One boy was presented with sneakers (sport shoes) for his birthday. He ate them. He didn’t even leave laces. And he treated his parents with insects. It wasn’t a crazy boy. It was a crazy gift. In a good way. Sneakers turned out to be the tastiest cake from the famous confectioner Kuzma Lozhnikov. Not so long ago he created in St . Petersburg production of sweets and custom-made cakes of the most unthinkable shapes, sizes and colors. Among Lozhnikov’s culinary masterpieces there are cakes in the form of cathedrals and fortresses, sneakers and boots, pans with borsch and beer packs, cosmetics kits and straw hats. How do pastry chefs become artists? Why do people order desserts with mice and garlic? How much do author cakes cost and can you get rich in their production?
Kuzma Lozhnikov says that he loved to cook since childhood. His mother did not consider cooking exclusively female business. With pleasure she attracted her son to baking cookies and cooking soups, discussed new recipes with him and told him how to choose high-quality products.
Already in school, when most boys vaguely dream of a brilliant career of musician, athlete, blogger, or scientist, Kuzma knew for sure that he wanted to become a pastry chef.
At the age of 17, Lozhnikov plunged into studying the secrets of confectionery – he interned at a restaurant, where he mastered the preparation of dough of various types, understood how to work with chocolate, whipped cream and mastic, learned to decorate bake cakes.
Soon Kuzma became an assistant pastry chef at the Podvorye restaurant. After a while he headed the sweet shop of the restaurant Le Cristal. Then he moved to fashionable FermA (restaurants of the White Group holding) where he was responsible for production of cakes, bread and candies.
“I had a lot of employees. I remember when I first became a chief, I forced myself to go to vacation and was afraid that at work the world could collapse without me. And here I lie on my beach, and the world… did not collapse. Moreover, neither on the first, nor on the second, nor even on my fourth vacation. He collapsed on the fifth one. Well, nothing extremely awful happened… Just my regular guest sent a photo of the cake she ordered through my restaurant in my absence. It was BAD. And the customer thought I did it. Of course I explained the situation and sent her an apology. But next time she came to me only three years later, when I had already opened my studio,” says Lozhnikov.
The prime cost of WOW cake
Today Kuzma Lozhnikov has no assistants. At the age of thirty he opened in St. Petersburg own confectionery studio KuzmaCakes where, alone, he creates WOW cakes — the culinary masterpieces capable to surprise not only flavoring receptors, but also our brain.
It seems that cake in the form of a birch log isn’t baked in an oven, and is found in the forest: here a bark departs, there a saw cut seems absolutely fresh. In sweet sneakers you feel a wish to run a marathon, in a cap — a wish to leave on walk, or to drink water from a mug.
To decide to leave well paid position of the pastry chef and to open the business was not easy. Especially as own production demanded considerable investments — it was necessary to sell the car and to take a loan from the bank. According to Lozhnikov, he invested 1.5 million rubles in the equipment of culinary studio. He thought up design, and picked up materials without anybody’s help. Also he began to create.
The first orders came from clients who knew Lozhnikov as the master of confectionery business on “Ferma”. Then his “fame” spread through the gossip hotline and social networks where Kuzma regularly shares photos of the works.
The cost of the cake depends on its weight – 5,000 rubles per kilogram. Lozhnikov accepts orders for cakes starting from 3 kilograms, that is, the minimum price of one cake is 15,000 rubles.
The pastry chef explains that it is impractical to reduce the price: the creation of custom-made individual cakes is a very long and time-consuming process, and to produce the dessert both beautiful and tasty, you need high-quality and expensive ingredients.
The Russian market for original cakes is not that fast, but is still developing. There are recognized masters, such as the champion of Russia in confectionery Renat Agzamov with his grandiose multi-tier and multi-meter cakes “Romeo and Juliet,” “Fountain Trevi,” as well as confectioners fulfilling small
“Today you can find confectioners who will make a custom-made cake at lower prices than I do. But if you add up the costs of raw materials, electricity, packaging and renting the workshop, it turns out that for two days of work they will earn 300 rubles. Just to create, from the mastic, for example, a mouse similar to the real one, arousing delight and surprise, you’ll have to spend a couple of hours. I appreciate my work and time, I am responsible for the quality of products, so I do not consider cake prices to be overpriced,” Kuzma Lozhnikov shares his opinion.
Delight as a gift
Speaking of mice. There is a touching Instagram photo of a cake with a white rat, which looks into a mug of sugar. Under the post there are almost 400 likes and numerous comments — not everyone understands (and finds it pleasant) the idea with a rodent on a sweet.
Lozhnikov explains that behind many custom-made cakes there are very personal stories. For the birthday girl for whom the cake was intended, the rat is not some stranger, but very beloved one. And the episode with sugar theft is not accidental.
Among the animalistic works of Lozhnikov there are also cats and dogs in large quantities. The most time-consuming part of the work is drawing wool. Animals should not look like “sugar.” Cakes with cute pets are most often ordered to a child’s birthday.
For the New Year, March 8 or the “adult” anniversary, client want to prepare a more special gift. The fantasy of customers is unpredictable. What would you say about a cake in the form of a heart! No, not a nice pink heart, but a heart with all the anatomical details.
A lot of cakes imitate other, unsweetened food – burgers, piles, sushi, salad, dumplings, berries, chips, fish… It also seems funny to customers to order cakes in the form of shoes: sneakers, boots, etc.
One of the most original is a cake, exactly repeating a leather doctoral sack with tablets, a syringe, and a phonendoscope.
One of the most unexpected is a piece of not too well-fried steak. One of the most cute is tangerine duck next to the lotus flower. Cakes-buildings look very spectacular — snow-white Milan Cathedral, gloomy Peter and Paul Fortress. Somehow it is even pathetic to cut and lay out all this splendor into plates. After all, such an author’s cake is more than dessert.
“I noticed that large confectioners eventually move away from the creative process, retaining leadership functions only. I hope that in my life a cardinal separation with creativity will never happen. Today, cake is not only sweet for tea, but also an important part of an event. Cake is joy, delight, amazed eyes of birthday boy and guests, beautiful photos, bright stories, emotions, holiday!” says the pastry chef.
Author: Natalia Sysoeva