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Connie Cupcake, Creator of the World’s Most Divine Desserts
By Lauren Kathryn on Nov 15, 2012 at 12:39 pm in Classic and Glamorous
Recently, we had the honor of sitting down and chatting with Connie Dos Santos, the owner and artist behind Toronto’s Connie Cupcake, which we can confidently proclaim is responsible for producing some of the world’s most divine desserts. Though Connie has only been on the sweet scene for a few short years, she’s no diamond in the rough. Her artistry is well honed, and we literally gasped with awe/delight/wonderment when we first laid eyes on her dazzlingly intricate and deliciously glitzy creations. Part old-world regal, part shimmering fairy tale, part pure imagination, they all reflect an enthrallingly unique and distinct vision. Although many people are blessed with pastry skills, few can lay claim to pastry greatness, and Connie is one of those rare few. As the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling is to the world of frescoes, Connie’s creations are to the world of confections, and that’s no exaggeration! You won’t be able to decide whether you want to stuff your face with them or put them in a climate-controlled museum case. If only you could have your cake and eat it too!
Get to know a little bit more about the inspired, imaginative work of this lovely lady who spends her life “up to her elbows in buttercream.” She might have a few insider tips and a sweet secret or two to divulge.
How long have you been in the business of creating edible works of art, and what is the most satisfying or rewarding aspect of what you do?
Connie Cupcake has been in business just under two years, so we’re a relative newcomer. I’ve spent a lifetime immersed in a creative career in design and production, so it actually felt like a seamless evolution. For me, design is the base of everything, whether it’s a garden, an interior space, a gorgeously constructed shoe, an elaborate jewel, or a delicious confection. So I would have to say that the most rewarding aspect of Connie Cupcake is designing something over the top, something incredibly elaborate that will only exist for a short moment in time.
What or who influences your work? What are some of the inspirations, past and present, behind your work?
Well, Maggie Austin inspired me to explore cake design. She’s so brave with her aesthetic, never caving to what’s hip or now, always staying true to what’s “Maggie.” It’s taught me to try to work on my own vision rather than follow trends. Trends make everything look the same, while I find real beauty is in what’s different.
What are your favorite ingredients and materials to work with and why?
I love working with chocolate. I find it gives me the detail I want while being too delicious for anyone to turn down. It’s kind of my go-to ingredient.
Is there any ingredient or material that you don't like working with, or that you secretly hope never sees the light of day again?
I hate working with isomalt, but only because I burn myself constantly. I’m a bit of a spaz in the kitchen. But for some reason it’s marzipan that really scares me!
Do you have a favorite creation? If so, can you describe it for us?
I love, love, love meringues! I love the architecture of them, their swirls and folds, their simplicity. Pretty up a meringue, and you’ve got something really special.
What kind of work goes into making one of your creations?
What a great question! All my items are time intensive—not just due to molding, cutting, painting, and forming, but simply because most of my work is custom. The design takes time. When someone says, “How long did it take you to make that cupcake?” I always want to answer, “Fifteen years,” because that’s how long I’ve been developing my design career. I don’t say that, of course; they’d think my stuff was stale!
What do you think is the next big thing in the world of wedding cakes and confections? Are you seeing any new trends emerge? Are there any that you’re weary of seeing?
I’m not a fan of novelty cakes—you know, cakes that look like a purse . . . or a dog . . . or a shoe. There are a ton of talented people out there who do insanely amazing work at it, but it’s just not my thing. As far as trends go, I see croquembouches as a hot trend. Donuts are big, too. But regardless of what’s “hot,” delicious, intricate desserts will always wow your guests, so don’t be afraid to order whatever thrills you!
Do you have any inside tips to offer brides when it comes to selecting a cake and dessert vendor? What do they need to know?
They should do their homework. Choose a reputable cake designer and pore over their portfolio before even contacting them. Pick someone who has an aesthetic that works for your event. Also decide on a budget and divulge that up front. Most artists can customize your order so that it stays within your budget and offers you the servings you need. Remember, the time that goes into creating these desserts is a huge investment. There’s no such thing as a “deal” on a wedding cake if you’re looking for detailed custom work.
Do you have any suggestions for the bride on a budget who still wants that fabulous cake and dessert bar?
Sweet tables are an awesome way to get more bang for your buck! Do a simple cake on a tall, elegant stand. Your designer can choose base items that will save you money and intersperse over-the-top designs in smaller numbers. That way you still get your wow factor, but you have a tableful of delicious sweets to show off to your guests!
Is there anything special that you’re currently working on?
I’m currently working on a celebrity wedding, but I can’t divulge any info yet!
Do you follow bridal fashion? If so, what are your favorite looks at the moment, and what confections would they inspire?
I love, love, love Lazaro. The ruffles are to die for! His textures are really extravagant, and I fall in love every time I see one of his gowns. Actually, one of my most popular cakes is called the “Matisette” after Canadian fashion designer Lucian Matis. His last runway show inspired it.
Last but not least, if you could design a cake or confection inspired by any historical figure, who would it be, and what would you create?
As for historical figures, who wouldn’t pick Marie Antoinette? But if I could pick someone famous today who would inspire an insanely awesome cake, it would have to be Bette Midler—how fun!
Connie Cupcake is now booking 2013 dates! For more information, contact Connie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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