AutoCAD software and 3D printers are allowing bakers to take their creative visions to new heights. Dinara Kasko shares the finer details of her architectural cakes with Destin Tay.
Kharkov, Ukraine is not the first city you would think for revolutionary pastry designs. Enter 31-year-old Dinara Kasko, a former architect-turned-pastry chef who has taken the baking world by storm with her cutting-edge silicone molds that taps on her expertise in architecture and 3D modelling to create stunning works of pastry art.
In 2013, two years into her job at Render Supply, a Dutch architectural firm, Kasko moved into her new house in the Netherlands with her husband which gave her time to experiment in the kitchen. Her baking hobby slowly morphed into a serious passion, as she began to incorporate her experience in 3D modelling software into her bakes. Cura and 3Dmax, software Kasko was familiar with thanks to her background, helps her manipulate shapes, lines and structures to form the digital skeleton of her own molds.
Kasko started full scale production of her molds when she ordered a printer from Dutch 3D printer manufacturer, Ultimaker. She started selling her mold designs in October 2016. The precision of the compact 3D printer, meant that Kasko could produce neverbefore-seen cake designs featuring all sorts of geometric shapes and patterns, such as Bubbles with Exotic Fruit, and Geometry Figure #7 cakes.
There’s something alluring about the prospect of cutting into a seemingly hard and inedible structure, only for it to yield a soft sponge cake covered in lime-basil confit and Italian meringue, such as Kasko’s Lime-Basil Triangulation Cake, with its surface of interconnected triangular tessellations. Her 623,000 strong Instagram followers, captivated by every new creation, seem to agree too. If anything, Kasko’s future is sweet.
What led you to a career in the pastry arts?
As a child I would always help my mother in the kitchen. I have a sweet tooth and it was quite sad that cakes were a rarity reserved for special occasions. Baking on my own was a way to make up for that, and so most of my hours after work became devoted to it. After a while it was almost as if I had two jobs, being at the firm in the day and baking non-stop at night, I did this for about almost three years. Once I gave birth in 2014, I had time to fully commit to baking as I was resting at home. I never went back to the office after, and moved back home to Kharkov in 2016 to start my own pastry studio.
How do you think your creations differ from current pastry trends?
Being well-versed in 3D software helps me to make more complex and precise molds. There are certain algorithms I employ to create repeating patterns and undulating shapes in my designs. This beats any of the simple geometric molds you could find on the market five years ago. I can create more elaborate designs, such as my Origami Cake, which is inspired by the Miura-ori fold created by astrophysicist Koryo Miura for solar panels in space.
What are some architectural styles that you’ve tried to incorporate into your designs?
Currently I am a big fan of biomimetic architecture, which is a contemporary concept about understanding what makes natural shapes and forms work. As biomimetic forms often require more natural curvatures, 3Dmax simply doesn’t have that capability. Luckily, I have friends who are capable in using Grasshopper, a programming language for the Rhino 3D software, which uses more complex algorithms and scripts to create models.
Take us through your design process.
They are often inspired by anything that strikes me as distinct. For example in my cherry cake mold, my husband sent me a picture of a bunch of cherries. I loved their natural shape, and I wondered how they might look if held together by an invisible box. I obtained the cherry model from Andrej Pavlov, a friend of mine who specialises in parametric design (a complex algorithmic process that uses a group of equations and rules to create a form). Then using my own software, I filled up an invisible box with them. Once the design is printed and the mold is cast, all that’s left is to think about the recipe. It was easy in this case; a cake shaped like cherries should taste like cherries, so I filled it with Maraschino confit and chocolate mousse.
Tell me more about your collaboration with Venezuelan artist Jose Margulis.
It was fantastic – it actually started when Margulis wrote to me via Instagram to compliment my creations. His sculptures, like the Purple Haze and Red Straits, were abstract and geometric, and featured various panels of different sizes to form a threedimensional piece on a two-dimensional plane. I had the idea to replicate them with sheets of chocolate on a cake, so I sent him a few designs titled geometrical kinetic tarts. He loved them and our new collaboration was born.
We hear you have plans to set up your own pastry shop in Qatar. What would it be like?
It’s set to open this September. Previously, I had only ever sold my molds and recipes online or made guest appearances for masterclasses or collaborations, so this is a brand new world for me. My investors are still deciding on the concept, but I will be planning the cakes; I aim to have around 50 different offerings. As the shop will bear my namesake, each of them will be something that I am proud of showcasing to the world.