Cupcake Monday! The Magnificent Artistry of Cake Opera Co.
Cute cakes have their place - it's nice to eat something pretty without feeling as if you're destroying it. But there is another level altogether in the world of cakes, an artistry where the ingredients are regarded as media, the edible kind, and cakes are masterfully transformed into objects of exquisite beauty.
Alexandria Pelligrino is one of these extraordinary talents. As a fine artist she travelled to Florence to continue her art studies, then took up residence in Bologna, the gastronomical centre of Italy, where she became enchanted by food. This led her back to Toronto where she enrolled in the Patisserie program at Le Cordon Bleu. It was here that she met her future partner and pastry chef, Jessica Smith (more on her later!). Alexandria went on to found Cake Opera Co. in 2007 and has since achieved international recognition as one of the industry's leading cake designers. One glance at her stunning cakes - and her! (below) - and you wouldn't question why.
There are dozens of incredible creations on the Cake Opera Co.'s website, so I'm going to focus on my favourite of the cakes for this post. In the header image we see the Masquerade Ball-inspired Morretto Mask, one of the first of her signature 18th Century French figurine cakes. The "doctor death" mask, worn by bourgeoisie to conceal their illicit rendezvous, juxtaposes the fawn in her arms, a symbol of birth and innocence. How often do we get symbolism in our cake?!
This is Cake Opera Co.'s Milk Glass cake which I think is my favourite for its simple yet luxuriously textured detailing, created to resemble 1920s milk glass. The original was created as the piece du résistance for their table display at the 2010 Wedding Co. Show. A milk glass collector herself, Alexandria studied and combined many of her own cherished pieces into the final design. The desired result was to be a sleek yet vintage looking cake, evoking interest with its dynamic architectural form and contrasting this silhouette against more simple, pressed glass-like motifs. It is finished with a spray of confectionary glaze to resemble lustrous glass.
The Château de Versailles' Galerie des Glaces inspired this magnificent Hall of Mirrors cake. Created completely of cast sugar tiles and 24Kt gold molded details, it was constructed as an ode to Louis XIV, Dauphine of France, lover of luxury and excess. I think it's almost as ambitious an undertaking as the Hall of Mirrors itself!
'Pomegranate' is the four-tiered beauty that was borne of a request from event stylist Cynthia Martin to collaborate on a project at The Fermenting Cellar. The Style Me Pretty wedding blog had chosen Cynthia to take a Bohemian Romance-themed inspiration board and turn it into reality.
The cake is adorned with luxurious hand-sewn ribbon medallions and brooch detail, as well as an evocative hand sculpted pomegranate crowning the piece which denotes mystery and opulence. I love it when the cake designer uses textiles as decoration, it's such a lush effect.