for a royal wedding in the Middle East. Each cake was individually decorated and gilded. “At the beginning, we crunched the numbers and kept deciding that it seemed impossible, but, of course, it came off perfectly. So now I feel like I’m capable of anything.”
To see more of Margaret’s work, check out her book Cakewalk, which features some of the most extraordinary cakes and illustrations.
If you are in New York, you can watch her at work, handle the cups and ask questions on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m at the Museum of Arts and Design.