Scrolling through the @laelcakes Instagram will excite your appetite. And then it will make you question whether or not all of the stunning cakes and delicate pastries decorated with flowers and vines and metallics are actually edible. Yes, they’re edible. And they’re vegan. Emily Aumiller, pastry chef, founder of Lael Cakes and author of Pure Artistry is the mastermind behind these pieces of art executed in delicious dessert form. Aumiller is merging the world of custom pastry art with the world of alternative ingredients one gluten-free flower at a time.
When asked about how Aumiller got started in the custom dessert industry, it was not shocking that she studied sculpture in college before attending the New England Culinary Institute. Aumiller’s next stop was apprenticing for dessert design moguls Sylvia Weinstock and Erich Bedoucha of Financier Patisserie. Now, Aumiller owns her own Brooklyn-based boutique cake studio where she specializes in vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free cakes that incorporate fresh and local flavors. For Aumiller, it’s about time the vegan trend made its way into the wedding cake industry.
“I’ve always struggled with food allergies and I realized there weren’t many options [for allergy-friendly custom cakes] so I did a lot of experimenting with alternative ingredients,” says Aumiller about the early stages of starting her business. Aumiller continues on about her excitement in discovering these replacements to popularly used cake ingredients like refined sugar and saturated fat, but there were many challenges. With an exhale she admits, “There were a lot of structural issues when building tiered cakes with detailed additives.” But, after nearly six years owning Lael Cakes, catering to celebrities like Sofia Vergara, Stacy London, Penn Badgley and more, as well as publishing her cookbook Pure Artistry in 2016, Aumiller adds, “I’m still learning and discovering new things.”
That insatiable desire to create new cake designs comes from the varied requests she receives every day. Aumiller’s favorite part of her chosen career path is exactly that: creating original pieces inspired by her fine arts background and her clientele. In fact, before designing each cake or dessert table, Aumiller sits down with couples for at least an hour to get a better feel for their personalities in order to produce not just a cake that can seem almost too pretty to eat, but also one that suits her client. Despite the challenges Aumiller faces within a sugar-coated industry, her authentic desire to bring beauty and sweets together in a better-for-you and better-for-the-world way, quite frankly takes the cake.