Kue Batik! (batik cake)
Often cloth printed with batik images is mistakenly called “batik”. In the west, most people don’t realize that batik is not a printed cloth at all, but something much more specific and complex. Batik is a process in which designs are applied to cloth by hand with melted wax, then immersed in a dye bath, after which the wax is removed to reveal the design on the areas of the cloth that resisted the color because of the wax. This is called a wax resist and it is an ancient form of decorating cloth. It has reached it’s highest artistic achievement however in Java during the last several centuries.
Recently I commissioned my friend Cecile Gady at Cakework who has been making beautiful cakes that have achieved a very high level of artistic creativity for over 25 years to create a cake decorated with batik images. Of course it is not really a batik cake as there was no wax resist process used to create it, just as there is no wax resist used to make most cloth that is commonly called batik. Cecile uses a technique that reproduces digital images in edible food coloring on a thin flat sheet of rolled white chocolate. The cake is then wrapped with this edible “material”.
The images were taken from a very special batik from the workshop of Oey Siok Kiem, a Pernakan, or Chinese-Indonesian batik-maker whose workshop was in Pekalongan on the north coast of Java in the 1950’s. The style is called pesisir or coastal, because of the influence that coastal trade had on design elements of batik from that area. The bouquet motif was very popular in this type of batik and demonstrates a European influence. It works quite well on a cake too!
(Click on this photo to see more.)