What are Magical Pastries? A cake can be delicious, but what makes it magical, is the overall effect.
Definition: Related to, resembling or using magic. Seems removed from everyday life. Mystical, enchanting, unbelievable, magnificent, beautiful…
These words are all synonyms of the word “magical” and vary with each person’s perception. Whether it be beautiful colours and textures, detailed decorations or the smell and taste of something heavenly, each person has a different way of experiencing a magical moment.
Because I’m an artist, I’m very sensitive to colours, textures and the “ambiance” which set the mood and complete the magical effect. I always chose a theme before baking a cake. This will enable me to chose the colour scheme and decorations accordingly because a cake can be delicious, but what makes it magical, is the overall effect.
Eating a cake from a polystyrene or plastic cup on a drafty train platform or at Mc Donalds after having eaten a hamburger doesn’t give off the same effect as if you were sitting in a cozy little coffee shop somewhere.
If people prefer going to places like La Durée in Paris (France), the Hummingbird Bakery in London (England) or Cuppin’s pastry shop in Lausanne (Switzerland) it’s because these places give off a magical aura, a place where the mind can wander… They pay attention to detail, ambiance, and decorations. These places are decorated so that when you eat your pastry, it feels like a special occasion. And this is what makes the experience so magical.
You can say that a place or object is magical when it has a special mysterious quality that makes it seem wonderful and exciting.
The experience of eating a delicious and beautiful cake will be enhanced if you enjoy it in a magical place, which seems removed from everyday life.
Here are a few examples …
For Halloween last year, I’d decorated the dining room and table to make it look as spooky as possible… Cobwebs on the furniture, a witches’ cauldron on the table by the window, with mist pouring out of it. I’d placed bugs and beetles in the dish with the marshmallows, orange leaves I’d found outside, were scattered this way and that…
I’d bought special stickers for the fizzy drinks with the words “zombie tonic” or “poison” written in block letters and red food colouring to use as blood…
The cake was covered with black sugar paste, orange pumpkin smarties, and brown chocolate sprinkles. Black plastic beetles and snakes were added at the last minute as a finishing touch.
I made vanilla and cream cupcakes for my baby shower last year and had fun decorating the table with blue balloons, cute napkins with blue elephants holding umbrellas, light blue lollipops for the candy bar, mint green candles, and many more fun accessories.
The cupcakes had light blue vanilla icing with edible blue and white balls and baby blue flowers made of sugar. The effect was sweet and yummy.
Afternoon tea with my girlfriends
There are many ways to set the mood and create a magical ambiance… while one way is by creating a magical decor around the theme of the cake, I also love finishing touches such as the way you present it. If you buy a cupcake in a transparent plastic cup it won’t give the same effect as when it comes in a little white box with a colored ribbon and name tag. In the first case scenario, it looks banal and cheap, in the second case you feel special, unique and the cupcake becomes a luxury you don’t treat yourself to every day.
Blueberry cupcakes with violet mascarpone icing.
Finally, another way to create a magical effect is to design a unique creation for an event.
I designed a golden coloured silk dress for the “Salon du Chocolat” in Bordeaux, France (An exhibit entirely dedicated to presenting unique and special ways to create and eat chocolate). The theme that year was seasonal products you can find in France in the Autumn. I created “Chanterelle” (which is a type of mushroom). I drew and designed this dress with the help of the chocolatier Lionel Martina from the Maison Pillet in Bordeaux.
I then presented it at the exhibits’ fashion show. I made a special corset and underskirt to give it the volume it needed and topped it off with maroon and brown accessories as a finishing touch.
The buttons, the lace on the hem, the bow at the back and bowtie in the front were all made from dark chocolate with gold dust. The effect was surreal and beautiful.
Accessories such as a chocolate and gold necklace in the shape of autumn leaves, a white chocolate ring in the shape of a ball with a dark chocolate leaf and thin milk chocolate sticks in the hair completed the “look”. You didn’t know whether to contemplate the dress or to take a bight out of it!
But the overall effect wouldn’t have been as wonderful without the aide of all the accessories and decorations…
There are many ways to transform an experience into a magical one you will never forget… my favourite is when you pay particular attention to decor and detail. I hope to see you here again next week: I will be baking dark chocolate and walnut cupcakes to announce the autumnal season…Enjoy!
Check out these two gorgeous websites I enjoy browsing for inspiration (and just because, well, they’re magical!) :
- http://www.thecaketress.ca/ (Lori Hutchinson i.e. “The Caktress” also gives amazing tutorials online: http://www.onlinecakedecoratingtutorials.com/tutorials/)
Check out these two amazing blogs I also enjoy scrolling through: