Mini-interview met pastry chef Ksenia Penkina:
What is most important for working with mirror glaze?
“Two things. Firstly, you should learn how to feel it. Thats the only sense I am teaching my students. To have a perfect glaze you should never look at temperatures, it is a huge misguidance. Only the feel of perfect glaze makes it perfect.
“Secondly, my signature approach to perfect glaze (the outside appearance) is to actually look from the inside of your cake. Your mousse, your inserts, your tools & techniques used in making the actual cake prior to glazing. If you prepared a perfect glaze, but your cake is not made correctly – this glaze will never look good. All the problems you could be facing with the glaze never come from itself, it always comes from the cake recipe.”
Do you have a special technique?
“One of the techniques we are talking with my students in class is how to create perfect emulsions. For the glaze and for the inside of the cake as well. Emulsion is the most important technique to make your cake stable, and as a result your glaze shiny.”
Do you use special moulds?
“All the moulds I use is from amazing Silikomart, my favourite company that I have been with from my very first steps in making cakes. Our collaboration silicone mould GEMMA and MINI GEMMA has became a sensation and bakers from all around the world are going wild with mousse cakes made in GEMMA shape. It is so inspirational for me to see the result of our hard work with Silikomart in creating something so special.”
What is your favourite colour combination?
“I make a lot of cakes in Black+White+Orange – this colour combination I repeated many times in my decoration. However I try to make each cake different, and never repeat same design or colour combination. I love to experiment and create new ideas.”
Which chef do you admire, and why?
“I admire chefs who are focused on textures and techniques for the inside world of a dessert. I believe flavour and texture comes first when eating a cake. I also admire professionals who has a deep scientific knowledge on the cooking process, it attracts me the most. I am always hungry for information and understanding of the chemistry in making a cake. My cakes are popular for its decoration and glazing techniques, because this is what I post on social media. But I always surprise my students during the master class when we talk about textures and chemistry that comes behind all that beauty and how important it is to understand it in order to make a perfect cake and as a result a perfect glaze too.”