Cake shop throws art into the mix

Ontario College of Art & Design grad brings her skills to Cake Opera

They’re a custom cake company ahead of their time — literally.

Take a peep in the window of the new Cake Opera Co., which opened its doors at 1136 Eglinton Avenue West in December, and you’ll see a golden bust of Louis XIV.

The golden veneer of the seventeenth-century French monarch known as the Sun King is made of cast sugar tiles and 24-karat gold-molded details.

The custom cake business founded by Alexandria Pellegrino in 2007 is known in the industry for its artistic cakes, and so Pellegrino, an Ontario College of Art & Design fine arts graduate, could be called the Michelangelo of the cake design world.

“She’s unparalleled in North America,” says pastry chef and business partner Jessica Smith, who met Pellegrino in Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa’s patisserie program and joined the business in 2009.

“This is what put her on the map,” Smith says of the sculpted head busts that are Pellegrino’s specialty.

So much so that the business partners were flown to Los Angeles for Nicole Richie and Joel Madden’s nuptials to make a custom bust of the bride and groom for their Marie Antoinette themed wedding.

Pellegrino and Smith have been working from the Eglinton West location for about a year, but Smith says the plan was always to open a retail location.

Formerly a hair salon, the long and narrow space now features a consultation space and cake gallery in addition to a retail area and back kitchen.

Though the company’s main business is custom cakes for weddings and special events, in the retail section there’s French macarons, petits gâteaux — basically glamorous cupcakes, Smith says, and butter cookies, chocolate-dipped marshmallows and other sweets available fresh daily. A neat service that’s launched with the new location is the sweet table installation for custom orders, which allows clients to choose from four design concepts and customize their sweet table goodies to match the theme.

Integrating food with décor is a growing trend in the industry, Smith says, one that means people don’t have to settle for any old sweets table.

And if a golden monarch is a bit too heady for your function, Smith says they also design more streamlined cakes too.

About this article:

By: Kelly Gadzala
Posted: Feb 22 2011 4:23 pm
Filed in: Business
Edition: Toronto