The Allure of Lexie Park’s Fantastical Jelly Cakes
As the holidays roll around, gelatin desserts—a festive Thanksgiving staple, cast in extravagant shapes and fantastical colors—will undoubtedly make their annual appearance on many a dinner table. But Lexie Park, an L.A.-based, self-taught food artist, has Jell-O molds on her mind all year round. She started cooking up candy-colored jelly cakes about a year ago, after parting ways with Phelmuns, an underground clothing label she’d worked on, looking to apply to food what she learned about texture and transparency in fashion. This month, she began taking cake orders (currently available for local pick-up only, due to the pandemic) via the newly launched website for her full-fledged dessert business, Nünchi.
Shapes such as five-petaled flowers recur in Park’s delicate, decidedly cute confections, which riff on the Sanrio characters and Morning Glory stationery that filled her childhood. Most of her work falls within a pastel colorway—happy colors, if you will—but she’ll branch out for the right concept. Certain cakes have an experimental edge: While pieces of fresh California produce or edible flowers jiggle inside some, others suspend silvery fish, gestating babies, and a slew of other creatures within their wiggly worlds. The spellbinding response elicited by each gelatinous structure befits Park’s venture, which is named for a Korean term that refers to the hyper-awareness of things that can’t be put into words. Through the cakes of her creation, Park reveals just how intertwined food and emotion really are.