Sea you soon

By Anju Maskeri | Mumbai

Updated: 27 September, 2020 07:35 IST

With travel curbs preventing them from taking off for that beach vacation, bakers are satisfying their wanderlust by creating stunning island cakes

It seems like 2020 has been the "it" year for bakers. From sourdough bread to buckwheat cookies, social media is full of experimental food experiences that dominated the pandemic-induced global lockdown. And intrepid bakers are only happy to push the boundaries. Island cakes now join the trend. Made using gelatin, chocolate ganache, crumbled cookies and nuts, these cakes depict the ocean, sandy beaches, foliage, and marine life with astounding detail.

Three cake artistes from around the world creating these edible masterpieces, tell us what goes into their making.

'Making the ocean was fun, but challenging'

Uma Niroshan, Toronto
Canada-based cake artiste Uma Niroshan says she missed going to the beach with her family during the lockdown. "To recreate the mood indoors, my husband insisted that I bake something beach-like. Considering how stressed we are about what's going on in the world, being on an island would help us calm down, we thought."

Uma Niroshan

Her heart-shaped island cake has a chocolate cake base and is covered with chocolate fudge, which helps keep it stiff and easy to carve. Niroshan says making the ocean was exciting but tough. "I made a gelatin solution for it. It is time consuming work; you have to pour the mix gradually for it to set well. So, while I poured the gelatin step by step, I also added some fondant sea creatures to make it look like an aquatic wonderland."

She flavoured the gelatin with bubblegum. She says those attempting this cake should do it if they are willing to soldier on. While Niroshan also dabbles in cupcakes, cookies, cakepops, macarons and donuts, she has baked six island cakes during the lockdown. And it's just the beginning, she says.

'Stems from my love for marine life'

Sheelu John, Dubai
It's not just seasoned bakers who are experimenting with the island cake. Sheelu John considers baking a hobby, but that hasn't stopped her from getting adventurous. Recently, she has been busy creating underwater cakes and putting up the stunning photos on Instagram.

Sheelu John

"It stems from my love for marine creatures," she says. John explains that baking this cake only takes 30 minutes, but once the gelatin mix is made and poured around it, it has to be refrigerated for eight hours, or overnight, for it set well. Unsurprisingly, her creations have been a hit with both kids and adults. Buoyed with the feedback, John says she is creating new designs.

'It's an ode to my country'

Jessica Rosari, Philippines
Jessica Rosario's version of the island cake is inspired by the islands of Palawan in Philippines. "Instead of just copying a random island from an Internet photo, I thought why not promote my country's tourism," says the cake artiste, who is based in Qatar. She learnt of the sweeping social media trend when a colleague sent her a picture. She remembers being awestruck by the illusion of sand and seashells. It's not for beginners, though, she adds.

Jessica Rosari

"First, you need to bake a cake. After it cools down, unevenly cut it in your desired island shape and then put it in a leak-proof springform cake pan with acetate sheets or cake collar to secure the jelly. You then make a ganache and cover the cake with it," she explains. She painted her creation in shades of white and gray using edible colour to create a jagged, rocky appearance for the upper exposed part and used white chocolate for the lower submerged area. "Later, I added some green-hued desiccated coconut to serve as foliage and make it realistic. The ground digestive biscuits will serve as sand." The time and attention spent in making it, along with the combination of cake and gelatine, is what differentiates it from other cakes, she explains. "It was totally worth it. I haven't got one negative comment."

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First Published: 27 September, 2020 07:45 IST

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