Cake Paintings Tickle Your Fancy: The Curious Parallels Between Cakes and Hats

Cake Paintings Tickle Your Fancy: The Curious Parallels Between Cakes and Hats

There is a curious relationship in the history of human development between cakes and hats.

On a formal level, cakes and hats can look quite alike. Both often have a cylindrical shape, a flat top or bottom, and they stand in similar fashion on a flat plane.

cake paintings by gary komarin

One black and white cake painting by Gary Komarin

Cakes and hats both function on many levels

Humans began to wear hats throughout recorded and pre-recorded time for warmth, for tribal and ceremonial events, and to make a variety of fashion statements. A hat can be plain and simple or festooned with feathers and lace and an endless variety of adornments. It can allow a short person to feel tall and a tall person to feel yet taller.

Similarly cakes have been made to appease hunger, were used for tribal events and celebratory moments,  and have moved into fashion as well. A cake–like a hat–can function on a great many levels and depending on color, size, and contents, can serve many purposes. A cake can be a simple dessert. For example, a sponge cake sitting alone on a white plate needs nothing else to really sing.

Have you seen cake paintings that mimic elaborately decorated cakes?

A cake can be highly elaborate, stacked in many layers, rich with frosting and creme and fruits and nuts of all types. At times one cannot put too much into or onto a cake. Cakes are used to celebrate weddings and birthdays, the arrival of a new baby or the arrival of a new job.

There are cake paintings that capture this elaborate, decorative flair.

At certain parties, a barely clad young woman has been known to POP out of a Cake.

One can see cake paintings that convey the joie de vivre of a scandalous lady enveloped by rich, sweet confectionery.

And what about elaborately decorated hats? What about marking celebratory events?

Ah, there are many. A Crown is a hat of sorts, a top Hat is worn during Presidential Inaugurations, each form is ever so plastic and interchangeable.

Gary Komarin Cake Paintings Curiously there has been an interchange between cakes and hats in language that has developed over time.

We hear people say, “If that is true, I will EAT my hat!” What an odd thing to consider as we do not often hear people say, ”If that is true I will eat my pants or my overcoat.”

We also hear people say in relation to an activity that was performed effortlessly or nearly so, “That was a piece of cake.”  Or, pointing to a certain challenge or performance done smoothly and without great struggle, “That challenge was a cake walk.”


Hat and Cakes and Cakes and Hats.  Playfully moving back and forth between the two.

To recap:

  • something we wear and something we eat
  • something we celebrate by eating and consuming, and something we wear when celebrating.

The Cake and the Hat sit on a common plane.  They speak to each other. Wear a hat and eat a cake.

They circle each other in the great Dance that is Life.


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