Katherine Dey's desserts will definitely make you feel something. Not necessarily something good, but upon cutting through a penis-shaped chocolate or a vagina-shaped cake, there's a good chance you're going to react with some type of emotion, whether it's offense, disgust, or admiration of its realistic detail.
Sure, penis cakes have been a thing, but have you ever seen any edible private parts look this realistic?:
This is what Katherine Dey of Deviant Desserts is all about, taking her knowledge of the human body, and creating the most realistic looking sweets you'll ever find.
Dey is a former nurse with a passion for baking, and has used her familiarity with the human body to now elevate the detail in her desserts to a level that you don't often see in cakes and chocolates.
I caught up with Dey, and tried to get a little insight into what goes into baking these unique desserts that people seem to lose their minds over, and how she even comes up with the frightening concepts that she does. And if you want to freak out some friends or family for a birthday, you can check out more of Dey's work on Deviant Desserts:
When did your passion for baking start, and what were some of the first desserts you baked?
I have always loved to bake. It is relaxing and it allows me to express myself in a way that my family and friends can appreciate. When I was growing up I would make bagels, cinnamon buns, cakes, pies. There is a side to me that is always trying to feed people.
Are you still a nurse or are you working on Deviant Desserts full time?
I recently stepped away from nursing to focus on Deviant Desserts. I still keep my license active though and I am hoping to get back into it at some point even if only on a part time basis.
How long have you been a nurse for?
I have been a registered nurse for just over three years now. I started off on a neurosurgical floor and then went into dialysis nursing caring for people with kidney disease.
What were some initial reactions to your cake concepts? Were people shocked?
People do tend to have strong reactions to my desserts. I want to do more than just shock people though. I want to push the boundaries of what is possible and wake people up. One of the most satisfying things for me is take something very traditional and re-conceptualize it in a way that is surprising and exciting. I love to make people laugh.
Do you ever bake regular ol' cakes for people?
I also enjoy making more traditional cakes. There is a great deal of technique that goes into cake design and I see every cake as an opportunity to learn and inform future cakes.
How do you decide what dessert to bake up next? What was the process of saying to yourself, "I should make a penis-shaped chocolate," or "A severed head wedding cake might be cool"?
I am one of those people who could stay in school forever. I take any opportunity to study and research and constantly learn more. With whatever I am learning, I have a tendency to imagine it in a new context. For example, I learned in nursing school that placenta means “flat cake” in Latin and I immediately start thinking of a placenta as a birthday cake. Then my whole family is sitting around the table eating placenta cakes for my birthday and that seems like a very logical progression for me.
What are some of the harder or more time consuming desserts to put together?
The more time consuming cakes are my portrait cakes. I think we all have concepts of faces and features in our heads. When I do a portrait, I have to go through and meticulously correct those concepts to match the reality of the individual person. Honestly, I could keep sculpting and correcting forever but there is usually some deadline that forces me to call it and finish.
Does your husband help out with the baking?
My husband is a huge help with the baking. He is a Rochester city firefighter but was trained as a chemist. I feel like baking is a way for him to tap into the experimental chemist inside him. He also helps with packaging and shipping. There are many practical sides of the business that would be very difficult for me without his input.
What is the best dessert you've made? The one that sticks out to you the most and brings you the most joy looking back?
I guess my favorite desserts are the ones that fail. It is a love hate relationship. I made a portrait cake of my dad once with a thin layer of fondant covering and as I was finishing up the face fell off. It was pretty devastating at the time but it pushed me to experiment with other more sturdy materials and greatly improve our entire process.