EXCLUSIVE: Nadine Ghosn and Cédric Grolet Collaborate on Epiphany Cake

PIECE OF CAKE: After sushi and burgers, jewelry designer Nadine Ghosn is turning her hand to the croissant — with the help of pastry chef Cédric Grolet.

The two have collaborated on an Epiphany cake, which will be sold between Wednesday and Jan. 15 in a limited run of 50 pieces.

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And among the lucky few to get their hands on them, one will be even luckier.

Inside one of the cakes is a unique “fève” token, a croissant-shaped 18-karat gold charm, worth 6,580 euros, just shy of $7,000 at current exchange rates.

“[His croissants] are my guilty pleasure,” confessed the jeweler, who was initially intrigued by Grolet’s audacious designs that set him apart on Paris’ buzzy and busy pastry scene.

Grolet, 37, became a household name in the world of pastry after becoming executive pastry chef at Parisian palace Le Meurice in 2013 and named “Best Pastry Chef of the Year” in 2015 by respected gastronomy publication Le Chef Magazine.

His trompe-l’oeil fruit, often complex cakes hiding in a white chocolate shell replicating the look of their star ingredient, drew scores of devotees to the luxury hotel’s pastry counter and netted him some 5.9 million Instagram followers. The opening of his bakery on Avenue de l’Opéra saw queues snaking around the block.

Whenever she came to Paris, Ghosn would visit the store, and bringing his croissants to friends and clients via Instagram became a calling card of sorts. In time, they struck up a conversation and eventually met — over coffee and croissants, of course.

From there, a collaboration was the next step. Picking the croissant was a given. Not only is it “the most recognizable thing about classic French bakery” and one of his store’s best sellers according to Grolet, but for Ghosn, “waking up our inner children turns the ordinary extraordinary,” she said.

The Nadine Ghosn x Cédric Grolet Epiphany cakes and the hidden 18-karat gold charm.
The Nadine Ghosn x Cédric Grolet Epiphany cakes and the hidden 18-karat gold charm.

In keeping with this idea of playfulness and childlike wonder, the Epiphany, and the French tradition of hiding a trinket in a cake and giving a paper crown to the one who finds it, felt the fitting occasion.

The Epiphany cake they devised has a traditional frangipane filling, a creamy combination of almonds, butter, eggs and sugar, hidden under a flurry of individually rolled miniature croissants. As for their precious counterpart, it’s an 11-gram solid gold charm, handcrafted in Paris and bearing both their names on the back.

In both cases, it was labor intensive, said Ghosn, who went through several prototypes to achieve the distinctive shape and layering of Grolet’s croissants and many more steps of polishing to mimic their glossy baked finish.

If every cake contains an Epiphany token, the decision to have only one gold croissant felt like a great way to materialize Ghosn’s lifelong excitement at the “game in finding the treasure” whenever an Epiphany cake is offered up, according to the jeweler.

“Plus, who doesn’t want to become king or queen?” she said.

The Nadine Ghosn x Cédric Grolet Epiphany cake will be available via the pastry chef’s website for 110 euros.

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