There is something about the delicious bite of a cake to which one can never say – No! But did you ever imagine the gigantically decked up cakes that you see on your Instagram feed or on celebrity weddings and birthdays are made with the help of carpenters and electricians? Yes, it literally takes a village to dress up a couture cake.
These cakes range from anything between one lakh and above, in fact when Priyanka Chopra had cut a shimmery red cake worth around 1.5 lakh for her last birthday, it had created quite a steer. However, when we caught up with Pavani Kaur, who is a sugar artist at Firefly India, we got to know that it wasn’t really a big deal. “We did a 6 tier 40kg wedding cake a few years ago which came around Rs 1.3 lac,” she said while talking to indianexpress.com.
Kaur along with her cousin Rasleen Kochhar runs this bakery which is based in the capital. A staff of five people bake the cake which is then taken over by Kaur who does all the decore with her team of three staffs. “Couture cake trend in India has been on the rise only in the last few years. Now people are into large and dramatic show-stopper cakes at big events. So much so that they don’t even mind having a few layers of dummies in addition to edible cakes to add grandeur and avoid wastage. Though they want extravagant cakes for the wedding, the style and look of these cake mostly range from being vintage to soft floral lacy cakes as that’s what brides these days lean towards,” she added.
Mira Rajput, who is based out of Delhi, had bookmarked Firefly for her wedding and when the beautiful couple tied their knot in the capital, they went for Pavani and Rasleen’s creation.
“We did two cakes for lunch after the Anand Karaj and one was for the reception. We had sent them our sketches and Mira approved it. Their brief for the Anand Karaj cakes was to keep it light and fo for soft pastels with a vintage touch. And for the reception cake, the theme matched the decor which was mostly teal, white, gold and lotuses. They wanted all the cakes to be low key and simple since the wedding was a low key affair. Apparently Mira had been following my work when she was studying here in college. And she had decided to get a Firefly cake whenever she got married. All their cakes were eggless chocolate truffle in flavour which was priced for Rs 3800 to 5000/kg,” she said.
Cake artistry is altogether a new thing now, says one of the instructors of Lavonne Academy of Baking Science and Pastry Arts, Bengaluru. “In early cakes, it was just one baker who used to make the base and do its decor, but now the decore work has become so vast that there are a different set of professionals who do it. However, considering the student’s demand in our academy it is safe to say that couture cake is not big a thing when it comes to learning. Most people enrol in baking masterclasses as a career shift choice, some do it to sharpen their knowledge and skill rest are come here to just understand the methods. Couture cake might be big in the sale point of view but not from an academic point of view. Though we have qualified professionals who invest time and teach cake decore,” he adds.
In India, it’s mostly Bollywood celebrities who introduce new trends when it comes to fashion and making lifestyle choices. Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas had cut an 18ft cake with a sword at their big fat wedding gala in Udaipur. Macaroon queen Pooja Dingra had done the gigantic five tire cake for Sonam Kapoor and Anand Ahuja’s wedding reception. “This was one of the hardest cakes for me to design because what can you make for a couple that’s anything but conventional. A couple that doesn’t fit into boxes. Something with layers, with textures, where colours merge and blend and shine. Something with structure but also flowing, something solid but full of warmth and love”, said Dingra in her Instagram post.
Not just weddings and reception, Rushina Mehrotra, who is a proud owner of Daffodils creations, is popular for making fondant-less cakes. “It’s been a decade since I have been in this industry and things have changed tremendously in respect of the kind of cakes that people want to have at their weddings or birthday parties. While the couture culture is quite old in the west, the Indian market has seen a surge in the last few years. Though India is still young, trends across the table have changed. The technicality that goes behind the cake unimaginable. Not just the baker, there are enginers, architecture, electrician, carpenter among various other professionals to do the math before the actual baking begins,” says Mehrotra who has a bakery in Mumbai.
With a team of six people, Daffodils cakes are a common addition to Bollywood celebrity kids’ birthday parties. The order she had taken was for Farah Khan’s triplet birthday bash. Seeing her work and peppy designs which suit for kids, Shilpa Shetty Kundra and Mira Rajput started getting their cakes from her as well. “They like cakes without fondant and my USP is less fondant more garnish, so the synergy makes well. They often ask me for sugar-free cakes especially Bollywood celebrities, but it’s not often possible. I cover my cakes with sugar-free white choco instead of fondant which automatically makes it less sugary, while the filling has sugar flavours. Also, I hardly add artificial colours to give the best quality product,” she says.
Daffodil cakes were also seen at Zain’s first birthday party – one which was arranged for the first year and one at six month’s bash. “Baking is still just a small aspect in the couture cakes. I have a team of six people which is a small team comparatively as we just have a studio and not a cafe. In the west, everything at weddings is surrounded around the cake – decor, attire, theme, buffet, music band, dance floor, food, etc. Slowly we are seeing similar demands from the bride and the groom”.