Western Cape master-baker Dot Klerck received the highest honour by winning the best Showpiece award at the international 2017 Cake Master Awards for her life-size elephant and calf cake. Klerck lives in Wellington and runs a business that specialises in sculpted cakes.  The spectacular cake made a debut at the Cape Town leg of the Good Food and Wine Show in June this year. The awards, dubbed the ‘Cake Oscars’ was held in Birmingham, in the United Kingdom, on November 5. The intricately decorated, very realistic, elephant and her calf competed against a 3m Statue of Liberty cake and a life-size wedding dress cake.

The Wedding Dress Cake by Emma Jayne. Photograph: Buzzfeed

Klerck said the aim of her Elephant and Calf project was to raise awareness of the ongoing brutal killing of elephants, and to give people the opportunity to get a feeling of how majestic the animals are.

“Not too many people can gaze on an elephant in their lives. The life-size sculpture was an opportunity for them to see their beauty up close,” she said.

Klerck collaborated with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and The Elephant Project SA in constructing her masterpiece.

To make the life-size cake, Klerck used 1200 eggs, 120kg chocolate, and 160kg of edible fondant. It took 14 days to construct and weighed a whopping 1.2 tons.

Building an elephant is similar to running an ultra-marathon, Klerck said. It takes a lot of stamina and, as all mammoth tasks go, “you have to take it one bite at a time”.

She says the award is a motivation to continue using her craft as a way to raise awareness and has already teamed up with conservation activist group BloodLions in a project that will continue to shed light on the canned lion hunting industry.

Her 2018 project will include a life-size cake depicting  a pride of lions, including a lioness, lion and cubs.

Article written by

Nidha Narrandes

Nidha Narrandes is a food-obsessed travel addict with 19 years of journalism experience. She is happiest on a road to nowhere without a plan. A masterchef at home, she can't do without chilli - because chilli makes the world a tastier place.