In October 2019 I entered a show piece at the Jersey Shore Cake and Cookie Convention. My cake won gold for the professional sculpted category! I chose to create a gorilla mother holding her baby:) I have always had an obsession with gorillas. I think they are so beautiful and I am amazed by how human-like they are. When you stare in a gorilla's eyes you can feel a soul looking back at you. This was one of the main characteristics I wanted to achieve in my sculpture. I also wanted to portray this loving and powerful mother, supporting its baby in her hands. Both the mother and her newborn are staring out at you, almost hopelessly. This is because the only time I have ever seen a gorilla in person has sadly been at a zoo. They are not there by choice, and yes in some cases they may have a good life, but us humans put them there, against their will. We take them out of their homes, cut down their habitats and build fake ones for us to stare at them and enjoy. That is why the mother gorilla has to be so protective but at the same time hopeless, because of us. I don't mean for this piece to be so depressing, my biggest goal was to capture the beauty of this beautiful animal, because they truly are so beautiful.
NOW, the creation of this gorilla cake was not a walk in the park! I spent 55 hours creating this sculpture, in 4 days. Needless to say, there were quite a few sleepless nights. But when you are doing what you love, the time just flies on by. There were some rules I had to follow when planning the cake:
- The base and design could not exceed more than 20” x 20”
- The piece had to be more than 12” tall
- The sculpture had to be 75% CAKE and only 25% structure/dummy
- I was required to take at least 6 process photos while creating the cake
What ended up really blowing the judges away was that my piece was all cake! I will show you what I mean:)
I started with a round 18” base and a threaded rod going where the center of the gorilla would be:
I used pound cake to build up the entire body of the mother gorilla, the baby is added later. I first built the bottom of her body, carved the shape, then placed dowels and a cake board on top to support the first section of cake. I added the second half of her body on top of the bottom cake and continued to carve the body, adding legs and hands as well. At this point I had the entire body of the Gorilla carved in cake. I made a supportive board for the head which I screwed onto the threaded rod so it could not move. Lastly, I added cake for the head and carved it into the basic shape of the gorillas face.
Once the cake was carved, I covered the entire surface in a layer of chocolate ganache. This seals the cake to keep it fresh and creates a smooth and hard surface for me to be able to sculpt on. The recipe for my chocolate ganache can be found in my courses!
Now it was time to sculpt the details which took the most amount of time, in this case 20 hours!! It takes time to create the intricate details to truly make the gorilla realistic. I used modelling chocolate to sculpt this beautiful lady. I have my own recipe I use to create my modelling chocolate. The recipe can be found in the Tyrion Lannister cake course on cakingart.com. I love this recipe because the paste is not real chocolate so it does not melt in my hand as I work and I can put it in the refrigerator when I am not working to keep the cake fresh. I have worked with regular modelling chocolate before, store bought and home made, and they work great as well, I just love my recipe the best:) At this point I also added the baby gorilla! I built up the body and face in modelling chocolate and then went in and sculpted the details.
The last step was to paint the entire piece to bring the gorilla and her baby to life! I recorded the whole painting process and edited it into a time-lapse! Check out the video below!
I was humbled to receive a perfect score for my cake. The judges said they tried to find something wrong with it, but could not. It was a great feeling to have all of that hard work pay off. I love competing and look forward to entering more events in the future! Check out the other great competition below! I will be adding a small course to cakingart.com with full instruction on the painting of the gorilla, along with my ganache and modeling chocolate recipe, stay tuned!