Nikki Albertyn

Nikki Albertyn, the self-taught chef and trained designer from food blog Gatheredis one of ELLE DECO’s new favourite food stylists and designers. DECO sat down with Nikki before she won our hearts with a surprise pink cake for breast cancer awareness, to find out more about her love for design, food and people.


Honestly Good Brownies - www.gathered.com
Honestly Good Brownies – gathered.co.za

With an incredible eye for design, Nikki is a multitalented individual who is clearly making her way up in the foodie/styling circles. She’s been featured on blogs like GetSmarter, Andy Fenner’s blog and Afternoon Express.

WHO IS NIKKI ALBERTYN?

I’m a 25 year old girl from Paarl, living and working in Cape Town as a multimedia designer, while dreaming about travelling the world and opening up my future pâtisserie. I come from a home where being yourself and doing what you love was always encouraged, which has led me to finding my two great passions in life – food and design.
Nikki_cake copy


DESCRIBE YOUR DESIGN APPROACH

Chaotic and unstructured in process but always clean and uncluttered in result. For someone that’s reasonably organized, I never start a project in the same way. I sometimes research and plan a design to every last curve and colour. Sometimes I just open up Photoshop and make something that I like. I find that the work I create for myself, without a brief, is always my best work.
Nikki Albertyn
Nikki Albertyn

 

YOUR INSTAGRAM FOLLOWING IS EXTENSIVE. WHO ARE YOU TOP 5 INSTAGRAMMERS?

1. @girleatsworld – She’s literally eating her way around the world. I love new interesting foods so it’s something I aspire to do.
2. @bubblegumfringe – Her photos are just so refreshing.
3. @white_onrice – Aside from the fact that he’s my boyfriend, I have been fortunate enough to witness the immense personal and artistic growth of this human. His Instagram account is a constant reminder of what happens when you follow your dream.
4. @misterflopatrick – This guy’s photos of architecture are top-notch.
5. @cupcakerichard – Wida’s got the whole package – great baking, styling and photography. Everyone needs to follow her. Especially if you’re vegan.

HOW DOES YOUR EYE FOR DESIGN AND LOVE OF FOOD MERGE?

I think my understanding of colours and use of negative space has had a great impact on my food styling, particularly my love of minimal design. Design and food are both such visual and creative fields, I see them as a natural extension of each other. Also, I am truly grateful for my design background as I love creating new products and branding them – designing packaging for my soon-to-be-launched confectionery brand, LionHeart, has been a piece of cake.


 

-Nikki was kind enough to share one of her recipes with us – 

COFFEE + CARDAMOM CHIFFON CAKE

Nikki_cake3

 | Yeild: 16  –  Prep time: 20 mins  –  Cooking time: 60 mins |

CHIFFON CAKE | 2¼ C cake flour 15ml baking powder 125ml sunflower oil 375ml castor sugar 5ml salt 5 egg yolks, unbeaten 120ml water ¼ tsp ground cardamom 7 Jumbo egg whites (250ml yield) 3ml cream of tartar

MERINGUE BUTTONS | 30g egg white 60g castor sugar 1 tbsp cocoa, sifted

COFFEE ICING | 200g butter 500g icing sugar 1 tbsp warm water 2 tsp instant coffee 3ml vanilla essence

GARNISH | Cocoa powder

 

CHIFFON CAKE

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and ground cardamom into a bowl. Make a well in the center. Combine the sunflower oil, unbeaten egg yolks, juice and water.

Mix until blended and pour into the dry ingredients’ well, beat till smooth. The batter needs to run off of the spoon. If it’s too thick, add a touch more water. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg whites till foamy.

Add the cream of tartar and beat until very stiff. Pour the yolk mixture over the egg whites in 3 stages, folding in until just blended. Do not stir, you don’t want to knock out the air!

Pour the mixture into an ungreased 25cm chiffon tin. Bake in the oven at 160°C for about 60 minutes until golden and cooked through. Allow the cake to cool in the inverted tin.

Once cool remove from the tin by releasing it from the sides with a knife if necessary, easing it away from the tube.

MERINGUES

Preheat the oven to 100°C. In the clean bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites until stiff peak. Gradually add the castor sugar and whisk until the mixture is stiff and shiny.

Test your mixture by feeling it between your fingers, if it still has grains of sugar in it it’s not ready and you must whisk it some more. When it’s ready, stir through the sifted cocoa, transfer to a piping bag and pipe buttons onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake at 100°C for about an hour, or until completely dry and crisp.

Once cooled, remove from the baking paper and store in an airtight container till needed. ICING Cream the butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Mix the water and coffee together to form a paste and add to the creamed mixture.

Beat well until well incorporated and fluffy in consistency. Cut the cake in half, spread a layer of icing on the base, reshape and frost the cake neatly with the remaining icing.

Serve the chiffon cake on a cake stand garnished with the meringue buttons and a sprinkle of cocoa.

PHOTOS by Nikki Albertyn

Nikki_cake_chiffon


FIND OUT MORE

Follow Nikki on Instagram, Twitter and on her website.