It’s 6 pm, and Laura is getting busy. She turns the oven on, kneads, mixes, assembles, composes and smooths. She wields her utensils with such deftness that you might think that you were in an operating theatre. She has 24 hours to deliver her order: a 2-tier cake in the shape of a hot-air balloon. And she’ll spend a good part of the night working on it, if need be.
Rigour, organisation and time management hold no secrets for her. Since the age of 21, Laura Rodríguez has worked at the Renault plant in Seville, Spain. And for the last 15 years, she has been producing her sweet creations with the same precision that she applies when working on her gearboxes on the assembly line.
Laura loves her double life. One life is a part in her family’s story, which began 42 years ago when her father, Francisco, started at the Seville plant: “I worked at his side for about ten years. It’s something we are proud of. Renault has an important place in our family, and I am happy to be able to carry on the tradition”.
The other life is a passion all her own: “I’m the only one in the family who makes pâtisserie. And you know what? I started making cakes after watching tutorials on YouTube”. And the thing that she likes about pâtisserie is to see the pleasure that she gives to others. “More than once I’ve seen people with tears in their eyes when they see their cake for the very first time”. In fact, her creations are more like works of art than a yoghurt cake: Laura only ever works at the bespoke end of her craft and has had to train to master the techniques of creative pâtisserie, the principle of which is to combine confection with design by working on the different toppings and decoration techniques.
“Every cake is unique and tailored to the personality of the recipient. ”
Now very popular in the United States, the art of creative pâtisserie began in the 18th century in France and re-emerged in the following century in Victorian England. Even today the royal family uses its techniques to adorn their wedding cakes, as was the case with Queen Elizabeth II’s cake, which weighed in at 230 kg and rose to a height of 3 metres.
If Laura has yet to top the royal cake, she has mastered the art of 4-tier creations. “It’s so easy to go to a supermarket to buy a cake. But with me, every cake is unique and tailored to the personality of the recipient. Down to the tiniest detail, everything is hand-made and assembled with passion”. Passion is a must, as some of the creations are three days in the making.
Since she began, Laura has received lots of orders from friends and family and is only too happy to use her colleagues as guinea pigs. “Their favourite just now is a brownie made with white and dark chocolate”. But that’s as far as cakes go in her working life. “My greatest pleasure from pâtisserie is to bring people joy. For me, it has to remain a passion.” And although their meticulous confection brings her relaxation, Laura prefers to see others enjoying her cakes. “I’m more for savoury food myself”, she tells us!