Valentyn Shtefano's pastries were known for attracting stares and giggles as well as lip-smacking murmurs. But even his fiancee was surprised when Shtefano told her he was making her wedding dress - out of flour, eggs, sugar and caramel.

The dress, made of 1,500 cream puffs and weighing 20 pounds, took the 28-year-old baker two months to make, and by the end of the wedding reception, bride Viktoriya said she didn't want to take it off.

"At first, it was even a little embarrassing," Viktoriya Shtefano said of the dress she wore to the couple's reception in August.

Shtefano is a rising star in the field of baking as visual art, earning him a following in this city near the border with Slovakia. His creations have generated a buzz in a place where cake is often layers of heavy cream, wafers and nuts or poppy seeds -- more something to eat than to look at.

Some of Shtefano's cakes are strictly for mature audiences, like a pair of breasts on display at a pizzeria where his goods are sold. But he also created an elaborate Easter cake that drew hundreds to a cathedral. It was a black and gold globe hatching from an Easter egg, with pieces of eggshell on top of the globe and falling off to the side.

But Shtefano's biggest challenge was the wedding dress cake. At first, he sewed empty cream puffs together, but the dress collapsed. Then, he carefully attached the puffs to a wedding dress frame, and Viktoriya spent a couple of hours each night before the wedding modeling the dress as Shtefano added more puffs.QUICK HIT | Don't eat the wedding cake, wear it


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