Rachael Teufel is not just a baker. Not even an artisan baker. She is an artist-baker. And her creations leave people mesmerized.
It seemed all the puzzle pieces had been in place since she was a child. She learned about baking from her Hungarian grandmother, while her father encouraged her to explore her creativity. “We would paint, draw, and sculpt with play dough any chance we had,” she said in a Facebook interview.
She tried a couple of art forms in college, but it wasn’t until after she graduated in 2000 that she discovered her future passion for cake decorating.
“I married my husband and moved from Ohio to Connecticut. He was busy in graduate school and I didn’t really know anyone, so I sought out a hobby to occupy my free time and meet new people,” she said.
One day she noticed an ad for a cake decorating class at a local Michaels store. They had a couple of cakes on display that caught Teufel’s attention, so she took the class “and fell in love with the art very quickly.”
Then, of course, developing the skills took a measure of tenacity. She continued to take classes with top designers like Ron Ben-Israel, Colette Peters, and Marina Sousa. Meanwhile, she would bake and decorate for her family and friends.
Finally, in 2006, she started her own company, Intricate Icings Cake Design. In 2009, she opened her own studio.
And thus, a girl that used to sculpt mashed potatoes on her plate became an artist ready to push the boundaries of her industry.
“I want to be thought of as an innovator in my field and really encourage others to raise the bar for themselves,” she said. “And well, my cakes should not only look pretty but taste amazing too.”
One of Teufel’s most celebrated creations was her amethyst geode cake. She baked it for an event celebrating the launch of First Look Events, a boutique planning company owned by Brynn Swanson.
The geode is made from a combination of granulated sugar and rock candy that was then crafted with multicolored modeling chocolate and is completely edible.
“I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to cakes and prefer to make everything edible whenever possible, so I set out to create a cake that looked like a real geode but wanted it to be completely edible,” she said. “As someone that loves to experiment with new concepts, I started to play with sugar crystals to see what I could come up with. Sugar crystals are certainly nothing new, but it’s been fun trying to find different ways to use them.”
The cake took about 16 hours to create with several more hours of planning.
“The art of baking is truly a complex one,” Teufel said. “[B]ut it’s fun to explore new flavor combinations creating artwork for the taste buds too. It’s a great feeling to make something that is not only visual appealing, is enjoyable to eat as well.”