This pastry chef leans on her STEM background to design impossible-looking desserts.

Dinara Kasko makes cakes. Absolutely stunning cakes.  

They're modern, bold, and structural, with decadent shapes and surprising flavors. They're also designed using algorithms and mathematical principles.

All photos via Dinara Kasko, used with permission.


Kasko, 28, trained for years as an architect and designer in Ukraine and enjoyed her craft but wanted to try something new.

Instead of designing the next great skyline, she attended pastry school with a focus on patisserie (think pastries and sweets as opposed to bread or candies). Kasko combined her skills as an architect with her new medium — sugar — and didn't look back.

But with her architectural chops, Kasko doesn't stick to traditional bundt or tube pans. Instead, she designs and prints her own molds with a 3D printer.

Using her background in math and design principles, along with specialty software, Kasko invents her own one-of-a kind pans.

"Generally speaking, this educational background has influenced my taste and style," Kasko says in an interview via e-mail. "Besides, it has taught me the right proportions, how to design and create beautiful objects of the right proportion."

New desserts start on the computer, where molds are designed and perfected with specialty software.

Then the molds are printed layer by layer with a 3D printer.

Kasko then considers the look and feel of the mold to decide what flavors and consistencies fit best. While any flavor of sponge will do, Kasko challenges herself to make her flavors as unique as her designs.

"As for the basic recipes that go with my moulds, I am trying to make them off-the-beaten track with nice textures," she writes. "Also, the form and what is inside of the cake should be well-combined. If it’s the 'Block' mould, then the cake is dense inside. If it is 'Cloud,' then it has a very smooth texture and so on."

In addition to her background in architecture, Kasko is inspired by contemporary art.

She's traveling to an exhibition on Dutch art in the coming weeks where she'll participate as a speaker and connect with other artists, though few will be working in chocolate and butter.

With desserts that dazzle the eye and the tastebuds, Kasko's food pushes the limits of art and physics.  Here are a few of her amazing sweets.

1. This eye-popping dessert is a cheesecake with goat cheese and cranberries housed in thin chocolate rings.

Kasko had to carefully piece the rings together to ensure they could support the cheesecake without breaking.

2. That's not concrete, it's cake! Kasko contrasted a hard-looking, geometric exterior with soft sponge cake.

3. Kasko worked with parametric designer Andrej Pavlov to create this almost rock-like mold using the mathematical principle of a Voronoi diagram.

For those of you who aren't math majors, according to some helpful lecture slides from that's the "subdivision of the plane where the faces correspond to the regions where one site is closest." Note: Most Voronoi diagrams aren't stuffed with chocolate mousse.

4. Inspired by the work of Matt Shlian, this dessert is actually 81 individual, unique cakes designed with an algorithm to form a single composition.

And yes, that's delicious ruby chocolate.

5. Kasko leaned heavily on her architecture background for this nearly topographic piece, using the triangulation principle to make an edible construction with a lime-basil flavor.

6. This cherry cake came to life after Kasko played around with placing objects in a confined space.

She started with simple spheres, then switched some to cherries for a more natural look.

The inside is chocolate sponge cake with a crispy layer, cherry confit, and chocolate mousse.

Kasko's work is a beautiful reminder that STEM careers and capabilities aren't limited to the classroom, laboratory, or office.

When Kasko didn't find her niche, she quite literally created her own. By making STEM classes, tools, and software more accessible in schools, community centers, and libraries, we plant the seeds of innovation and ingenuity in the next generation.

English⬇️ Мой первый пряничный домик "Tod's" специально для конкурса "Печенье объединяет" от @maria.leonova где я в роли судьи! Делаем пряничный домик, чем оригинальнее, тем интереснее. Для примера я выбрала один из моих любимых архитектурных объектов, построенный в 2004г в Токио - бутик итальянского дома моды Tod's. Выпекала обычное пряничное тесто. Затем сточила края теркой и залила щели растопленным крашеным изомальтом. Отличная возможность просто сделать пряничный домик для себя и семьи на праздники ☺️ Вы можете сделать любой домик - стандартный или нет, по желанию. Судьи проекта: Cinzia Bolognezi @cuordicarciofo, Anna Rastorgueva @anna.rastorgueva ❗️Все подробности по участию, призам и правилам у @maria.leonova ❗️ Вопросы по заданию пишем в комментариях у @maria.leonova под анонсом. . It's my first gingerbread house "Tod's" for the first international cookies competition - COOKIES UNITE. For the competition my inspiration was an amazing Tod's building, located in Tokyo, that is wrapped in a skin of criss-crossed concrete braces and glass that mimics the trees lining the street. I'll be a mentor in the next stage: Gingerbread house! You have to do some creative and nice gingerbread house. The more creative, the better. ❗️All rules, tasks, information about prizes you can find at @maria.leonova❗️ Mentors in other categories: Cinzia Bolognezi @cuordicarciofo Anna Rastorgueva @anna.rastorgueva #okmycake #pastryinspiration #chocolatejewels #pastryart #cake #kharkov #харьков #chefsofinstagram #gastroart #art #pastryart #dinarakasko #chefstalk #pastry #chefs #geometry #instadessert #foodcreation #foodartchefs #foodporn #beautifulcuisine #callebaut #photoart#cookies_unite_dinara#gingerbreadhouse#tods#tokyo#architectura

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And there's nothing sweeter than that.

In 2015, Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price had a life-changing epiphany.

Price, who founded Gravity with his brother in 2004, was out hiking in the Cascade Mountains with his friend, Valerie. She told him her landlord had raised her rent by $200 and she was struggling to get by on her $40,000 a year income. Price, who was making $1.1 million a year as CEO of Gravity, was struck by her story. Not only did he feel for Valerie—a military veteran working two jobs and barely making ends meet—realized that some of his own employees might be facing similar struggles.

And they were. One employee frankly told him his entry-level salary was a rip-off. Another employee had secretly been working at McDonald's outside of work hours to make ends meet. So Price decided to make a drastic change by investing in his employees.

He researched how much money the average person would need in order to live comfortably and settled on $70,000 a year. In one fell swoop, he dropped his own salary to that amount, while also making it the minimum salary for anyone who worked at Gravity.

The move drew media coverage—and dire predictions from pundits. On Fox News and other conservative outlets he was called "foolish," a "socialist" and a "lunatic of lunatics." Rush Limbaugh called the company policy "pure unadulterated socialism" that was "going to fail" and should be a case study in MBA programs on how socialism doesn't work. Talking heads predicted that his employees would end up in the welfare line.

Six years later, Price has proved the haters wrong—by a lot.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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