A New Cake Aesthetic

By Jessica Yoon | Caroline Hatchett


Jessica Yoon
Caroline Hatchett
Olive Oil Cake, Citrus Glaze, Wine Caramel, and Whipped Mascarpone
Olive Oil Cake, Citrus Glaze, Wine Caramel, and Whipped Mascarpone

Strikingly simple and imperfectly organic, a new genre of celebration cake is stripping off the fondant and displaying rough but beautiful interiors. Instead of gargantuan towers of pristine and seamless icing work topped with showpieces, a new aesthetic is emerging that makes the tireless, meticulous craft of the pastry chef evident, but not overwrought.

This more relaxed pastry vibe arguably originated on the coasts and their conceptual fine-dining menus (e.g., Blanca in New York and Coi in San Francisco). But it's moved inland and into the cake business in Chicago courtesy of Pastry Chefs Kristina Mack and Patrick Addison, who are pushing forward their cheffy palates and personalities in the post-mod cake movement. At Broken Tart, they're making expressive flavor profiles with fruity olive oil, gritty citrus glaze, and caramel-y marsala wine.

Edgy, thought provoking, and even graceful, the industry is taking notice. “There’s a great community of chefs, and we have great relationships with them. People are supportive. They want and ask us to do pieces for events hosted at their restaurants,” says Mack. More people are realizing the creative and market potential of the salaciously subtle, new, naturalistic aesthetic.


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