Showstopper cake



Photo of sculpture in MDF and gloss paint from the 2008 CSM degree show

I think my yellow sculpture was a bit of a showstopper when it featured in the 2008 degree show at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design. Now, as it is the final of the Great British Bake Off  tonight, I thought I’d make a homage to the program, the presenters, the finalists and not the least to baking by turning this yellow sculpture into an edible showstopper. I admit that I like the GBBO program a lot. I don’t have a TV, and I rarely watch stuff on the computer either, but one thing I watch on BBC iPlayer every Wednesday at 10pm is Great British Bake Off.. So here we go:


From 2008 sketch books

First I had to find my old sketch books from the college days. Here you can see the various stages of the idea, the planning and the measuring of the sculpture. The sketch to the right (above) ended up as another sculpture in the show. It was blue with velvet fabric. But back to the sculpture I am turning into a showstopper cake.


From 2008 sketch books


From 2008 sketch books

This looks rather complex to me now, but what I understood from this sketch today is that I needed roughly two longer pieces and one piece which was about half the length of these two. And the height of it all would be determined by the amount of cake that came out of the oven. Main question was, how to do the legs? Was I going to make them to a standard that would make Mary Berry twinkle her eyes and Paul Hollywood give me a handshake?

draw4 Ready to go in the oven. I used Mary Berry’s own Victoria sponge recipe, although I changed it a bit by adding vanilla sugar.mess I even bought a tea cup from Mary Berry’s own brand Mary Berry Collection, that’s how much of a fan I am. However, I’m not sure how much it helped. It looked a mess during the baking process, and boy, how stressed I was. I gave myself 5 hours, which is what the contestants usually get when they’re making a showstopper cake (in this case it included going to the shop and editing and making this post as well). I appreciate how hard it can be to think clearly, work efficiently and make something that looks stunning with that time scale. mess2 I had to cheat a little with the assembling as I cut the cake totally wrong, despite the fact that I made quite a thorough plan for it all. Anyway, I filled the cake with strawberry jam and whipped cream coloured with yellow food colouring, and I placed it on a piece of cardboard cut into the shape of the sculpture. Then I made an icing fondant with yellow food colouring and covered the whole cake. For legs I used shortbread fingers cut in halves.

After an honest piece of hard work the final result was this. assembled It does look a bit like my sculpture, but I might make a few changes if I’m going to do it again. I might even do a painting of this showstopper, for as my boyfriend just said; ‘It looks like something from another dimension‘. Or I might even consider focusing on art rather than complicated cakes like this.

PS. The cake finish would have benefited from a layer of marzipan underneath the yellow icing, but I couldn’t be bothered to do it. I was going to cover the shortbread legs with yellow icing fondant as well, but I ran out of paste. And also, by the time I had finished the cake I didn’t have the time to build the edible wall I was planning to put in the middle of the sculpted cake. However, the cake tasted great, it was totally scrumptious. I will post the recipe shortly.

Leave a Reply