Connie Dos Santos: Queen of Cupcake Couture
We all expect to see couture coming down the runways during Fashion Week, but whoever dreamed that one could encounter couture on the dessert table? With a vivid imagination and an air of artistry, Connie Dos Santos dreamed that very dream and has swiftly swept brides all over the world into her buttercream fantasy. Connie of Connie Cupcake Luxury Cakes spins her delightful and unexpectedly extravagant cakes beautifully into being- and here’s the kicker: she never makes the same cake twice.
Every imaginative detail of a Connie Cupcake Luxury Cake glimmers with originality. Opalescent pearls, delicately crafted petals and foliage, gorgeous glistening gems and organic, dream-like flourishes come to life and tempt both the eyes and the palate to indulge. Ephemeral, yet painstakingly crafted, we can hardly believe that Connie can concoct these edible wonders.
We wanted to know more about this fondant enchantress, and we’re sure that by now, you do, too. Discover the secret of Connie’s sweet successes below!
TBC: HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN CAKE DESIGN?
CC: I decided that I’d make cupcakes for my own wedding. After obsessively trying a new cake and new icing recipe every week for 6 months, I finally arrived at the “perfect” cupcake. As soon as I was back from my Honeymoon, people started paying me to make more. The love affair with cupcakes was brief, however, because once I designed my first wedding cake I was hopelessly hooked!
TBC: WHY DID YOU BECOME A CAKE DESIGNER?
CC: I had spent my entire career in television, first as a Broadcast Designer and then finally as a Producer/Director. Directing is a lot like running a cake shop. Both require creativity, an intimate understanding of Production and a firm knowledge of your artistic aesthetic. Designing cakes was an incredibly natural progression for me. I’m obsessed with the notion that what I create is fleeting – you put your heart and soul into it and then someone devours it. I love art that’s merely a moment in time.
TBC: WHEN WAS CONNIE CUPCAKE FOUNDED?
CC: Connie Cupcake Luxury Cakes began in my home in 2010 and we officially opened our Yorkville Studio in July of 2012.
TBC: WHAT IS YOUR DESIGN STYLE?
CC: That’s a tough one. I really try not to pigeon-hole myself. I never want to be afraid of exploring something new. We actually have a rule – every cake needs to include something we’ve never tried before. That’s when magic happens! But truly – I like to think of our style as an elegant mess. We try to be as organic as possible with our designs. I never want a cake to feel orchestrated, fussy or expected.
TBC: WHAT’S YOUR PHILOSOPHY WITH RESPECT TO DESIGN; SIMPLE AND ELEGANT OR OVER THE TOP?
CC: BOTH! Our cakes are custom, so we design with the client in mind. They’re our muse. Each cake is a true reflection of the person or event it’s for. That being said… nothing is ever too “over-the-top” for me.
TBC: WHERE DO YOU GET INSPIRATION?
CC: Nature, the Runway and jewelry are usually things that stick with me. Couture fashion is a no brainer for cake ideas!
TBC: WHAT CAKE DESIGN EXPERIENCE CAN A BRIDE EXPECT WHEN WORKING WITH YOU?
CC: Most importantly, we get to know one another. We welcome clients with a glass of champagne and a table full of decadence. We find that developing a connection leads to intimate creativity and in turn… a very artistic cake. Most brides trust us right away to “create” for them rather than follow a “paint by numbers” type of sketch. They know we’re solidly invested in them and they’re assured we’ll deliver a superior product.
TBC: WHAT ARE THE TOP 3 QUESTIONS A BRIDE SHOULD ASK A CAKE DESIGNER DURING HER RESEARCH?
CC: Is everything edible? I’m noticing a lot of real flowers on cakes nowadays. The pesticides are a real concern. It would be awful to have your wedding cake sicken a guest!
FAUX or REAL? This may sound like a crazy question – but an astounding percentage of people opt for faux cakes! It’s a very personal choice and one that shouldn’t be made without considering all the facts from an experienced designer.
Can I see your Studio? Unfortunately, in this age of Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram – there are a lot of people “posing” as cake designers and merely stealing other artist’s photos and fraudulently conning innocent Brides. Ask to meet at the designer’s cake shop so you can see their work up close. AND TASTE IT!!!! Take note of how clean their workspace is, what their staff is like etc. Making that connection is the easiest way to determine if you’ve found the right artist for YOU.
TBC: WHERE IS THE FURTHEST PLACE YOU HAVE SHIPPED A CAKE?
CC: I don’t ship cakes. I just don’t feel comfortable waving goodbye to a cake and tossing it on a plane. We will travel for clients however. We board the plane with the packaged cake and assemble it onsite. We’re currently answering requests as far as Egypt and Denmark!
TBC: ARE YOU AVAILABLE TO BRIDES OUTSIDE OF THE CANADA AND THE US WHO WANT YOUR CAKE?
CC: Yes! For international brides, I do everything I can to personally travel with an assistant to assemble their orders. International brides should book as early as possible as we need to book off days at a time to accommodate.
TBC: WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR WORKING WITH OUT-OF-CANADA AND INTERNATIONAL BRIDES?
CC: We need to know their city/country, their date, approx. guest #’s and their venue. We get to work right away dealing with any customs issues and pre-determine any requirements for weather, cost of travel, scheduling, accommodations etc. We then give the bride an approximate cost so she can decide if it’s appropriate.
TBC: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WEDDING CAKE, AND WHY?
My favorite cake we actually haven’t created yet… however, it’s for a Karen Tran event here in Toronto. Being one of the most incredible floral artists in the world… well I have something special planned for her!
TBC: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WEDDING FLAVOR?
Everyone goes crazy for our Lemon Cake. Hands down, it’s a Bride favorite. But for me – nothing beats our chocolate ganache!
TBC: WHAT ARE WORDS TO LIVE BY FOR A NEWLY ENGAGED COUPLE?
CC: It’s only a day. We tend to get so wrapped up in the stress of a wedding we forget that it’s a party for a brief moment in time. It’s the wedding – not the MARRIAGE! As long as you keep perspective you’re guaranteed to remember to relish the day and start your marriage off right.
TBC: WHAT CAKE TRENDS CAN BRIDES EXPECT TO SEE FROM YOU?
CC: I hope they see beauty in an imperfect, surprising, glamorous way! We want to defy trends and always offer a unique vision of buttercream and sweetness. If our cakes don’t make you gasp a little bit then we’re doing something wrong.
TBC: WHAT’S YOUR ONE FAVORITE INDULGENCE?
CC: Chocolate. And shoes.
TBC: IF NOT IN YOUR EXISTING PROFESSION, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING?
CC: Well, I’m still directing TV Commercials – so I guess that says it all!
TBC: TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOU THAT NOONE WOULD GUESS.
CC: I’m an introvert. I love glitter, high heels and anything that sparkles. I’m unintentionally loud and always opinionated. People assume I’m bold and a bit of a party girl. But truly, I much prefer quiet time with my husband and 3 puppies than anything else in the world.
TBC: WHERE IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO TRAVEL?
CC: I love Brugges. Belgium is just magical. But on the flipside – send me to Florida any day! We spend a lot of time there.
TBC: TELL US ABOUT YOUR NEW COLLABORATION WITH INES DI SANTO AND THE LUXURY ELITE EVENT.
CC: We developed the Luxury ELITE listings because Connie Cupcake really wants to be a proud supporter of local business. Toronto has an incredible pool of talent and I want to share that. Every bride we meet eventually asks us for referrals to other vendors. This way, we’ve just consolidated it in a Blog-like format. I write each review personally and choose each vendor by invitation only. When you read one of my Luxury ELITE listings, I’m vouching for these people. No one pays to be listed, I just choose businesses I think deserve it. Ines Di Santo is a Luxury ELITE member, so when we decided to throw a networking event for the Best Wedding Planners in Toronto, it was a natural fit to make it the first Luxury ELITE Event! The party happens Wednesday so photos and cinematography are soon to follow!
TBC: WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE FOR CONNIE CUPCAKE LUXURY CAKES?
CC: Well, we’ve created a pilot for a half hour show and hope to get some interest. We’ve just done our first little Brand Integration with Delta Canada and we’d love to develop that further! We love Delta, and we appreciate working with brands we believe in. We’re also doing our second collaboration with the incredible Karen Tran, so look for that coming soon… and of course we’ve been lucky enough to discover The Bridal Circle and look forward to developing a long partnership with YOU!