We were asked to make a birthday cake to celebrate the 100th issue of Icon Magazine reimagining the design of a cake and considering the space in which it could be presented and served. In a previous project, we designed a deconstructed dessert for 100 wedding guests plated on a grid of tiles, making a huge tabletop pattern that would be broken up as it was served. This time, we wanted to make a sculpture that would occupy a space vertically, horizontally and with depth that would present many different angles as you walked around it.
We designed a web of fishing lines with supporting structures above and below, creating a matrix on which to attach the cakes. We had 100 clear perspex discs made, each of which would support a unique combination of cake elements. After deciding the frame of the cake, we wanted to give the sculpture the sense of movement. An explosion seemed to us to be a good thing to try and build with cake, so we reconfigured the lines into a shape that would suggest a dense 'epicentre', leading outwards to smaller fragments, as if an explosion had been freeze-framed.
Our cake elements were inspired by the colours of an explosion and fruits and vegetables of the late summer - beetroot and passionfruit microwave sponge cakes, meringues of strawberry and carrot, strawberry and yoghurt marshmallows, calendula and tagetes petals, sauces of raspberry and carrot, powders of beetroot, yoghurt, strawberry and raspberry, and blocks of dark chocolate ganache.
We subsequently designed three more Exploding Cakes, which each iteration constructed differently and with a changing menu. We presented the second version at the exhibition of the Experimental Food Society in November 2011, installed one in the entrance of the Victoria & Albert Museum in early 2016, and built one in the middle of a marquee for a 21st birthday party in the Spring.