Food Styling Challenge: Tidymom

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Food Styling Challenge: 12 Bloggers, 12 Cakes


The Food Styling Challenge is all about showcasing talent for styling food.  I have asked 12 amazing bloggers to pick any chocolate cake recipe they want and style it anyway they want.  The catch?  They only have $25 to do it!  Join us on the journey to see how they can transform a cake stand into a work of art!


April is all about Cheryl from Tidymom.  Cheryl is one of my favorite bloggers and has taught me SO much!  When she agreed to be a part of this challenge I was literally giddy.

Not only is Cheryl one of the smartest bloggers I know, but she is totally willing to share everything she learns.  Her blog is an amazing combination of scrumptious food and homemaking and photography tips!

And just look what she made for us today!


Malted Chocolate Cake with Toasted Marshmallow Cream

(be sure to click over to Cheryl’s blog to get the recipe for the mouth watering cake creation!!)

Malted Chocolate Cake with Toasted Marshmallow Cream


Did you find the Food Styling Challenge to be easy or difficult?  A little of both.  Generally I don’t give much thought to how I will style a shoot before I make a recipe.  I usually make it, them rummage thru what I have and start playing while I shoot. – I know that’s not how the pro’s do it, but, it works for me.  I’ve learned to just pick up cool stuff when I see it, so I’ve grown a pretty good collection of props.

For your challenge I actually gave thought weeks ahead of time of how I wanted to style my cake shots, and had items in mind that I wanted to look for.  Shopping second hand is what I usually do, but it’s definitely more challenging when you have specific items in mind.  I do have a large Antique Mall almost walking distance from my house, and GoodWill and a few resale shops in town, so I was able to eventually come up with what I thought would work.

Decorating cake is a challenge in of its self, so I decided to make this an easy one, and I found shooting a dark chocolate cake to be a challenge too.  It’s hard to get the right light on the cake,  without blowing out everything else in the shot.  That took some time, I didn’t expect.


 Malted Chocolate Cake with Toasted Marshmallow Cream TidyMom

Was the spending limit a challenge?  Not at all, I’m pretty sure I was well under budget.  Let’s see….. the silver tray was $3.50, the assorted silver ware  came to $4.00, the blue cup $ .50 (the pink cup I had), plates $1.00, books were $2.00, fabric remnant $1.00, blue mason jar $.50, glasses $2.00, the faux wood surface is a piece of wallpaper I had.  So that comes to… $14.50!!  All of these items are pieces I will use again.


What are your favorite props to style with?  Oh gosh, I’d have to say old darker pieces, especially pans and fun fabrics and napkins, I have a huge collection of both.


What is your favorite part of the challenge?  Pushing myself to think about styling BEFORE I even make a recipe.  I also tried my hand at more of a darker feel, by using my black foam boards instead of white.  I wanted my photo to have a feel that “is was a lazy day spent reading, it was getting late and I stopped to enjoy a piece of cake with a glass of milk.”  It’s funny to look at my first photo in a shoot, and then see where I end up, usually nothing  like where I started.

Kudos to you Amanda on all your beautiful cake decorating AND styling!  You sure make it look easy!

 Malted Chocolate Cake with Toasted Marshmallow Cream Filling -TidyMom


 I cant get over how delicious this cake looks.  I might have to skip breakfast and lunch so I can have cake for dinner!

Thank you so much Cheryl!  Please do take the time to visit the amazingness that is Tidymom. net.  And check out her Pinterest boards… over 100,000 people follow everything she pins!



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Be sure to check out the Food Styling Challenge Participants thus far!

JANUARY – Dine & Dish

White Chocolate Confetti Cake

Food Styling Challenge: Kristen from Dine & Dish






FEBRUARY – Verses From My Kitchen

Blackberry Chocolate Cake







MARCH – Inspired by Charm

Cookies and Cream Cake





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  1. says

    Oh my goodness, that cake does look delicious. They styling is wonderful too! I love this series so much, I’m a huge fan of behind the scenes things like this.

  2. says

    I loved how it all turned out. I feel like I take this challenge each & every time I set up to post every recipe. Styling is always where I feel I struggle. Definitely an evolution in my food photography through the years but for some reason it feels harder now.