Rightfully or wrongfully, dessert and pastry offerings are frequently derided as being staid, limited and old fashioned. You have your favorites, and your local bakery will either fulfill your demands or not. Sure, there have been offbeat attempts at reconstructed desserts that occasionally show longevity in a broader cultural sphere, but when it comes down to it there’s no real need for innovation or a pastry “revolution.” Crack pie and bacon doughnuts might seem cute now, but let’s face it; you’d probably be perfectly content with a stale cannoli or key lime pie because that’s what you were brought up with. And frankly, if you’re paying $250 for a chocolate truffle, don’t be surprised when your children are ashamed to carry your name.
Jonquils Cafe & Bakery wants to change that perception.
The bakery—which opened up on Newbury St. (of all places) last week—is the brainchild of Dinara Kasko, a Ukranian-born pastry chef who initially trained to be an architect. And it’s that attention to form and detail which Kasko hopes will distinguish Jonquils from other bakeries. Yes, you’ll find croissants, muffins and quiche on the menu, but Kasko’s specialties are geometrically designed desserts shaped from 3D printing molds.
If the novelty of a torus shaped passion fruit cake or an algorhithmic model-based mousse cake doesn’t grab your attention, the flavor combination might. Jonquil boasts of offerings including a sphere of vanilla mousse with mango and passion fruit cremeux, a lime-basil triangulation of sponge cake, lime marshmallow mousse and lime jelly, and a pentagon of chocolate mousse, almond crunch and dark chocolate cremeux.
“I’m trying to connect architecture, design and patisserie,” Kasko told SoGood pastry magazine in 2016. “A beautiful cake as well as a beautiful building needs preliminary design. It’s necessary to work with the form, volume, composition, proportion, color and texture correctly… The right combination of all these factors will let us create a well-balanced cake and a well-balanced building.”
If it sounds like Kasko’s creations simply popped out of an MIT grad student’s wet dreams, she’s not merely garnering local attention. Just last year, she delivered a well received TEDx talk on her creative process and has recently been the subject of profiles in the New York Times and Verve magazine, to speak nothing of her Instagram following—currently at some 623,000 viewers.
“Effectively, I try to create objects of art,” Kasko says. “Baking is how I strive for self-realization as a designer.”
Self realization. Design. To paraphrase Robert Crumb—yeah, but is it edible?
Image used with permission from Jonquilscafe.com