Leigh Henderson – Cake artist, theatrical designer, PhD student, horror / sci-fi enthusiast, proud auntie, general builder and tinkerer
I’m told that when I was little one of my favorite phrases was “Do it myself!” which I’m sure was horrendously annoying to my parents when they just wanted to zip my jacket for me and get me out of the house. I still like to do things myself, even when I still don’t actually know how to do them. Thus, you can expect to see a lot of projects on this site that don’t fully work. I’m also working on a PhD in theater, so if I seem overly verbose or pretentious, chalk it up to that.
I started making cakes in 2000, purely on a whim because it occurred to me that I could put marzipan dinosaurs in the center of a bundt cake. Since then, I’ve taken a bunch of classes at the Wilton School (which, incidentally, are a lot of fun) but mostly I’ve taught myself by reading cake decorating books (I recommend anything by Colette Peters) and by experimenting. I have a background working in the theater, mostly as a scenic designer, lighting designer, and scenic artist, which I think is why I naturally love to incorporate light and movement into my cakes and why I tend to focus on cakes with strong characters and clear stories. I also have a life-long love of horror, so many of my best-known cakes look like props from horror movies. My most infamous cake is the Thorax Cake (grossing out the internets since 2003), which has been published in FHM and Ripley’s Believe it Or Not!’s Seeing is Believing. My other personal favorite cakes include the Melting Head Cake, the TARDIS Cake, and the Axe Cop Cake.
People ask me all the time why I don’t decorate cakes professionally. The answer is that I don’t want to. I’d rather have the freedom of an amateur, which allows me to experiment, innovate, and sometimes fail completely.
When I’m not decorating cakes, I’m in the process of earning a PhD in Theatre Research, focusing on the visual and material aspects of performance, particularly in contemporary American theater. I also enjoy pumpkin carving (I won the Grand Prize in the nationwide PumpkinMasters carving contest in 2008.), candy-making, and all sorts of general building and tinkering.
Find me on Twitter @LeighAnnCakes – I’d love to hear from you!