The Region 8 SE Exhibition Show Cake
This project came about as region 8 members loved working on the Queen’s replica Wedding cake and whilst they were assembled at the museum for a photo, they asked what the next project was. I suggested that we make a fun cake for the museum to include various aspects associated with Peek Freans and the items in the museum.
Gary and Frank were asked if they would like another cake and they leapt at the idea. The cake was designed taking inspiration from the items surrounding us in the museum. It was decided to produce a cake of 4 tiers topped with the famous Peek Frean tower and to try to include as many members as possible including individual members. To aid this design it was decided to split the region into 4 areas with each area being responsible for a cake tier – London, Kent, West and Central.
London Area’s - Jackie Blackwell – Surbiton Branch: The bottom tier has five sugar replica biscuit tins in various mediums and sizes. The five tins were to be placed on a 26” round board and London branches were contacted and asked to replicate the tins. Hillingdon branch tin was four sided and they used brush embroidery and gold painting on their tin. Kent (Orpington) asked if they could join in with the London Branches and took on an octagonal shape and each side had a bas relief plaque with a military character on. London branch’s tin was a hexagonal Chinese design which was replicated with plaques that were airbrushed. Surbiton branch had the only round tin which had a painted panel all the way round using a mix of icing sheets and painting. The top and bottom involved some royal icing and decoupage. Windsor branch tin was four sided with the corners chamfered which was covered in cornelli work and plaques with small flowers.
West Branches - Justine Talbot - Guildford Branch: 16” octagon 2nd tier cake covered with sugarpaste to emulate the texture of a biscuit, with each panel framed to imitate the shortcake biscuit borders. The whole tier was then coloured to resemble the aged biscuits on display in the museums display cabinet. Portsmouth branch made the front and rear plaques, using framed artwork on the walls as inspiration. The remaining 6 panels on the cake evolved from items found in the museum. Two different modes of transportation; road and rail, the weighing scales, a savoury biscuit selection box, a sack of wheat and a plaque on an exterior wall. These were all made from white royal icing runouts as blank canvases, to be decorated using fine artists paintbrushes and edible dusts mixed with alcohol or piped to add texture and then dry dusted by Justine, Carolyn and Sandy.
Kent Area Maggie Dolton Folestone and Sue Varnals Ashford: 3rd tier – 12” round 6” deep with the main emphasis using royal icing. In collaboration with the Peek Frean museum team, it was decided that the badges of the Peek Frean group would be the highlight of this tier– the Peek Frean badge, the Bermondsey badge, the Lion badge and the Hockey badge together with the famous Peek Frean ‘Jammy Dodger’ biscuit. Several workshops were held and members from Ashford, Folkestone, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells worked on the badges, biscuits, brush embroidery panels and piped blossom flowers. The badges were created with pastillage over curved formas and decorated using royal iced skills – pressure piping, runouts, line work. In total 33 jammy dodgers were made, 6 badges (to allow for breakages during assembly), 20 small brush embroidery panels and over 100 piped flowers. The tier was royal iced, the sides coated with sugarpaste and textured. The biscuits were added to the top of the cake along with the panels and piped blossom flowers. The badges were attached to the side of the tier. Spare biscuits were kept for decorating other tiers.
Central corridor Trudy Gillard and Carolyn Harvey – 8” top tier represents some of the factories sporting events. It was requested that we include Swimming, Snowdonia marathon/ Llanberis marathon, golf, tennis, cricket, snooker, hockey and football. So these were split up between 4 mexican paste sporting panels, originally split between 4 branches. Miniature flower plaques are inspired from two painted biscuit tins from the museum created by Crawley and Southdown as were the plaques.
PF biscuits - The whole region was invited to workshops in Hookwood where they made biscuits in pastillage using three actual moulds from the museum to replicate their real products. These included Marie, PF Shortbread and Pat-a-cake biscuits. As this was a whimsical piece but involved so many techniques, we also went for some biscuits with a bite out of them (with a cutter, not our teeth) Trudy then airbrushed them for definition.
Jan Clarke individual member made three white poppies to sit on top of the Kent tier and between the chefs.
Four plaster pillars were covered in sugarpaste and made into mini Mr Peek's and Mr Frean's. All hand moulded by Carolyn and Justine using either plain sugarpaste or sugarpaste with tylose added. Then a further 4 chefs were created either sleeping or standing on the base tier and 2 climbing the cake.
Clock Tower - Angela Hollands and Val Perry Folkestone Branch: This was only added into the design after Frank told us the clock Tower had to feature on the show cake. The Tower was made from pastillage and measures 4" square at the base and 17.5" tall, templates were made for the Tower and then it was cut out using pastillage paste and fixed together with royal icing, the clock face and hands were made using a mould and Mexican paste, above the clock is octagonal and leaf gelatine was used for the windows, for the domed part of the roof it was dried over a large polystyrene egg and the weather vane was made by using a 26g wire and flower paste for the pointer so it could be turned round! It was inspired by various photos in the museum.
Justine Talbot, Sandy Green, Jackie Blackwell, Geraldine Dahlke, Sonia Williams and Carolyn Harvey helped to put all of the final elements together. It was truly amazing and contained so many skills and techniques.
I have to say a huge thank you to everyone that took part in making our amazing Exhibition Show Cake. It received so much interest and fabulous comments so well done all of you. Gary from the museum came to see the cake in the afternoon and was blown away. So much so he rang the son of the owner of Peek Freans and sent photos then and there, the son was amazed.
The cake was taken to the museum on 28th May and re set up. It will be then taken to the November ICHF International Cake Exhibition at the NEC for a final showing on the National BSG stand before living permanently at the museum. WOW what a team!
Region 8 SE Chairman