The home-made sponge with a caramel treat smeared between the layers and smothered in vanilla buttercream icing is nostalgic, tasty and a South African classic, but, as the duo behind the LionHeart online patisserie told #Trending this week, “times have changed, and so must our baking”.
The partnership between the two baking enthusiasts – Nikki Albertyn and Karmen de Reuck, who have been together in the kitchen since they were kids – explores new ways to make a cake: towering skinny sponges are treated like little sculptures, but without all the marzipan malarkey you’d find from the likes of Cake Boss or other celebrity cake decorators.
Instead, their emphasis is on flavour – almost oozing, delicious icing – and doing away with sugary flowers, which everyone just picks off, anyway. Pastel colours swirl on the surfaces of the cakes, becoming abstract paintings up close – a technique that Albertyn calls the “seminude”.
The design process happens in the kitchen, she says, not on the page. “It’s a spur of the moment kind of decision. We never design a cake – it takes shape while we’re working on it. “The danger is that a lot of it is left up to chance, but I think that both of us have a good eye for taste, and that becomes something we really rely on.”
But, there is definitely a signature look to a LionHeart cake. “We prefer the taller cakes, even though a lot of people look at them and ask: ‘How do you cut them?’ But that’s not important to us, we figure that if it looks good and it tastes good, then it’s a good cake. How you eat it is up to you,” she says.
What’s the future of cake? Think organic, Albertyn says.
“Definitely a combination of bright colours with florals; the seminaked-style cake will stick around for a while. Lots of fresh florals and flowing lines that move away from the fondant style of cake.”