Orchid, freesia, hortensia, passion flower, garden saffron – these flowers are not edible, except when in Eszter Kanyári’s portfolio: all the flowers she makes are made of sugar. The filigree flower compositions formed of sugar paste are primarily intended for wedding cakes, but it is not the only terrain where they can hold their ground. How did Cukorbogyó become Sugarcraft? We’ll tell you.
Eszter Kanyári felt she wanted to start something creative her daughter on her side. She found the cakes of American Maggie Austin decorated with fantastic sugar flowers back in 2013, and she decided she wanted to do something similar. She visited several cake decoration courses of prestigious confectionaries, however, they did not offer training of this kind. Finally the designer, economist and event planner working at a multinational company found Petra Hajnal’s workshop in 2018, where she could acquire the basics of sugarcrafting, and later on she continued to develop herself with the help of various training videos, books and magazines.
As she says, sugar floral decoration is not a new genre at all, it is only less known in Hungary: in the UK, it was already a popular technique in the 1980s, and then the movement also reached the United States. Its most famous representative and at the same time a master of sugarcrafting is Alan Dunn, who has filled quite some books with his knowledge of the craft.
Making decoration out of sugar paste is primarily a technique popular amongst pastry chefs: obtaining one’s qualification is preconditioned on the knowledge of various cake decoration techniques. The popularity of the “naked cakes” appearing a few years ago lasts unto this day: these cakes made of quality materials conquer with their exciting flavor and clean look amongst those who’ve had enough of the heavy, creamy and many times nauseatingly sweet cakes. The change also showed in the field of cake decorations, obviously, and especially in the case of wedding cakes, where the traditional decorations made of frost or marzipan are more and more replaced by living flower decoration.
Sugarcrafting, as a genre, is somewhere between the two: the flower compositions made of sugar paste, edible glue and food dye – similarly to living flowers – are a spectacular sight, very durable, do not fade, and can be eaten, of course. And while in the case of living flowers intended for the wedding cake, one has to consider the currently available seasonal selection, in the case of sugar flowers, any form of plants can be fabricated, regardless of the season. Not to mention that the flowers placed on the cakes are most probably thrown away in only a few hours, while sugar flowers can be consumed.
Over time, Eszter kept practicing and created more and more sugar flowers – she wanted to show them to a wider audience, and so she created the Facebook page Cukorbogyó in 2019. Apple tree flowers, parrot tulips, dahlias, irises, forget-me-nots, blueberries, blackberries and many other exciting plants were displayed on the site, and the positive feedback and enquiries coming from friends, acquaintances and the general public convinced her that there was a demand for the unique style she represented here, in Hungary, too. She launched her own business and started branding consciously: first she changed the name, this is how Cukorbogyó became Sugarcraft.
Eszter knew that if she wanted to level up, not only did she have to change the brand name, she’d also need a new visual identity authentically representing her brand. However, there came spring and with it, the coronavirus. This standby mode came right in handy for Eszter and for designing the new visual identity. The thing Eszter regrets the most in relation to the forced rest is the event planned together with clothing brand Je Suis Belle for July, for which she prepared with flower compositions reflecting on the collections of the fashion brand.
Red Dot Design award-winning designer Viktor Suszter was recommended by one of Eszter’s acquaintances, and they managed to find common grounds already at the first exchange of letters. Viktor thinks of the entirety of designing as a complex process, and is known for asking questions and communicating from various aspects in each of his projects. It is for a good reason that in addition to the Red Dot Design Award, he also won several others including the awards of German Design, EDC, ISTD and ADC, and he teaches Webflow at KREA and METU in the meantime.
Eszter contacted Viktor with a strong vision: she wanted to have an easy to remember, fresh Sugarcraft visual identity, echoing the features characterizing sugarcrafting, that is, visually communicating about a genre that, although related to traditional pastry-making, is not in the least boring, rather diverse, exciting and elegant, and is capable of continuous renewal.
With Viktor on board, the roundish and lovely Cukorbogyó designed by Eszter was transformed into the bold, defined and lively Sugarcraft brand, and as sugarcraft is a generally used term, Eszter’s name was also added to the brand name. When choosing the font for the visual identity, Viktor was looking for a typeface that alludes to the graceful shape of sugar flowers: this is how he found the FK Screamer Regular font. He also used this in the case of the Sugarcraft brand name, of course, with a little twist: Viktor slightly modified the cross line of the letter “A” and the arm of the letter “F”. This “parallelogram” later came to its own life, and the unconventional envelope-shaped colorful element functions as a sort of symbol, which is also practical especially in the case of smaller platforms. You can see this on Sugarcraft’s Instagram and Facebook profiles, too.
Another fun fact is that Eszter and Viktor didn’t meet during the entire design process in person, still as a result of continuous communication and brainstorming, a unified and harmonious final product was born, that is echoed both on the official Facebook page of Sugarcraft and the website of the brand.
Viktor also helped Eszter choose the photo style matching the brand the most, but they needed the help of another team for the actual implementation, of course. Food designer Zsuzsi Matók and photographer Kristóf Galgóczi Némethcreated photos powerfully portraying the potential methods of use of the flowers made of sugar paste. From the very beginning, Eszter’s goal has been for her hand-made life-like sugar flowers to be interpreted not only as the decoration of wedding cakes, as these compositions could also hold their ground at events, as decorative elements, or unique gifts. Even though the wedding season has been on for some time now, Eszter and her team is already preparing for the next photo shoot, where fall-winter style photos will be taken about the stylish and evergreen sugar flowers.
“As to the end product, reaching the highest possible quality is the interest of both parties” – this is a sentence included in the price quotation worded by Viktor, and even though it may sound like a cliché, it is still worth considering during the work together, as only these kinds of collaborations can become truly fruitful.
Photos: Kristóf Galgóczi Németh (Kristóf Galgóczi Photograpy)
Assistant photographer: Domonkos Horváth
Set Design: Zsuzsi Matók (Nedill Food Design)
Set Design Assistant: Francesca Menichelli
Model: Oksana Devochkina