I never know what’s next with cake artist Zilly Rosen. For years she turned out some of our area’s most inventive cakes from the tiny kitchen at Dolci bakery. When demand grew, there were signs that she would open her own shop with rumors of a cupcake bar. This magical bakery opened on Elmwood almost a year ago to great success, but during the time it took for her to secure her building and finalize her business plan, she became an overnight media sensation. Her all-cupcake homage to then presidential hopeful, Barack Obama, was all over the papers. Rosen’s cake installation thoughtfully utilized each individual cupcake as a single pixel, which, once combined, intricately mapped-out a sweet and iconic image.
This pixel-by-pixel, cupcake-by-cupcake, artistry has earned Rosen serious street cred in the pastry world. The Smithsonian American Art Gallery has put her to work two President’s Days in a row now (with online cameras capturing every move), and a recent Marie Antoinette installation (“Let them eat cake!”) brought rave reviews at New York’s recent Cake Convention.
What’s next on Rosen’s to do list? A book–or two. But for now we’ll just talk about the one, which, though not due until September, is already up on Amazon. “When the publisher called and offered it to us, we thought, why not?” Rosen tells me. It’s 10pm, and she is still at her shop. She claims its the only time she can get any work done. Rosen is a mom, wife and successful small business owner, so I have no doubt that she’s right.
The book, titled Zombie Cupcakes: From the Grave to the Table with 16 Cupcake Corpses, features step-by-step recipes for creating creepy cupcakes perfect for your favorite zombie lover. “Like everything else, the whole zombie thing is a culture of its own,” says Rosen. With her fine arts degree Rosen was sure she could deliver. “I didn’t really know a lot the zombies and movies, but my assistant Shannon Pilarski sure does.”
Rosen and Pilarski have not only conceptualized each of the ideas depicted in the book, they are also developing the recipes, writing the content, and sculpting every last decapitated figure for the book’s many photographs. “We brought local photographer Jethro Soudant in on this one,” Rosen says, “we like to keep everything as local as possible.”
Crafting amazing cakes and tending the always-busy custom cupcake bar keeps Rosen and her staff busy during the day. At night, the creepy cupcake project is underway full force as they work to meet their publisher’s deadline. “We didn’t really have anywhere safe to store them [the completed pieces] before they could be photographed, so we put them in the refrigerated display case. They aren’t exactly “G”- rated, but they seem to be attracting quite a bit of attention. The kids really seem to like them.”
Look for Zilly Rosen’s Zombie Cupcakes this fall in a bookstore near you. In the meantime, stop in for a custom cupcake.
1008 Elmwood Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14222