Haute gateaux: Celebrating the elegance and 'stranger things’ about cake

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Cake International is calling on cake artists and fans alike to revel in everything supernatural, scintillating and skilful. Pic: Cake International
Cake International is calling on cake artists and fans alike to revel in everything supernatural, scintillating and skilful. Pic: Cake International

Related tags Cake International Bake International Renshaw Rainbow Dust Colours Competition tradeshow

Cake International is returning to the NEC Birmingham for 2023 (3-5 November) with an impressive roster of artists from around the world whipping out all the stops to produce a nod to royalty, an homage to fashion, other-worldly life-size installations and fantastical floral fabrications.

“When you’re different, sometimes you feel like a mistake,”​ Will Byers told Eleven in Stranger Things - the runaway success hitting #1 on Netflix's Top 10 lists in 91 countries - but when it comes to cake, being different can rocket the ordinary to something extraordinary.

The TV show’s supernatural slant also has tendrils enveloping the upcoming tradeshow being held in Birmingham in November.

Stranger-things Cake International

Building on the bone-chilling success of last year’s Haunted House, the Sugar Screams team will be opening a portal to the heart of Hawkins, Indiana, where the Mind Flayer roamed (an entity created by Vecna in season four, after Eleven banished him to the Upside Down).

Using Renshaw Baking and Rainbow Dust Colours products, over 70 sugar artists are working to bring together a mix of 80’s nostalgia, science fiction and the most terrifying creatures from the Upside Down to the pink carpet.

And talking the darker side of cake, the ‘Prince of Darkness’ Ozzy Osbourne will make an appearance at Cake International, in the form of a life-size sculpture by multi-award winning cake artist Jane Lashbrook. Meet the man, the myth and the legend.

Another larger-than-life figure to grace the aisles in all his sugar-coated glory will be His Majesty The King. Resident sugar artist Emma Jayne Cake Design will be creating the showstopper, sponsored by The Cake Decorating Company.


From the bizarre to the beautiful...

This year, sugar artistry goes haute couture in an homage to Coco Chanel. This exquisite display will showcase meticulously crafted edible masterpieces that embody the style icon, known for her now-classic innovation: ‘the little black dress’.

Chanel’s chic, monochromatic designs revolutionised the world of fashion and the camellia flower motif became the instantly recognisable symbol of the brand.

Keeping within that style, Natalie Porter, owner of Immaculate Confections, has inducted the help of her talented students to stock up The Flower Shop with peonies, lisianthus, dahlias, sunflowers, clematis and foliage crafted entirely from sugar.

Bake International will be back, but bigger and better than last year’s inaugural show, providing a platform for all things baking, from bread to pastries, along with a raft of baking celebs taking to the stage to provide hands-on techniques, tips and tricks. Baking royalty running demos in the Nielsen-Massey sponsored theatre include Jane Dunn of Jane’s Patisserie and record-breaking author and blogger Lottie Bedlow from Great British Bake Off.

Cake International will also offer full day workshops in small classroom settings to learn from some of the most talented artists in the cake industry, such as Javier Azocar from Lumas Cake and award-winning chocolatier Aneesh Popat.

“The show is bigger and more exciting with new celebrities, a bigger Bake International theatre and Emma Jayne featuring again as our resident artist,”​ said Melanie Underwood, head of Cake International and Bake International.

Best in show

Cake International competitions

Entries opened in March for what is touted as the world’s biggest cake decoration competition.

The number of entries for 2023 are expected to be in the thousands with competitors flying in from as far as Indonesia and Argentina, however, there’s still time to be counted among that number and get your hands on the Best in Show trophy and £2,500 cash prize. Late entries close on 8 October.

Open to anyone, the competition is on point in showcasing the ingenious creativity and skill of cake decorators worldwide.

Cake International Junior Competition is open to bakers up to 16 years of age, tasked to create a single-tiered cake in supernatural and jungle themes.

Running in tandem is a brand-new competition under the Bake International banner.

This your chance to show off not only your baking skills but mechanical dexterity with a technically perfect gingerbread building. Judges are also looking for fabulous fruit cakes, sourdough bread, drip cakes, vegan lemon drizzle cakes, shortbread and lush afternoon tea pastries.

This year’s tradeshow is sponsored by Renshaw - manufacturer of fondant icing, marzipan, frostings, caramel and mallows - and Rainbow Dust - producer of food colourings, edible paints and pens, dusts, glitters and other cake decorating essentials.

One entry ticket gains access to Cake International and Bake International, plus sister shows, The Creative Craft Show and Simply Christmas.

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