This is the next in our series of educators featured in our Bake Twentyfive issue. Each weekday, we will spotlight a new instructor or educator in the fields of baking, pastry, and chocolate.
Pastry chef Bronwen Weber, owner of Frosted Art Bakery & Studio in Dallas, creates cake designs that range from out-of-this-world sculpted cakes to the tiniest mini wedding cakes (made with special 3-tier molds that are just a few inches tall) you’ll ever see.
“Tiny little baby cakes are becoming popular,” Weber says. “You can buy a chocolate cup shell and turn them upside down, they become little tiny cakes. You can fill it up with whatever you want: lemon curd, marshmallow, whatever.”
Take a cake pop stick and insert it through two or three mini chocolate shells to create a mini tiered wedding cake. Then decorate as you wish to make an eye-catching treat. Or Weber recommends you can work with chocolate companies like Callebaut to create your own three-tier chocolate mold for ease of use. “People ask why mini cakes are so expensive,” Weber jokes. “I tell them, ‘so are diamonds.’”
Weber is best known for the amazing scope of her cake projects. Her cake showroom features a windmill cake that required a cherry picker for them to finish decorating. Another masterpiece was an oil derrick cake (after all, she works in Texas) that was engineered with the help of a boat motor to shoot chocolate 9 feet in the air. At the 2013 Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show, Weber and her husband, Francois Long, demonstrated the incredible behind-the-scenes work involved in creating a 40-foot dragon cake. “The hardest part about making a dragon is finding someone who wants a 40-foot dragon at their party,” Weber jokes. “That’s the hardest part of cake decorating. Six-foot cakes are so done. How about a 40-foot cake? That’s the hard part, but the fun part of this business.”
Born in Calgary, Alberta, the cake artist recounts the earliest influence on what ultimately turned into a successful career. “My first memories of baking were making a coffee cake with my mother standing on a chair to reach the counter. I was 3. I remember watching her consult the cookbook and thinking that I couldn’t wait to learn to read, as then I would know how to bake as well.”
She came from a family of five, the only daughter. Weber got her first job at a donut bakery in Acton, Ontario, at the age of 14, filling the donuts, decorating long johns, making pot after pot of coffee and burning the soup. “I was far better at donuts than that blasted soup,” she laughs. “I lost my taste for donuts for several years but remain fully committed to my love of coffee that started here.”
Weber is notorious for keeping you off guard with her playful personality. She makes everything fun. What Weber loves most about the cake business is that her days are anything but typical. “Somedays I am airbrushing zombie heads. Sometimes I am cranking out 9-inch dessert cakes for Neimans. Somedays I am meeting with ‘the fancies’ (as she calls certain customers), designing cakes. Somedays I am delivering cakes to Timbuktu. Somedays I am working on the structure involved in a giant cake. But typically I am super happy, typically laughing.”