As a child I remember eagerly breaking off a piece of white icing that topped a Christmas cake. It was sweet and delicious and melted instantly in my mouth. Down the years, I learnt that it was royal icing. This hard white icing is prepared using egg whites and icing sugar. I fell in love with the intricate decorative work Royal icing produced.
It’s been quite a while since I have seen or tasted good royal icing and thus discovering PRACHI DHABAL DEB, Owner and Baker, CAKE DÉCOR INDIA-Royal Icing Art; with an astounding talent for intricate and extraordinary royal icing structures, was beyond thrilling.
It was at the tender age of ten that Prachi discovered a love for baking whilst playing with an oven gifted by her aunt. “I felt nothing but pure joy. Over time studies, marriage, family and work took top priority, but I rediscovered the baker in me during a brief break. I felt the same happiness, excitement and joy my ten year old self had felt, so I donned the cap of baker and cake artist and there has been no looking back.”
In the competitive world of baking, it is important to equip oneself with a variety of techniques and constant learning. While Prachi did have a successful run as a home baker, she was constantly on the lookout for new techniques and intricate detailing. On one such journey, she chanced upon a book on Royal Icing by the legendary Sir Eddie Spence, MBE. “I was swept away by his book. The amazing artwork and sheer elegance of this genre of art truly mesmerized me! This book inspired me to take up Royal icing. The true icing on the cake however was being presented with an opportunity to learn from Sir Eddie himself!”
Royal icing albeit being a delicate and fragile medium is one brimming with versatility. “I wanted to explore this medium to bring forth more robust and complex designs. My venture, Cake Décor India had completed 6 years and yet my mind fondly remembers one of my first creations. It was a structure inspired by European Architecture. The exhibit drew appreciation from around the world.”
Flowers and beautiful gardens offer major inspiration to Prachi and serve as core elements in many of her creations. Apart from intertwining fairy tales and folklore into her designs, she enjoys working with architectural design wonders with origins in Europe, Rajasthan and the Mughal dynasty. “Royal icing is a delicate medium, thus it is always heartening when challenging 3D structures; which I incidentally enjoy making the most; come out perfectly. I love Victorian and filigree patterns and use them quite often in my work,”
Prachi shares that while cake flavours are limitless, chocolate usually turns out to be the universal favourite. Flavours are client preference driven and designs are hugely based on occasions and themes. “Communication with clients is crucial. A good conversations helps understand the key requirements thus making it easier to select patters and colour schemes. Always remember to know your client requirements in and out.”
Prachi’s cakes are a treat for the senses. Apart from the visual appeal of course, she ensures that she uses only the finest ingredients for her cakes. All her recipes are tried, tested and refined to suit her baking style. Research forms an important part of Prachi’s baking. “I invest a lot of time in discussing and researching on client themes and preferences. I always lay emphasis on tailor making a beautiful cake that fits into the occasion perfectly.”
According to Prachi, being a baker is to be be in the business of a scientific art. “You require an attitude that encourages experimentation, you need to be precise with the ingredients and artistic enough to build your own signature taste, designs and flavours. A successful baker is one who has industry knowledge and is a trend setter. As an artist I plan to move further into the intricacies of royal icing. There is an unbelievable amount of potential and scope to the medium and the journey of discovery will indeed be a significant one.” The brilliant baker has committed to several domestic and international collaborations, magazines, classes.
Letsstalkfood wishes you all the very best on your incredible journey as a baker and cake artist.
Visit Cake Decor India-Royal Icing Art at: