EDIBLE ART: No matter your tune, Elin Katz can make you a once-in-a-lifetime confection that you and your friends won't soon forget -- if you've got the dough, that is.
Photography by Joe Schmelzer

In the can-you-top-this world of Hollywood, bakerista ELIN KATZ takes the cake … to otherworldly extremes.

Give someone a slice of cake, and you feed her dessert. But teach someone to bake, and wham! Before you know it, she’s concocting wildly imagined, OMG-you’ve-gotta-come-see-this cakes for celebrities and millionaires. Cakes that cost as much as $10,000. Cakes that send party guests fumbling for their camera phones. Cakes that are part theater production, part engineering feat and part fever dream. Carnival-like cakes that Betty Crocker surely never envisioned — unless, perhaps, she first turned on, tuned in and dropped out.

At least that’s how it’s worked out for Elin Katz, the co-owner (along with her husband, Alan) of Rosebud Cakes in Beverly Hills, Calif. This cake-baking maven — think the love child of Willy Wonka and Martha Stewart — was blowing away well-heeled clientele long before the Food Network started cranking out foodie celebs. Since 1987, when Rosebud opened its doors, Katz has whipped up talk-of-the-town cakes for the likes of Ellen DeGeneres, Sean Connery, Shaquille O’Neal, Cher and Danny DeVito.

Even the name of her business and its tag line (“The last word in original cake design”) allude to her Hollywood constituency; it’s a riff on the mysterious last word uttered by dying media magnate Charles Foster Kane in Orson Welles’ classic film, Citizen Kane.

The tallest cake in the world measured 108.27 feet. It was made for a 2008 Christmas event in Jakarta, Indonesia.

“It’s about an attitude,” explains Katz, 58. “Rosebud was Kane’s ideal — the place where he was happiest. It represents childhood innocence. And since we’re in the movie world here, I also wanted the name to relate to something people would remember.”

On the off chance that folks don’t remember the name, they surely never forget the cakes. Just ask attendees of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art’s annual fundraising soiree in 2011, where female models reclined on dinner tables. Dessert was equally memorable: Two life-size cakes representing provocateur Marina Abramović, who directed the event, and singer Deborah Harry, who performed just before slices of her red-velvet-cake doppel­gänger were passed around. Let them eat cake, indeed.

“I will never forget seeing Debbie and Marina serve themselves to the audience,” Katz recalls. “It was pretty electrifying.”