Backlit: Art, Reframed


I’m 99% sure you’re all wondering, “hold on…what’s ‘Backlit’?” Well, it’s the senior seminar event organized by senior arts management students from UTSC (University of Toronto, Scarborough Campus <-- don’t get it twisted, we’re just as cool as the St. George campus!).

The art event was held at CSI: Annex which is a sort of multipurpose space that you can rent for events such as this or meetings etc. It was so much fun! Essentially, out of x number of submissions, they accepted 15 artists/groups to showcase at this art event. My submission of “culinary art” was one of them! YAY! (perfect excuse to bake). 
(from CSI: Annex website)

(There’s me prepping my piece while in my ninja-focus zone. Ignore the lack of photogenicism exhibited by yours truly.)

My prep and planning started over a week before the event itself if you can believe that. I had to narrow down and ultimately choose the cupcakes I wanted to bake. Then there was the whole “how to display them” problem which I solved by labouring over foam boards for hours to create mini cupcake stands. 

I went through quite a few designs before arriving at this final design, with some helpful advice from Scott of course. (thanks cuz!). It's sad how you can't tell the hours that went into these  D:

Vanilla whipped cream. I was toying around with different ideas for frosting. Ultimately, I settled on a simple whipped cream because I can whip it up at the venue and there are only a few ingredients. To prep, I heated up the heavy cream w/ two scraped vanilla pods then wrapped and chilled in the fridge until I used it the following evening. 

More prep. This time, mini chocolate chip cookies as one of the cupcake toppers. :D Everything homemade!! Well, 99%. 

I decided on baking 3 types of cupcakes. This one was my matcha cupcakes. Before someone calls me out, I’m gonna just come out with it. Yes, they look crappy because I totally messed up the measurement of the baking soda haha. In the midst of halving the recipe I put in too little baking soda. Boooo. :( 

Don’t worry, my other cupcakes were actually successful! haha For example, my lemon curd lemon cupcakes (recipe here)! After the cupcakes have been baked, you make a hole in the centre and pipe in some lemon curd. Allowing it to sit overnight = more lemon flavour seeped throughout the cupcake = amazeming. 

Final cupcake I decided to bake, red velvet. Struggles with my new mixer since the paddle attachment doesn’t fully contact the bottom of the bowl so I had to get in there with a spatula in the end. Not that bad but still.. 

Here’s some of the other work that was displayed. People are so talented! (the couch is simply that, a couch. I just liked how every piece of furniture there had some character of its own :D). 

I didn’t even get all the cupcakes onto the stands before people starting coming up to me and asking about my piece. Essentially, my spiel is to make art more accessible and a fuller experience through the senses. Think paintings/photographs. It’s a still from someone’s mind/eye that they’ve recaptured for you, the viewer.

What I went for, sure they’re cupcakes, but you are the one who decides how to approach them. Plus, you experience it not only through sight, but through touch, smell and taste too. It’s not necessarily a better experience, but one you’re definitely not used to at regular “art events”. And that was my rant thank you ladies and gentlemen for reading it! 

And then they started grabbing and eating and enjoying! I was wondering if people would approach the piece on their own, if they’d be bold enough to grab cupcakes. That certainly wasn’t a problem here! 10 minutes later and everything was gone. 

While that was going on, one of UofT’s acappella groups, tba (tunes. beats. awesome.) were performing. They were amazing! Bonus, they made it to the ICCA semifinals and placed 3rd! (Congrats you guys, amazing job repping UofT!).

This was “Stage B”, which I my piece occupied for the second half of the event. I think some people were confused because most of the time my cupcake stands stood there empty looking all sad haha.

Because I was afraid of mess ups, I made a ton of cupcakes. As a result, I probably had 30-40 extra. Yes my family got fat that weekend…. (I love them so much for putting up with my ridiculous baking habits!)  

This was a great event! I’m so happy that I got to be a part of it. Everything was so organized and ran smoothly, I have full confidence that these future art managers will be amazing. :D Shoutouts to Zoe, Steph and Kat for being amazing people to work & be friends with!


  1. Carmen! These are amazing! carmen!

    1. thanks Eusong!! :D Hopefully i'll own one of your amazing pieces one day... (one can always dream ;D)

  2. Love the stands, I was just goona ask where you bought it then I kept reading =P
    Great job

    1. mercy buckets! ;) I originally planned to make them out of wood (jus 4 or 5 in total) but I didn't have the time.



    1. I thought the entire time that I'd see you there! slash, i was really scrambling to get my piece done...so i only had my eye on the prize. Aka getting there on time lol

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