See the amazing cake creations inspired by the art of the Blanton Museum’s annual ‘Great Blanton Bake-Off’

Did someone say, baking? !

In Austin, Texas, the Blanton Museum’s “Great Blanton Bake-Off” is fast becoming a local tradition. Using the medium of cake, museum visitors are challenged to recreate their favorite works from among the 21,000 works in its collection, ranging from Thomas Gainsborough to Ellsworth Kelly to Alice Neel.

Blanton’s head of social media and digital content, Lizabel Stella, came up with the idea at the start of the pandemic. With the museum closed, she wanted to do something to connect with the audience stuck at home.

“Art can be quite conceptual and baking is tangible, so in a way it’s a different way of consuming art,” Stella said. “Unlike baking, art does not necessarily engage all the senses; you can’t necessarily smell art, you can’t necessarily taste art, and you certainly can’t touch art. But with baking, you can do all of those things. And it’s a great way to bring them together, especially those who may not be as familiar with art or museums.

Professional Bake Off winning cookies by Hannah Erwinn, inspired by various works from the Blanton collection. Courtesy of the Blanton Museum of Art.

This year’s winning work is by Blythe Johnson, who chose to recreate Untitled, paintings of meanders, river by McWells.

“When the Blanton Bake-Off came out in 2020, in the first year of the pandemic, I thought, I have some free time, why not spend it trying to compete? It’s been such a rewarding experience that I kept doing it every year,” Blythe told Smithsonian Magazine She won twice.

Amateur Bake Off Winner Printed Mona Lisa Cake by Blythe Johnson, inspired by Mac Wells Untitled, paintings of meanders, river. Courtesy of the Blanton Museum of Art

“The paint colors made me think of blueberry and almond, and the rest fell into place after that,” Johnson said of her creation.

The winner of the bakers under 18 category is Georgia Chido, who recreated an untitled work by Venezuelan artist Luis Montiel. The 15-year-old skillfully recreated the intricate textile work to win the top prize.

Under-18 Bake-Off Winner Georgia Chido Inspired by Luis Montiel Untitled. Courtesy of the Blanton Museum of Art.

“The design itself took a lot of problem-solving,” said Linda Chido, the young artist’s mother. “Interestingly, Georgia used bottle caps to cut out fondant to create little circles.”

Winners received a gift card for a local bakery and a museum membership.

“It’s important to remember that it’s okay to take a break, not to ignore the things that are happening, but to take time for the things that move you,” Stella said. “It moves me. I am going to make a cake. It is very simple.”

See entries by searching for #blantonbakeoff on Instagram.

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