Taking cues from the Old Masters, Julie Simon’s museum-worthy creations steal the spotlight
As Julie Simon preps exquisite tortes for her eponymous cake company, she may be just as likely to consult images of paintings by Dutch old masters as she is to reference her own recipe playbook. The former media executive, who got her start as a singer-songwriter (following in the footsteps of her aunt, musician Carly Simon, and mother, Lucy, a Broadway composer), began baking as a child, acing pastries before delving into intricate sugar art inspired by visits to European food halls, including those at London department store Harrods. Now she’s teamed up with friend, entrepreneur and philanthropist Gillian Wynn—they met while studying at Yale—to create bespoke confections that evoke the fantastical flower arrangements of 17th-century painters.
“There’s movement, life among their blooms, and also insects and butterflies,” explains Simon, whose handmade exotic bouquets take form with sugar paste, edible paints and petal dust (edible pastels ground into a fine powder). Wynn points out that Simon perfected her baking before foraying into decorating, developing creations like orange hazelnut tortes with praline buttercream and dark chocolate ganache, lemon tortes with blackberry curd, and brown sugar vanilla cake with salted caramel buttercream to pair with her enchanting designs.
Simon’s sugar flowers may evoke ephemeral blooms, but preserved under a glass cloche, the toppers offer a stunning post-wedding alternative to frozen cake. juliesimoncakes.com.
Written by ELIZABETH VARNELL.
Photography by DEBORAH JAFFE.