Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Cupcakes in costume

Mas characters come to life as delectable desserts


creative: The “Cupcake Wench”, Rehana Ali, shows off her Carnival-inspired cupcakes. —Photo: Anisto Alves

Mark Fraser

While many people look forward to wearing their costumes come Carnival Monday and Tuesday, Rehana Ali prefers to eat them.

Ali, or as her friends fondly call her, “The Cupcake Wench”, does not play mas but enjoys creating wonderful edible mas costumes that are artistically displayed on cupcakes.

Last year, around Mother’s Day, the Express highlighted Ali’s passion for baking. However, what really drew our focus was Ali’s exceptional skill and eye for detail when it came to making simple treats look exceptional.

Whether she has the task of ma­king characters from cartoons like Ben 10 or Dora the Explorer, all the way down to dragons, cars and sports-themed cakes, Ali does it all.

With Carnival just around the corner, Ali decided to celebrate in her own way and created Carnival cupcakes. Paying tribute to ole time Carnival characters, as well as “pretty” mas, these decadently filled cupcakes, she says, have many of her customers “ready for the road”.

She said, “My husband, Mark, actually came up with the idea last year. He is really into Carnival, but more ole-time mas. His father is an artist and paints many of the oletime mas characters.

“I released the Carnival cupcakes only a week before Carnival last year. There was interest, however, I believe the time was really too close to see much of an impact. This year, however, the response has been much better. People started ordering Carnival cupcakes right after Valentine’s Day,” Ali said.

“This year, I did the midnight robber with a coffin; black and blue devils; pierrot grenade; and fancy Carnival headpieces, which is my interpretation of ‘pretty’ mas,” she said.

“This is a celebration of the old with the new. I wanted to appeal to people who really enjoyed Carnival and loved seeing the various costumes,” she added.

“I work with a standard flavouring combination, however, if a customer prefers something different, I can do that as well,” she said.

She added: “The process of decorating and frosting can take anywhere from two hours to 24 hours.”

She noted the time depends on what the client requested.

“I like to stay true to the client’s vision and be as authentic as I can. If a client wanted a Rolls Royce as a birthday cake, I would look for images of the car in different angles. I would not put something that is not there on the car but stay true to the image as much as possible,” she said.

“On one occasion, I delivered a Sesame Street birthday cake to a child who was so overjoyed that she started talking to the characters on the cake immediately. I am just glad to see my  customers happy,” she said.

Ali has been baking for the past five years and enjoys making cupcakes not just big on presentation but also taste.

“My favourite Carnival cupcake is the blue devil. I like it because the cake itself is cute, but if you come face to face with a blue devil, it can be a terrifying experience,” she chuckled and said.

“Apart from cakes and cupcakes, I am currently working on something called French macarons. It is basically a sandwich cookie that is crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. It is difficult, given our climate, to get it at the right temperature but it tastes great, so until I get it right, I will keep trying,” Ali said. 

For more information, e-mail Ali at: