Balancing act Jumbo was just a piece of cake

Top prize for Petone baker

OLIVIA WANNAN
Last updated 05:00 28/07/2014
Pauline Nunns

BIG-TOP PERFORMER: Pauline Nunns with the award-winning creation that took more than two days to create. The design required wire throughout it to strengthen it.

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It was the elephant in the room that everyone wanted to talk about.

And it won Petone baker Pauline Nunns the Wellington Sugarcraft Guild's top novelty cake prize.

The half-metre tall fondant creation took the stay-at-home mum a painstaking 50 hours to create.

The cake design - made from edible modelling paste and fondant icing, but with a base of polystyrene to prevent spoiling - was on display with other category entries and winners at Lower Hutt's Dowse Art Museum over the weekend.

"Probably the biggest job was sculpturing the shape, the dips and his neck and his belly. Once you get the shape, the covering with fondant is probably the easiest part."

The elephant's final features were then sculpted from the grey fondant using pictures Nunns found online.

"I had to Google backside, front sides - each time I had to do a body part. I've learnt a bit about elephant anatomy."

While the display might be partly inedible, Nunns had to provide evidence the creature could be made from cake.

Being such a balancing act, with the large elephant perched atop the small ball, the design required wire throughout it to strengthen it - a feature not allowed in previous years' competitions, the trained chef said. "There is so much more you can do. Now it's common to only have part of the cake that's edible."

The open novelty cake category, with a circus theme this year, was not the first time Nunns' name would appear on the regional trophy. She won it in the competition's first year, back in 1992. "When you've been doing it for a long time, you're not sure if you're still up for it."

But with her prize a cake-decorating book from the UK, she "won't be retiring just yet".

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- The Dominion Post

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