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Is this really true?

"Never garnish a cake with anyting that's not inside the cake." (or words to that effect).

Is that really true?

Someone said that on some cooking show (forget which one) and passed it off as some sort of well-worn tautology.

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  1. I call BS.

    Ice it with seafood and cheese if you want. It's your cake.

    1. I've never heard that one. But, I have heard to never garnish a plate with something inedible. I ate at a Panda Garden some years back and they put plastic flowers in my plate to make it look "pretty". I was a bit too amazed to complain.

      1. Haha, I'd put a maraschino cherry on *anything*.

          1. so much for cherries, nuts, strawberries, whipped cream, chocolate frosting, liquor drizzled over the cake (sort of inside the cake, but not really) --


            1. bakers have been garnishing wedding cakes with bride & groom figurines for ages, yet i've never seen a recipe that calls for "bride" or "groom" to be mixed into the actual cake...

              2 Replies
              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                WTF? What about sprinkles? Dragees? There should never be any rule about what to put on (or in a cake!) Absurd.

                1. No way. That sounds like some kind of weird 1950's rule like "Never wear white after Labor Day".

                  1. Poppycock. I put toasted coconut on the outside of a cake, but putting it in the batter would ruin the texture of the cake.

                    1. It's not a rule, it's a suggestion. "When possible, garnish the cake with one of the ingredients used in it." This is to give guests a clue as to what's in the cake. So the idea is you garnish a chocolate cake with shaved chocolate, or a strawberry cake or one with strawberry frosting with sliced strawberries. Any other decorations you'd like to use are totally up to you.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Euonymous

                        Hmm, that makes more sense. Thanks.

                        1. re: Euonymous

                          Many of those tricks of the trade originate from commercial bakers. Many garnishes still play an important roll in ones ability to quickly tell one cookie, pastry, cake, roll or confection from one another. A simple decoration, a particular chocolate swirl pattern or specific pastry fold, many others. For the home cook, maybe not as important; a bakery case on a busy morning/holiday, very helpful!

                          1. re: Euonymous

                            It also can be helpful to people who might not like a particular flavor or have a sensitivity of some kind to a certain ingredient. I don't have that problem, but it might be nice for some folks to see nuts on top of a cake that has them ground up inside.

                          2. My husband - who is not known to be a cook, and even less a baker - once baked me a chocolate birthday cake and decorated it with shapes cut out of ham. He said he thought the pink would look nice against the chocolate frosting.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Nyleve

                              He must know my husband -- he isn't one for cakes, but he sure loves ham!

                              1. re: roxlet

                                Adorable story!! Reminds me of the ode to Spam cake my roommate in college once made. Quite creative but an acquired taste.

                              2. re: Nyleve

                                OMG! That's hilarious...he's right, I'm sure it did look nice, but...but...but....