Last week, I came across the creations of Jakarta-based pastry chef Iven Kawi, perhaps better known by her Instagram nom de plume IvenOven. Kawi is in charge of her own pastry business of the same name, along with its subsidiary Zoezo Bakes (named after her two children), operating out of her home in the Lippo Karawaci neighborhood of Jakarta. She’s a home baker who preps cakes that look like edible terrariums, working with a pretty gobsmacking level of detail.
Kawi, a mother of two, began her pastry business in early 2014. She’s since grown it considerably, now employing 12 female bakers from cities across the world, from Sydney to Seattle. With their help, Kawi assembles 20 cakes per day, piping buttercream frosting atop them.
As someone who can barely keep his hands still, I can’t process the alchemy of precision and patience Kawi's line of work takes. I'm far outside the delivery zones of Jakarta and Tangerand in Indonesia, so I'll have to settle for looking at the images she's populated her Instagram account with. Long live the terrarium cake.
Mayukh Sen is a James Beard Award-winning food and culture writer in New York. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and elsewhere. He won a 2018 James Beard Award in Journalism for his profile of Princess Pamela published on Food52.