Carved Selfridges Cake (Cakebook Britain)

Selfridges, Birmingham UK

Finally, it’s back to normal and regular posting!!  A mad last couple of weeks at school and then the first week away on the South Coast of Britain, ‘wild camping’ hasn’t left much time for blogging, but, as promised, here is the ‘Cake Book Britain’ entry that we so lovingly created.
The brief?
To create a British landmark that would go on a huge map of Britain made entirely of cake and sweets.  The cake had to be relatively in scale but no more than 1 metre by 1.5 metres.  So, if your building was a big one, your cake had to be slightly bigger, although it didn’t have to be exactly to scale!  For example, Selfridges was bigger than The Globe theatre.
We had to submit a proposal and any building we chose had to be linked to the North East of Britain (as it was part of the EAT! festival in the North East).  Obviously, all of the North East landmarks went really quickly, so we had to think of something else, and, as I originally come from Birmingham, we decided on the iconic Selfridges building in Brum.
Just under 1 metre by 70 cm.
The inner core was a box, tightly wrapped in foil, and the outer walls would be made of various flavours of cake.  We baked eighteen 10″ x 10″ cakes.  We sprayed 1,650 white chocolate buttons with edible silver lustre spray.  We made 2 kg of buttercream and used five jars of jam to sandwich the cakes.  D’s dad made the board.  He cut it to size and nailed a ‘backboard’ to it, to reduce the number of sides we would need to cover with cake.  It was then covered entirely in tin foil.

The board, backboard and inner box, ready for cake assembly.

The boys sprayed the buttons – we’re not sure how many were eaten in the process, but it was an enjoyable task, by all accounts!  They laid them out in rows (this took around an hour) and then went to town, spraying them all over with edible silver lustre spray.  What a pretty pattern was left!

Getting buttons ready to be sprayed.

The cake walls needed building – we used a ‘brick wall’ formation for strength and dowelled them to the board.  We jammed and butter-creamed in between, ‘concreting’ the cakes together.

Creating the walls.

The walls then needed carving….

Carving the shape….

The next stage involved buttercreaming and crumb-coating the entire building and leaving it to harden whilst we had dinner!  Whilst it set, we coloured the 5 kg of sugarpaste (fondant) icing a dark blue.

Colouring the icing….

The icing was rolled and cut into long strips which we applied to the sides of the cake.  We developed the shape of the Selfridges building by layering sugrapaste at the corners, to get the ’rounded’ curves.

Applying the icing…

We left the cake overnight to harden, covered with tin foil.  Then came the tricky bits….
Next morning (the day of Cakebook Britain), D had to take Z to football.  He arrived back at 11.00a.m. We started to line up the buttons in rows at 11.30a.m, knowing we had to be finished in an hour and a half.
Tick, tock.  Tick, tock.
A well oiled machine – the boys turning over the buttons, me dabbing royal icing onto the backs and D applying them.  Apparently, that was his job….  🙂
Tick, tock.  Tick, tock.
Nearly running out of buttons…..
Tick, tock…
Finished.  At 1.45p.m.

Applying the 1,650 buttons with royal icing.

COMPLETED!!   We had to be in Gateshead for 2 o’clock at the latest, so we were cutting it fine…. it was loaded into the boot and driven to the venue (Gateshead Stadium) where it was placed on the huge map of Britain… Can you see St Paul’s next to us?

Here we are, on the map. The roads were made from Bourbon biscuits… the land from hundreds and thousands!

The final judging took place – every cake baking team was allowed to vote for one cake.  There were some fantastic ones… it was so hard to choose.
Sadly, we didn’t get placed, but the fun we had designing, planning, baking and making it was well worth the effort.  At the end of the day, the map was opened up and everyone was allowed onto the map to eat the cakes!!!  A true ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ moment!

Everyone descends onto Britain to eat it.

We’re already planning what we might attempt next year!

Recipes used:

Chocolate Tray Bake Cake
Madeira Cake

Stay tuned for ‘Zombie Cake’ !!!


About Scrap Kittie

A sewing and baking addict, vegetarian animal-lover, teacher. And an avid music fan...all the wrong sorts of music. Hence the blog was nearly called 'Hot Cake' after The Fall's song.
This entry was posted in Birthday cakes, Buttercream, Celebration cakes, Chocolate, Fondant icing, Icing, Large cakes, Lemon cake, Novelty Cakes, Raspberry Jam, Sponge cake, Tray Bakes, Vanilla cake and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Carved Selfridges Cake (Cakebook Britain)

  1. Hey! love this post, we heard about this map a few weeks ago, and were really impressed, great to see how some of the cakes were actually made. Massive congratulations to all involved. We are an English tea shop in NYC and love every thing to do with the UK, especially afternoon tea and of course CAKE! If your as big a fan as us, you might like our blog
    we post recipes for British themed food all the time. 🙂

    • Moo's Pantry says:

      Thanks for leaving a comment – this was great fun to do and definitely the biggest thing I’ve ever done. We think they may do Cakebook Europe next year as each year the map expands (2010 – Cakebook Gateshead, 2011 – Cakebook North East and 2012 – Cakebook Britain). Checked out your site – lovely!! Moo x

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