I Make “Trick Of The Eye” Foods That Are Entirely Edible And Nature-Inspired, Here Are 30 Of The Best


I LOVE creating “Trompe l’oeil” foods – A trick of the eye, delicious treats that look like other things. I particularly love making them look like something found in nature. I hope you enjoy my explorations of food artistry! 

You can find more of my recipes, artwork, and magic on my wonderful website, and there’s an Apothecary on Etsy if looking isn’t enough.

More info: thewondersmith.com | Etsy | Facebook | Instagram

#1 Oranges Or Cheesecakes?

These delightful little confections are orange and pine nut cheesecakes filled with marmalade! I used marzipan that I colored naturally to match the skin of an orange. I haven’t posted this recipe yet, but I am excited to do so!

#2 Sea Urchin Tea Cakes

Those pretty little purple sea urchins, in reality, are delicious cakes! I made my favorite chocolate cake recipe (with a special sea-based secret ingredient), then made homemade berry fondant and decorated them by hand. I also made the ceramic urchin tea set too – but that’s out of clay, not cake.

You can find my full post about it here.

#3 Moss Cake

This is probably my signature recipe, a cake that looks like it is made out of moss! In reality, it’s a stinging nettle and lemon cake with grapefruit and fir buttercream icing (and small layers of matcha genoise, but I didn’t feel like they added much to the experience of the cake).

You can find my full post about it here.

#4 Blue Crabs

This big blue crab bun is colored richly with butterfly pea powder. I sculpted it in honor of the rare blue crabs and lobsters that are a result of a genetic defect which are sometimes found off the Pacific coast! The buns are flavored with red clover blossoms and come with huckleberry curd dipping sauce. I haven’t posted this recipe yet but will be posting it soon at my blog.

#5 Chip Roses

These lovely roses are actually root vegetable chips stuck into a plant-based “cheese” made of pine nuts!

You can find my full post about it here.

#6 Swallowtail Fairy Cake

Those beautiful swallowtail butterflies are entirely edible! I made them out of wafer paper painted with saffron tea, and butterfly pea tea then used chocolate to add the black designs. Sticking them on a rice noodle allowed me to get the feeling of flying around this delicious rhubarb, wild rose, and elderflower cake worthy of the fairies!

You can find my full post about it here.

#7 Frosted Branch Tea

I grew sugar crystals on a fir branch to make a lovely winter tea!

You can find my full post about it here.

#8 Creepy Bones

These bones look like some ancient magic buried in deep woods, but they are actually perfectly edible. I used a long pretzel base, then sculpted candy cap mushroom caramel* around them, coated them in white chocolate, carved mysterious runes into their surface, and aged them with both cocoa powder and matcha powder. Pretty realistic, right? * Candy cap mushrooms have an incredible maple flavor that is delicious in candies and desserts!

You can find my full post about it here.

#9 Art Nouveau Lantern

This beautiful art nouveau-inspired lantern is made from absinthe flavored cookies and crushed candy glass.

You can find my full post about it here.

#10 Labradorite Dessert

Doesn’t that look just like a big piece of my favorite gem, labradorite? It’s a delicious gelatin-based dessert made from green tea with a hint of wild ginger!

You can find my full post about it here.

#11 Edible Geodes

These beautiful, sparkly geodes are entirely edible and colored naturally with fruits and vegetables! How cool is that??

You can find my full post about it here.

#12 Rose Tarts

I made a whole tasting menu of wild rose treats last spring, but my favorites were the edible wild rose tarts with lime and rose curd and apple swirls!

You can find my full post about it here.

#13 Succulent Terrarium

This summery trifle was designed to look like a terrarium for summertime succulents! There are a surprising amount of vegetables in this cake too – from chocolate zucchini cake to avocado mousse to spinach cake. You wouldn’t guess that from the taste, though: it’s a rich and delicious chocolate dessert. My friends were amazed to hear how veggie-packed this treat was after tasting it!

You can find my full post about it here.

#14 Cyanotype Cookies

I wanted to capture the beauty of cyanotypes (the first mode of photography!) so I made chocolate juniper cookies topped with homemade fondant and I used natural food powders to get those rich blue colors.

You can find my full post about it here.

#15 Amanita Forest Dessert

I absolutely love the mysterious amanita mushrooms that pop up in dark woods in the fall and winter. This dessert is dedicated to them: grown-up crisp rice treats with whiskey, chocolate, and help hearts form the base (with a dusting of pistachio “moss.”) The cookies themselves are soft beet cookies with beet icing and pearl sugar. Delicious!

You can find my full post about it here.

#16 Cicadas And Lapis Lazuli

These are fir and matcha shortbread cookies with blueberry icing, topped with edible cicada sculptures.

You can find my full post about it here.

#17 Pinecones

These sweet little pinecones are sculpted out of pine nut chocolate marzipan and almond slices! I even added pine nuts to the interior, so they look realistic also when sliced in half.

You can find my full post about it here.

#18 Ammonite Cake

This fossil-inspired cake is made from Chaga*-infused chocolate crepes and Chaga-infused chocolate ganache, then frosted in coconut German Chocolate frosting. I was inspired by looking at real ammonite fossils at a gem show and seeing how similar their crystal interiors looked to coconut frosting. This is also a preview of something I have yet to post.

*Chaga is a medicinal fungus with many benefits that grows on birch trees and has a pleasant vanilla-rootbeer like flavor. I got mine from a sustainable source since Chaga is often over-harvested.

#19 Chocolate Truffle Truffles With Truffles

Since chocolate truffles are named after the fungi truffles that have marbled interiors and lumpy exteriors, I decided to make chocolate truffles that looked like fungi truffles. I even used black truffles to flavor the ganache.

You can find my full post about it here.

#20 Pirate Coins

I designed my pirate coins and made little casting molds to make them out of chocolate! I also flavored mine with nettle seed salt to make them more gourmet, but that’s entirely optional. A little edible gold luster dust really brought these coins to life!

You can find my full post about it here.

#21 Tree Slice Pancakes

I used two foraged flours – acorn and curly dock – to make two pancake batters to make these beautiful pancakes that look like tree slices! (You could also use regular flour and buckwheat to get the same effect.)

You can find my full post about it here.

#22 Phoenix Eggs

These balsamic-marinaded quail eggs are delicious on spicy harissa goat cheese and a root vegetable nest! I haven’t posted the recipe yet, but it will be at my blog eventually!

#23 Spring Bulbs

A delicious appetizer of roasted garlic and chestnuts in puff pastry sitting atop flavorful acorn mole “mud” with toasted breadcrumb “dirt.” A little green onion is the perfect finishing touch for these sprouts.

You can find my full post about it here.

#24 Pink Oyster Mushrooms In A Greenhouse

I actually based this delicious dessert on my real mini greenhouse that I grow oyster mushrooms in! The greenhouse is spiced gingerbread and sugar, the mycelium brick is delicious pistachio torrone with a secret ingredient that makes it extra delicious, and the mushrooms are pink peppercorn and dragonfruit marzipan that I hand-sculpted to look like pink oyster mushrooms.

You can find my full post about it here.

#25 Winter Moth Onigiri

Delicious savory onigiri topped with ethereal moths made out of edible wafer paper and mozzarella.

You can find my full post about it here.

#26 Fossil Cookies And Amber Candies

The beauty of amber and fascination with fossils inspired this combination of confections!

You can find my full post about it here.

#27 Malachite Cheesecakes

I made these plant-based mint cheesecakes in honor of the stone malachite. Can you see the resemblance?

You can find my full post about it here.

#28 Wasp Nest Buns

These Chinese-inspired pastry buns are filled with a rich poppyseed filling inspired by my Eastern European heritage. I love the way the flaky layers of pastry do look like mini wasp nests! I haven’t posted this recipe yet, so consider it a preview. Eventually, you will be able to find it on my blog.

#29 Savory Mushroom Log

I was inspired by the Yule traditions of “Buche de Noel” or yule log cake to create this savory version, complete with a wild mushroom and goat cheese filling wrapped up in a savory buckwheat cake and buckwheat cracker bark. Some pickled peppers make the perfect Amanita mushrooms on top!

You can find my full post about it here.

#30 Sandwich Cake

This may look at first like a beautiful birthday cake, but in reality, it’s a savory cake filled with pizza-inspired flavors!

You can find my full post about it here.




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