Curious Trends


Sugar art and curiosity cakes

Cake sculptures and sugar art for special occasions and publicity events are becoming big business. Some of cake artist Michelle Wibowo’s extraordinary designs can be seen below. Cake-makers are also using other devices to give their product the curiosity factor. Harry Eastwood and Ashley Maddox’s new venture Petit Pois Cakes produces low calorie, vegetable cupcakes.

Michelle Wibowo has been fascinated with cakes and baking ever since she was a child. In her efforts to make something a little different from the mainstream round and square birthday and special occasion cakes, she developed her skills as a sugar sculptress. Some of her most curious creations include:

Michelle’s sculpture for thte Experimental Food Society’s 2010 London Spectacular was a life size suckling pig made entirely of sponge cake and sugar paste, including the vegetables. The cake was on display throughout the day and served at a banquet in the evening.

She also created a giant wedding cake, commissioned by Freeview to set a new Guiness World Record for the largest canine cake. This involved working for for 111 hours over a period of three weeks to the cake, which was nearly six feet long and over four feet high. The intricate details of the corgis’ fur took 16 consecutive hours to craft alone. The cake was made on behalf of a dog friendly bakery, and included canine-favourites such as liver dog food, chicken and beef steak.

Wibowo’s curiously lifelike baby cake was thought by some to be in bad taste. However, she later made a naked baby cake for the V&A’s Power of Making exhibition.

Wibowo was also responsible for the surprise cake commissioned for a young Londoner by his girlfriend on the occasion of his Halloween birthday party. Michelle created a 3D cake of severed head on a silver platter, complete with an apple in his mouth and finger salad for the occasion (in a manner curiously reminiscent of Greenaway’s film The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover).

Last weekend, for this year’s Experimental Food Society Spectacular, Wibowo made a Dodo cake:

When Harry, a cookery writer, met Ashley, a health-conscious marketing supremo, they decided to put one of Harry’s more unconventional ideas into practice. Within 6 months they created had created their vegetable cupcakes and set up a company, Petit Pois Cakes, selling to some of London’s top department stores. Each cupcake contains fewer than 175 calories (less than half the average cupcake), is gluten, lactose and butter-free. Instead of butter, a combination of ground almonds and grated vegetables such as beetroot, pumpkin, courgette and aubergine are used, along with ingredients such as free range egg, natural orange and lemon zest and 70% chocolate and vanilla extract. Adding to the curiosity factor, inside each box of cupcakes is a game, to try and guess the vegetables inside the cake...

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