Lambeth Judging Notes – By Betty Newman-May – February 1985

I thought I would share the following information I found recently, in regards to Judging Lambeth Method Cakes.  This was great information shared by Betty Newman-May.  They are written the same way she had written the info.  A piece of Royal Icing history:)

The Following information was written by Betty Newman-May, Kathleen Lange’s Instructor 1980-1984 – Kathleen completed 150 hours in the Lambeth Method  Master Course with Betty who also taught internationally.   Kathleen as you can imagine was very honored to live in the same area and be able to study with Betty Newman-May.

FYI – 1995, 11 years after attending the classes with Betty Newman- May, Betty contacted Kathleen to have her make and decorate her doctor’s retirement cake; due to Betty’s blindness and illnesses.  Betty asked Kathleen, if she would make her special applesauce cake recipes and decorate her design for the doctors retirement cake? After completing and delivering the cake,  Kathleen asked Betty Newman-May permission, if she could teach the Lambeth Method Master Courses?  Betty was very excited and told Kathleen she could not have chosen anyone more skilled to teach and carry on the Lambeth Method.  As you can imagine Kathleen is very honored to carry on Betty’s legacy and by adding her own styles as well keeping Betty’s memory and skills alive!

An ironic note to this story, when Kathleen mentioned to Betty she would be opening her own store in El Cajon, CA; Betty asked the address, come to find out Betty’s very first cake and candy supply store, All About Cakes  was located in very same shop address Kathleen rented,  opening her cake and candy supply store..  How amazing to have to two artist who loved sugar art to open over 20 years apart in the same type shop and specializing both in Lambeth English overpiping.  Everything happens for a reason; you just never know:)  Shared by – Kathleen Lange – July 2014

Lambeth Wedding Cake - By Kathleen Lange, 1984 This cake was completed by Kathleen for her final project, after attending Betty Newman-May's Master Lambeth Method Class - All About Cakes, Lakeside, CA
Lambeth Wedding Cake – By Kathleen Lange, 1984 This cake was completed by Kathleen for her final project, after attending Betty Newman-May’s Master Lambeth Method Class – All About Cakes, Lakeside, CA

February 1985

Lambeth Judging Notes

By- Betty Newman-May – All About Cakes, Lakeside, CA –  ICES Hall of Fame Decorator- Deceased 1996

First let me know that for many years as I can remember, the Lambeth Method has been considered, by most decorators, as the “ultimate” in cake decorating; beautiful design, exquisite workmanship and color delicate where fitting.  The technique in the beautiful Lambeth book reach from the simple basic of lovely decorating to the heights of majestic regality and beyond; secondly, I do not consider myself and authority on Lambeth or any other method of decorating.  I am just one who loves our–sugar and ALL OF IT—and have been fortunate enough to have a bit of talent along with that love—and many people asking me to share both, for nearly 38 years (since 1947).

Therefore, the following are my personal interpertations on the how Lambeth could be judged.

  1. Design- the design does not always have to have a particular theme, but it always ties itself together, never leaving an unfinished look.
  2. Lambeth work should “flow” gracefully.  Sometimes appearing stark yet always finishing with a graceful continuity of line.
  3. There is a definite geometric line to most Lambeth work, yet with symmetry to soften.
  4. Templates on cake tops are always perfectly shaped; usually overpiped and always tie into division at cake edges, be they scallops, scrolls, crescents, “puffs’, or combinations.
  5. Cake top borders, though not always overpiped, usually are and with much expertise and precision, seldom over a line or scroll showing where one stops and another begins (again, continuity).
  6. Bevels – a bevel is really an extension at the base of a cake (thought occasionally, the top edge is beveled inward, facsimileing an extension of the top).  The bevel at the base is usually about

1 1/2” high tapering out to a flat edge and can be from as little as 1” away from the cake to more than 2”.  Of course, this should be taken into consideration according to the design and type of pattern to be achieved.

  1. Flowers – It seemed that the Lambeths LOVED tiny apple blossoms; violets, etc. used them lavishly (and/or used very few flowers, otherwise).  But, oh the beauty of the flowers used.  Each petal, stem leaf, sepal, even thorn, nearly always seemed to achieve perfection.


  1. Design – Need not always have a theme but if it does, tie all parts together, top design, top bevel edge, side design, and bottom bevel edge.
  2. Overpiping – Lines should be perfectly neat, no bumps, no nobs of icing in scallop, scrolls or what have you, hopefully never showing an ending or a beginning.  Overpiping tubes may consist of as few as 3 such as 14, 4, 2—i.e. zigzag, 14 overpiping straight 14, overpipe #4 and #2.  On center edge around templates or on top edge around cake with first a #16 crescent then followed by balance of basic overpiping by adding the #14 zigzag, #14 straight #4 and #2 directly on top edge.  Then continue down the sides in the same manner zigzag #14 on crescent, zigzag , straight, zigzag below crescent, #4  then #2 on cake all to be overpiped in this manner zigzag #14 overpipe straight #14, #4 or (#16, #5, #3) or as  many as #16, zigzag, #16 straight, #5, #4, #3, #2 and #1 or #199 overpipe #14 zigzag, #14 straight, #5, #4, #3, #2, and #1 or such as a cushion edges #1-#5 each direction, then #4, #3, #2  and #1.
  3. Bevels should of course in most cases match up with top and side overping on the cake.
  4. Wedding cakes- Know no bounds for height, expertise, difficulty of workmanship, overpipng and sheer majestic beauty.  Usually they are quite tall tiers, i.e. 6” round by 5” high –9” round by 8” high, 12” round x 12” high.  Drum cakes –top drum cake 4”x2”; center drum cake 6 ½” x 2 ½”—these are to replace separator sets or dividers making a lovely addition of cake.

There is much more—so much more, I do thing that all of you should student the Lambeth Book, then study a well-executed cake you have the opportunity to see.  Then Practice!!!