Since its inception last fall, the New York-based custom cake company Flour Shop has rapidly risen to become one of the go-to shops for baked goods among some of the city’s main tastemakers. Founded by first-time chef and entrepreneur Amirah Kassem, Flour Shop specializes in over-the-top confections, using unconventional flavors like lime icing and bacon in her cakes, which take on the shapes of dinosaurs, volcanic islands, sombreros, and buckets of popcorn.
Whatever skepticism the appearance of the cakes may at first glance evoke quickly vanishes with the first bite, as a truly surprising complexity of texture—similar to that of half-baked cookie dough—and unexpected flavor combines. Growing up in Mexico with a mother who worked as a chef, Kassem could be found in the kitchen at a young age, often helping with catering events and dinner parties. After working in the fashion industry for the past six years, most recently working with Johan Lindeberg at BLK DNM, Kassem felt herself more and more drawn to the kitchen. She often baked for friends and colleagues who were surprised that such tasty treats did not come from a professional kitchen.
“I started waking up feeling more excited to bake, and though I loved the people I was working with, the job itself wasn’t fulfilling me as much as baking was,” Kassem says. “My friends at American Two Shot opened a coffee bar and offered to carry my cake balls and then it sort of became a thing. I started selling more and more, and so I quit my job, leaving the fashion industry behind.” Thanks to her early ties, however, Flour Shop has become a staple amongst big-shot creative types. Kassem delivered cake balls backstage at Phillip Lim’s most recent runway show, and Terry Richardson often calls for last-minute deliveries.
What separates Kassem from other upstart bakers toiling in their home kitchens is an irrepressible need to experiment, a drive made clear in the unconventional treats that come out of her oven. “The best thing I’ve done so far is the rainbow pizza, which is an actual pizza, not a cake,” Kassem says. “I made it for Henry Hargreaves, who’s an amazing food photographer. It was a lot of last-minute work, trying to figure out how to dye a mushroom blue, but it was all edible and the point was that it actually tasted good!”
That mantra rings true for all of Flour Shop’s products. No matter how brightly decorated, Kassem values taste above all else. All the baked goods use only organic ingredients and steer clear of overly-sweet fondant. “There’s a lot of playing with my food in the kitchen,” Kassem says. “My mom always told me not to play with my food, but now it’s what I do for a living. People only contact me if they have something to celebrate, so it’s a happy thing.”
For more information, please visit FlourShop.com.