¡Nosotros Queremos Pastel!
Ananda Cordero (@__queremospastel) tells us about creating edible worlds. Plus, her recipe for arroz con leche.
Dearest Dessert Lovers,
Last month, we had the distinct pleasure of meeting artist Ananda Cordero in Mexico City, whose fantastical confections under the name Queremos Pastel are inspired by the lush landscape she was surrounded by growing up in Veracruz, Mexico. Adorned with all manners of vegetation and iridescent frosting, Ananda’s cakes are micro-universes—she refers to them as gardens—the epitome of desserts that transport and delight. When she’s not baking, Ananda creates edible installations and whimsical jewelry. She’s a dream collaborator of ours, and also the creator of our new favorite cake tee. Read on for her Just a Bite interview and her recipe for arroz con leche. —Tanya Bush
You’re making dessert. What is it?
Definitely arroz con leche! It is a typical Mexican dessert that reminds me of my mother, although it also exists in other Latin American countries.
Someone is making you a dessert. What do you ask for?
A citric (with tangerine yumm) pavlova.
You’ve transformed into a pastry. What are you and how are you consumed?
A wagashi in a nice clear acrylic box with a pai mu dan tea, in a nocturne picnic.
What fictional dessert scene will you never forget?
I think that the floating cake from Harry Potter 2 is something I never forgot. While I’m baking sometimes, I imaging that scene and I got scared that the cake would fall.
What is a baking hack you can’t live without?
How to know when the sugar glass is ready. The original recipe says that you have to use a thermometer, but I put a drop of sugar into a glass of water in the freezer. If it stays hard, it is ready.
Can you tell us about you background as an artist?
My world is visual: I have worked in making graphics, books, and even jewelry. (I find it interesting how fashion can be a great vehicle to express ourselves!) However, food is an interesting support—it is a wonderful universal language. I’ve worked with food installations and experiences for dinners, creating a new language with flavors, textures and compositions, always thinking in new ways of interact with food. Then, my life needed sugar and suddenly my attention was on desserts.
I’m from a town called Xalapa in the middle of a forest, so the vegetation is everywhere. I grew up seeing trees and walking among wild flowers, which is why I'm fixated on gardens. Cakes especially have allowed me to create micro universes where I can imagine myself walking in miniature gardens, exploring color combinations that I wouldn't imagine otherwise.
Follow Ananda on Instagram: @__queremospastel
Consume these now:
See: Sandwich cake—a.k.a. Swedish smörgåstårta—is the savory centerpiece your tea parties have been missing.
Make: A glossy, highly sticky bun recipe from London’s Dusty Knuckle bakery.
Covet: Perfect vintage shell molds for mermaid-worthy tarts.