On top of her work for our Photo Studio, Emily has been bringing another amazing talent to the museum. She's been recreating our collection - in cake form!
For the past year I have been making and decorating cakes inspired by the Museum’s collections. It started with a Nelson cake and has grown from there with the encouragement of my colleagues.
What do you make for one of the curators of the Nelson, Navy, Nation gallery? A chocolate cake decorated like Nelson’s Trafalgar Coat, of course. After a tour of Nelson, Navy, Nation from James Davey, I couldn’t help but be inspired by the item and found a way to make it edible.
To celebrate John Harrison’s 322nd birthday and the recent reopening of the Time & Longitude gallery at the Royal Observatory Greenwich earlier this year, I was challenged to make Harrison’s fourth sea-watch, H4.
By this point I’d been making cakes for almost a year so had grown confident enough to free-hand draw all the clock details onto the icing in edible ink. Though I have now sworn to never make another cake-clock!
To celebrate Richard Dunn’s upcoming publication, Navigational Instruments, I made a compass cake. The museum has got one of the world’s best compass collections so it was difficult to select one for a cake. Richard recommended this detailed Altazimuth compass.
The compass rose was constructed out of layers of carefully cut icing. The compass also had a working needle made especially for it that Richard thoroughly tested before consuming cake.
It’s not only the collection that inspires the cakes, but also the staff that I work with. I made a ship cake that was decorated with a motley crew of museum staff that some people may recognise.
Museum staff members were also used as the cake decorations for curator of art, Katy Barrett’s birthday cake earlier this year.
The collection has also inspired pies; we celebrated Trafalgar Day last year with a Nelson’s uniform pie. It was surprisingly easier and less stressful to make the pie than the cake.
The cakes are inspired by my love of the collection and enjoyment in sharing what I’ve created with my colleagues, who continue to encourage my baking. This next year will hopefully involve a Queen’s House cake, a Stubb’s cake and a dazzle paint cake so keep your eyes out.
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