Food & Wine: Louisa's devilishly clever cake creations

Louisa Glyde is a monarch of marzipan - a finesser of fondant - who can transform even the most outrageous requests into delicious cake creations. 

From savage sharks and free-standing chickens to Noah’s whole ark, there is not much the Kiama Downs chef will not try.

It is an impressive feat for a woman who, only a few years ago, decided to try her hand at cake-making after pulling off an audacious first birthday cake for her son, Oliver.

‘‘On Ollie’s first birthday I ambitiously made a 3D, sitting teddy bear and that was the first proper cake that I’d made,’’ Glyde says.

‘‘Before that, as a chef, I’d never really done any pastry work or sweets at all, but as it turned out I really enjoyed it.’’

Recipe: Layered passionfruit and coconut, white chocolate mudcake

Soon, the mother-of-two was fielding cake requests from friends, giving hours of her hard work away as gifts.

Using her keen eye for detail - a skill she learned working in fine-dining restaurants, like Neil Perry’s Rockpool - she quickly perfected her work and decided to launch Devilish Cakes Kiama.

The business gave Glyde the opportunity to recreate the joy of her son’s first birthday for other children.

‘‘Making that first birthday cake for my son and just seeing the reaction he gave me made it worthwhile,’’ she says.

‘‘I’ve got a video of him picking at the icing, just grabbing handfuls of it, so I think it was the reaction of kids that I first really loved, and then it just grew from there.’’

Recipe: Mini caramel Christmas tree cupcakes

During the festive season, Glyde’s creative flair results in everything from reindeer cupcakes and decorative biscuits to her delicious take on a modern ‘‘Christmas’’ cake.

Glyde says the red and green layered cake, filled with fresh, fruity flavours, is a great dessert option for people who might want a change from traditional Christmas cakes.

‘‘Personally, I don’t do traditional fruit cakes (because) I just don’t think it’s worth putting the oven on for four hours during the summer heat,’’ she says.

‘‘Whereas this is something that tastes summery - it’s got passionfruit, coconut, berries, which are in season - and it’s pretty light compared to fruit cake, which is quite heavy.’’

Glyde’s tips for recreating her festive masterpiece?

Approach the cake-making process one step at a time and use gel dyes to achieve brighter, more concentrated colours.

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