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There’s a bouquet of flowers on my cake!

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One look at cake artist Marlene Monfort’s cakes and you will know that it is hers. She makes the yummiest chocolate cake, chiffon cake, carrot cake, sans rival and Red Velvet cake, but it is her designs that distinguish her cakes from others.

Unlike regular cakes that you buy from bakeshops, her cakes do not sport a standard look. They vary with her mood and her customers’ personal preferences, so that if you order three chocolate cakes from her, each will have its own look when you pick them up from her place. The cake is her canvas, and icing — buttercream icing, boiled icing or whipped cream — is her medium.

photographs by dolly
dy-zulueta for the daily tribune
Cake artist Marlene Monfort.

On each cake top, she creates a garden of beautiful and colorful blooms that never fail to impress. After all, they are not the usual roses with swirls and leaves that outline a round cake or stand in clusters on one corner of the cake. Marlene’s flowers are huge ones that fill the entire surface of the cake and trigger your happiness hormones to become active. They are like garden landscapes or bouquets of flowers set to bring the sunshine into your heart. So, you feel good just by looking at her cake and feel even better when you are already partaking of it.

Marlene loves to hand-pipe roses on her cakes. With sure, steady hands on her pastry bag with different icing tips, she pipes out rose buds, just-about-to-bloom roses, and roses in full bloom in captivating pink, peach, red, yellow and white shades. Sometimes it is all roses; at other times, the roses are combined with other flowers such as daisies, mums, forget-me-nots, carnations and daffodils. On rare occasions, her favorite roses give way to an all-sunflower cast. The designs that she comes up with, she says, depend on the preferences of her clients, but more often than not, she gets to play with flowers.

“Flowers inspire me. Their scent, beauty and vibrant splashes of color make my canvas beautiful,” says Marlene, whose familiarity with flowers shows in her strokes.

The cake artist extraordinaire’s love affair with baking and cake decorating began when she was a child.

“I have been baking since I was seven. It was when my mom bought me my first Kitchen Aid mixer. After college, I took up a few courses in cake decorating. One was a 10-day, hands-on cake decorating course under Avelina Florendo in her CCS Baking and Cake Decorating School in Cubao, Quezon City. I started by just making cakes for family and friends on the side,” relates the proudly Bacolod native cake artist.

strawberry chiffon cake with yema filling and boiled icing has an edible bouquet of pansies,roses and daisies.

From there, Marlene developed her own style, which she calls soft floral art, and eventually made a home-based business out of it. She does not have a style book where she keeps photos of cake designs she has come up with. Her clients, who love her floral cake art, simply describe the cake design that they want her to make and in that collaborative process, she believes that they arrive at the perfect cake for them. Either that, or they show her photos of a theme, which she interprets far beyond their expectations. Chances are, too, that they have seen previous cake designs that she has come up with and thus simply ask her if she could do something along that line. Each cake design takes Marlene at least 15 to 20 minutes to work on, for the simplest ones, and much longer, hours even, for more elaborate ones.

Lovely ivory daisies with Callebaut pollen beads on this coffee chiffon cake.

How does it work? Well, they order cakes from her. She offers five basic ones — chocolate cake, chiffon cake, carrot cake, sans rival and Red Velvet cake. Her chocolate cake is rich, dense and decadent, filled with coffee pastry cream and covered with hand-stirred chocolate frosting. The chiffon cake comes in seven flavors: burnt butter, strawberry, blueberry, lemon, orange lime, ube and pandan — and feels like soft, tender clouds with the moist marshmallow feel of cream. Marlene’s interpretation of the classic carrot cake is moist and nut-free and iced with silky cream cheese frosting. Five layers of the airiest cashew meringue make up her Sans rival, each layer filled with yema and slathered with coffee, vanilla or pandan-flavored Italian buttercream. And her Red Velvet cake? It’s a moist, melt-in-the-mouth, three-layer cake with cream cheese frosting. Upon request, Marlene can make other cakes as well.

buttercream and whipped cream rosebuds galore on this pistachio sans rival.

These cakes come in seven- and nine-inch round cakes. The design, which is custom-made, makes each Marlene Monfort Pastries cake a celebration cake. To order, simply message Marlene through Viber or text at 09177020005, on Facebook at Marlene Monfort Pastries, and on Instagram
(@marlenemonfort). Delivery via Grab or Lalamove will be arranged by client.

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