Bastien Blanc-Tailleur is a luxury cake artist based in Paris, catering to the most discerning clients throughout Paris and beyond. From fairytale weddings at Chateau de Vaux le Vicomte, to lavish celebrations at the Paris Opera House, Bastien’s cakes always offer a show stopping focal point with towering tiers, handcrafted moldings, and the most meticulous details. We had a chat with the Parisian cake artist to learn more about his work, the creative process, and what couples can expect when working with a top wedding cake designer.
GO: How did you get started as a luxury cake artist?
BBT: I began with a very scholastic approach, focusing on the basics of pastry making. My apprenticeship lasted over 4 years, because French pastry making is very elaborate, with a myriad of techniques to be mastered.
I then went on to work for some first-rate pastry-makers where I was able to begin developing the artistic side of my job and sculpting with chocolate and sugar. These companies, of course, had me already working on wedding cakes for their clients. I then decided to create my own luxury brand to offer my services and develop a personal vision of the profession.
Today, I spend virtually all of my time creating and designing. I’m very lucky, because in many cases the job of pastry making can be quite repetitive.
GO: How would you describe your signature cake aesthetic?
BBT: I try hard to vary my work; I never make the same thing twice. All of my creations are custom-made which is why my cakes can sometimes be very different in terms of design and taste.
I adapt to the wants and needs of each client. Today, clients call on me not only for my artistic skills and the aesthetic quality of my cakes, but also for my solid pastry-making experience and savoir-faire.
I love cakes with their own signature flavor, and which represent French pastry-making tradition and savoir-faire, unrivaled even in today’s world.
I must admit, I love making cakes decorated with sugar flowers. I also draw my inspiration from the decorative arts – for example, I create a lot of baroque-style decors using acanthus leaves, palmettes and decorative moldings made of sugar.
GO: What are some of your most popular cake flavors? Can you create a custom cake flavor or filling for a couple?
BBT: I offer my clients a wide range of recipes to choose from, but I very often end up creating personalized recipes for them. One of my favorite recipes is for a cake made of a lemon Madeleine sponge cake, rhubarb and strawberry confit, and a light lemon and elderflower mousse.
GO: How long does it take to design an ornate, multi-tiered wedding cake and how far in advance should a couple place their order?
BBT: The most time-consuming part of the cakemaking process is making the sugar decorations and flowers. The whole process can sometimes take months, which is no problem because sugar decorations can be stored for long periods. Once the decorations are completed, I can then make the cake and finally decorate it, with patience.
Some decors require several hundred hours of work, which is why I can only accept a limited number of orders at a time. Usually, couples contact me a little under one year in advance. This ensures that I will be available and present on their wedding day. I can also handle very urgent orders, but they often generate extra costs because I have to manage a huge quantity of work in a very short time.
GO: Flowers are always a popular choice for wedding cake décor, but what are some other options for creating that wedding cake “wow” factor?
BBT: It’s true that flowers are one of the best-loved traditions on wedding cakes. But there are many other ways to create a WOW effect: by using moldings or copying the designs and embroidery from the bride’s dress, for example.
I always strive to design a cake that fits seamlessly into the celebration – one that goes with the room decorations and the wedding colors. Sometimes we can tie everything together by including the married couple’s initials or copying the designs on the invitations.
Once, I was asked to make a giant cake which was an exact replica of one the most famous French castles – the same castle where the wedding was held! This created a memorable moment for the bride and groom, as well as all of their guests.
GO: Where do you find the inspiration behind your cake designs?
BBT: To find inspiration, you have to be curious, open-minded and stay connected to the world and everything in it.
Sometimes I’m inspired by the work of other artists, things I might see in a museum, or at a luxury jewelry shop or someone’s interior décor. I try to reserve part of my time for exploring, not cloistering myself in my cake design studio. I engage in real dialogue with the other service providers at events – designers, florists, decorators – everyone has good ideas and we feed off each other.
GO: Do you specialize in any other desserts that a couple might want to incorporate into their dessert table?
BBT: For the moment, my business is mainly focused on making the main wedding cake, because I consider that my job is to offer the most personalized and most authentic service possible. I am physically present and spend a lot of time with my clients.
I like to give clients the option of using my services to offer their guests a gourmet goodie. It could be in the form of personalized chocolate bars, chocolate sculptures, decorated macaroons, or cookies.
GO: What is your favorite part of the cakemaking process?
BBT: While I love the part that consists of creating the decorations and making the cake to order, sometimes the most intense part of my job is all the work that needs to be done upstream. There are the sketches, coming up with the design, and holding any number of meetings to make sure the bride and groom have the cake of their dreams. This step is the most gratifying. Along with the big day, of course, when I am always on hand to set up and serve the cake to the wedding guests.