Popular for her multi-tier cakes, Bindhu was the only Chennaiite who participated in the friendly India vs Russia cake art battle. “I am an artist and used to do various art and craftworks. I started baking cakes a few years ago. Seeing the cake pictures on social media, my friends encouraged me to explore cake art. Since I have an art background, it was easier for me to create art on cakes. The only difference was the medium — earlier, I made sculptures with clay, now, I make cake sculptures. I am so passionate about making multi-tier wedding cakes — it is like a canvas where I can showcase my skills,” says Bindhu.
The home baker loves to challenge herself and recently, made a cake sculpture as part of the Incredible India cake collaboration hosted by Tina Scott Parashar where 150 artists across the globe joined to exhibit their work to celebrate India. “The sculpture was inspired from the Indian temple sculptures — the dancer from Belur, Karnataka predominantly. The June edition of Cakemasters Magazine UK edition has a feature of the work as well. I don’t receive any orders for abstract cakes because not everyone likes them. Celebration cakes are made according to the clients’ needs. So, at collaborations like this, I can showcase whatever I like. This is like an extended painting medium for me. I like collaborations because I get to work with cake artists from across the globe. Also, our work will get recognised globally,” the baker adds.
Bindhu explains that the time needed to create a cake art/sculpture depends on the theme. “It took 7 days for me to create an 8-tier cake called Blagodaryu vas, Russia (Thank you, Russia) for India vs Russia cake art battle. If there are many intricate details, it will take 2 or 3 months. Whatever the time duration is, the process behind making cake sculptures remains the same. Firstly, you have to bake a cake, then put a layer of icing and then a layer of fondant (edible clay). Finally, with hands and sculpting tools, you can create beautiful art or sculptures on cakes.”
After completing his three-year diploma in hotel management, chef Ranjith did a one-year bakery course at SRM University. Soon, he got into ITC Grand Chola, Chennai, and worked there for three years until February 2020. “I learned to make chocolate sculptures from artist Sivakumar who used to make chocolate showpieces for ITC Grand Chola, Chennai. Daily, after finishing my shift around 12 in the night, I practice making chocolate sculptures for 2-3 hours. I learned it out of interest. Sivakumar sir and other chefs were encouraging,” says Ranjith, who is also specialised in making pastries.
Chef Ranjith; Schwarzenegger’s image in chocolate sculpture; Chocolate sculpture of Batman made
Explaining the process of making chocolate sculptures, the pastry chef shares, “Chocolates stick together very easily; so first make a base structure with chocolate and pour chocolate over it. Then using a carving knife, carve according to the theme. For eg, if I am making a cake sculpture of a person, I keep aside four pictures of the person taken in four different angles. This helps to get the features correctly.”
He says that carving faces in chocolate takes a lot of time. “I made a cake sculpture of Arnold Schwarzenegger in four days. We cannot make chocolate sculptures with expensive chocolates because of temperature issues. I make with a local brand like Morde chocolates — there is no need for temperature control and no wastage also,” says Ranjith, who will be soon joining as a pastry chef on a cruise ship.