Here’s a fact: The 21st century has never been so fashionably delicious. We can all agree that nothing gives us a sugar rush quite like refined, sleek, haute cakes. In the age of contemporary, even cakes go modern. Nowadays, more and more pâtissières express their unique style with delicious cakes and sweets dripping with personality. Some opt for geometric detailing and surgical precision, some for prodigious art-gallery-worthy designs, while the pastry master Katie prefers whimsical, romantic, glamourous cakes that resemble the art of finest couturiers. Katie is the mastermind behind Katie’s Cakes, the most charming cake shop in Austria, located just outside Vienna in the alluring spa town of Baden bei Wien. Katie’s an über-chic lover of frosting frills and flowers, and a living proof why fondant will never go out of style.
A perfectionist at heart, Katie offers a unique palette of cakes, striving to deliver only the best products for dreamers and cake lovers alike. “When I was a child, my mother used to make the most creative birthday cakes for me. Coming from Austria, my favorite cake was and still is a Sachertorte, but I do not have a sweet tooth. I prefer savory dishes.” From simple to elaborate, she designs elegant and stylish cakes. “I found my passion for cakes while flipping through wedding magazines”, says Katie. “I was always creative with event planning, but planning weddings was my favorite thing to do. The wedding magazines contained many photographs of wedding cakes which amazed me. After I quit my initial studies, I tried baking home just for fun, but that hobby escalated quickly and turned my kitchen upside down into a professional baking studio.”
Katie soon enrolled in patissiere school and dreamed of opening her own bakery someday. Her dreams came true sooner than she expected. She established Katie’s Cakes a couple of years ago, offering some of the tastiest and most elegant custom cakes in Austria. Mesmerized by her impeccable work, I couldn’t help but ask what kind of cake would she design for Amra’s Haute Life in terms of fashion and style we portray. “I would do a cake in a rodarte style. Pastel colours, ruffles and flowers… Shiny rose colours. The taste would be elegant and fruity, including red berries, raspberries and rose with a vanilla sponge and thin layers of fine sour lemon cream.” Sound yummy! Katie claims that creativity is the key! When cooking at home, one does not always need fancy appliances, ingredients and spices. Katie’s must haves in the fridge are eggs, butter, and lemons. Lots and lots of lemons, the more the merrier! However, the secret ingredients she puts in all of her cakes are love, passion and dedication. She loves working with fresh flowers, but also makes sugar flowers that make her designs feminine and flowery. She states that designing cakes is much similar to designing couture- every detail counts, and with each new detail, cakes tell a different story. London and Paris serve as her eternal inspirations, the two cities where she pursued her pastry education.
As a pastry chef that comes from Austria, she knows a thing or two about the famous Austrian holiday markets. Since the winter is just around the corner, I asked Katie what is the secret ingredient of the magical market atmosphere. “Austria is known for the sweets. We are a nation that loves food and tradition, and we really have so much to offer! Punsch served at Christmas holidays is my favourite. We also have great Christmas cookies. Well, to put it shortly, we literally have a cake, cookie and recipe for every single holiday and event (laughs). The holiday markets are very traditional here- a lot of decoration, cute old cottages, especially in Vienna. I really love the Christmas Market in Schönbrunn and the one at the Karlskirche, both filled with traditional Austrian sweets, food and handcrafted goodies.”
Even though her signature cake is the Austrian Sachertorte, for which she has a secret recipe and a couple of hush-hush ingredients, I asked Katie to share a 15-minute simple cake recipe for my readers to (try to) make at home (myself included!). She gave me a recipe, but emphasized that we can all add different ingredients to the base and create our own style- nuts, fruits, chocolate chips… everything goes! For the base, you’ll need:
250g whole flour
200g crystal sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 tablespoons of oil (sunflower or rapeseed)
1pkg of baking powder
Here’s how the magic goes: Mix the eggs with vanilla, lemon and sugar. Then mix the whole flour with baking powder. Add it to the egg mix and then add the oil. Put the mixture into a baking pan which you already greased and floured (6inch). If you want to have it really fruity, add berries to the mixture and also chocolate chips that give a great taste! Extra tip: If you want to bake the cake without the baking powder, separate the egg yolks from egg whites and beat them extra. (I’m expecting to receive photos, people! Good luck!)
Photo credit: Katie’s Cakes- Barbara Wenz, Karo Pernegger