After a 2008 corporate downsizing left her unemployed, former FRCH architect and Venezuela native Ileana Saldivia spent her time whipping up increasingly intricate confections for family and friends. Special requests—often two to three custom cakes per weekend—and high-profile clients quickly followed. Her success prompted the 2010 launch of Sugar Realm, marrying fine art to classic confectionary. “I’m an interpreter of ideas—everyone comes to me with their own story to tell,” Saldivia says. Self-taught, she constantly hones recipes and techniques. She starts with a hybrid sponge-pound cake, layered with Italian buttercream, then covers the whole with melt-in-your-mouth rolled chocolate (instead of sticky fondant). “This also has to be the most delicious cake in town—that’s my goal,” she says. Currently booked well in advance, Saldivia hopes to launch an Art Deco collection this summer, offering standardized ideas at a lower price point.
Originally published in the April 2015 issue.
Photographs by Anna Jones/OMS.