A Famous Chef Reveals the World’s Most Exquisite Cakes
In “Ottolenghi and the Cakes of Versailles,” chef Yotam Ottolenghi got the top pastry chefs to bring the decadence of Versailles to the Met. Here are the most delectable results.
Dinara Kasko, a Ukrainian baker and an architect by training, used a 3D printer to create cake molds with motifs inspired by plasterwork in the Palace of Versailles. She stacked three layers of berry biscuit crumb of various shades of red, which contrasted the white mousse on the outside. Sheer elegance and a mastery of both flavor and design.
Sam Bompas, of the British duo Bompas & Parr, world-famous for their colossal architectural creations from jelly, gave the audience the “poshest jello shots,” made from Champagne, Violet, Prosecco, and Elderflower. Sam set the jelly, which tinted the summer evening’s light a magical blue, in molds of various architectural structures including the Palace of Versailles and the Met itself.
Ghaya Oliveira, the award-winning pastry chef of restaurant Daniel in New York City, created Le Roi Soleil, the Sun King Louis the XIV, as a massive chocolate flower mask, with roots running down its stem. The flower was positioned in the famous gardens of Versailles, with stone pillars made of white chocolate and coarse sugar. The centerpiece was surrounded by smaller desserts incorporating elements such as chocolate sable, coffee cremeux, and pepper religieuse.
Dominique Ansel, the New York-based French pastry chef who invented the Cronut, created cream puffs celebrating the popularity of the dessert at the time. He shaped them as swans in order to capture “what was precious about Versailles.” Each cream puff is filled with a combination of orange blossom and brown sugar ganache. The little swans surrounded a life-size bird made of sugar with mechanical wings. Breathtaking!
Janice Wong, the world-famous chocolatier from Singapore, conveyed the soft curves of the garden of Versailles with vibrant sheets made of shiny see-through gum paste. These were dotted all over with her signature chocolates and mini-cakes, all flavored with ingredients typical of the era, such as chestnut, almond, marzipan, quince, lemon, and vanilla. She made a wax seal stamp with an icon of a fan she found in the gardens and stamped her chocolates on top with it.
Ottolenghi and the Cakes of Versailles is screening as part of the Hot Docs Festival