Cake designer Paula Stonoga creates elaborate sweet treats that are intricate works of edible art.
The pastry chef from Mise en Place catering company has been making cakes for more than 20 years and has decorating skills that elevate her baking into the realms of festive fairytales.
Dozens of designs range from iced heart-shaped cookies and cup cakes to elegant tiered-cakes that are festooned with flowers and adorned with garlands to complete their pretty presentation. They are works of fancy, whimsical and unique.
“The art of baking is in ‘eating with the eyes’ and having total pleasure in the palate,” says Paula. “Nothing brightens up a party, or makes a celebration out of an everyday gathering, like a beautifully decorated cake made with passion.”
Paula, who is originally from Brazil, studied at a pastry and baking school in São Paulo and has 19 certifications as a pastry and cake designer.
These include qualifications in flowers and cake design, advanced gum paste flowers, vintage cake design, French macaroons master chef, French croquembouche chef design, petit fours and entremets, advanced fondant techniques, and royal icing cookies design.
Extremely motivated, Paula travels overseas to upgrade her skills every year and has a “study studio” where she spends two hours at the end of each day testing recipes and techniques as well as researching and practicing new trends in cakes and desserts.
“My mantra is ‘bake from scratch’,” she says. “I fell in love immediately with the idea and I knew this was going to make the difference (to my cakes): bake from scratch, plus use artistic, handmade skills.”
Additionally, Paula also makes the ornate decorations individually, with some taking months to complete.
“I bake and decorate the cakes in stages,” she explains. “I respect the fact that the cake, after baking and filling, needs to rest to incorporate flavors before the decoration stage begins.”
When creating her one-of-a-kind cake designs, Paula often works from inspirational pictures given to her by customers.
“I enjoy learning about the person for whom I will bake and design a cake, what their hobbies and interests are, and their favorite colors and flavors,” she says. “The special occasion becomes a box of surprises, something remarkable and unforgettable. I get involved with my senses in the atmosphere of the occasion, and believe this is the most important of all my skills.”
Paula designs for all kinds of events from birthdays to weddings, adding a touch of love to every cake she makes.
“As a self-confessed romantic, being able to design and create cakes and desserts from scratch has been a dream for me,” says Paula. “My reward is to bring happiness and satisfaction to our customers. When I read the feedback about my work, or see the customers’ shining eyes and bright smiles, I am proud of my profession, proud to make a dream come true.”