For Reema Siraj, making cakes is as much about the design as it is about the flavour. Combining her skills in baking and crafting, she has found her passion and is sharing it with the world.
Design inspired by: Ziad Nakad
Big, bold, and beautiful. Those are just a few ways to describe the stunning wedding dress cake by Reema Siraj.
When the Dubai-based cake artist was approached by Cake Talks Oman to create a piece for their annual exhibition, she was honoured, but also unsure about what she would do. She decided she needed to ‘go big or go home’, as they say, creating a massive masterpiece that showcased her skills.
“My fondness for everything lace, pearls, and fabrics is what drew me to the idea of constructing this life-size wedding dress cake. I got in touch with Ziad Nakad, a wedding gown designer from Beirut, and was granted permission to use his design for my cake,” she explains.
Reema started work by preparing a mood board for the elements and textures she would use. Once she had the details worked out, she started to hand-make every element that would go on the piece. “I made the delicate flowers with wafer paper, and each one has a different-sized edible pearl in the center. The dress has over 2,400 individual, hand-crafted edible flowers. Lace is another major feature of the cake, with over 3,000 individual lace flowers covering almost 90 percent of the dress,” describes Reema.
The other big task was the buttons, considering it is a life-sized structure -94 buttons fastened into 94 loops, all made with fondant. Needless to say, the impact was worth all the effort.
Looking at the creation, one could not guess that being a cake artist was not Reema’s first career choice. “In fact, I actively wanted to stay away from it. My mother is a home baker and I have seen first-hand how challenging it can be. So I became a teacher instead,” she smiles.
Moving to Dubai in 2009 from her home country of Sri Lanka, Reema took a break from teaching when she gave birth. After her third child, she realized she needed to do something constructive with her time. Since her children were too young for her to go back to teaching, she started baking at home.
“I am self-trained and have only attended a few workshops in Dubai. I started baking for friends and family, and it was when my sewing box cake went viral that the orders really started pouring in,” she smiles.
What makes Reema different in an already crowded marketplace? “My attention to detail. I only use the best and create to the best of my ability – no compromises. Its time consuming, but non-negotiable,” she states.
Believing that knowledge increases by sharing, Reema organises workshops and classes to teach aspiring bakers how to craft beautiful cakes. She also organises a baking convention in Sri Lanka for home bakers, exposing them to ingredients and techniques they have never used. “It’s an attempt to raise the standards in the industry as a whole,” she explains.
For Reema, the pressure of baking has turned into pleasure. And eventually, she will be serving her customers from her own boutique in Dubai. Till then, you can reach her on social media or by visiting her website ReemaSirajStudio.
Project materials (fondant and gum paste) sponsored by Satin ice
Photo credit: Paula Scalco
Videographer: Max Poriechkin
Cake designed, executed and presented by: Reema Siraj
Backed by over 18 years of experience in the media across two continents, Umaima Tinwala is a conditioned professional, with stints in publishing, marketing, advertising, PR, and digital marketing. An accomplished creative thinker, she excels in fast-paced environments by utilizing sound judgment, resourcefulness, communication and management skills.
Starting her career as a journalist, Umaima has managed many successful publications. From Young and Trendy magazine to Arabian Woman, she has created products that cater to a diverse audience. Working in advertising and PR has given her a comprehensive understanding of how the industry operates. Having managed tier 1 clients like Johnson and Johnson and LG, she is adept at marketing and communication.
A self-motivated, hard-working professional, with a flair for writing and dealing with people, Umaima is able to adapt to new situations and challenges very fast, becoming a valuable addition to any company and team.