As It Happens

British baker creates life-sized edible effigy of Boris Johnson

Rosie Dummer unveiled her life-sized cake version of the Boris Johnson at the U.K.'s largest baking show in London on Friday. She drew inspiration from the U.K. prime minister's famously bungled stunt during the 2012 Olympics, in which he became stuck while suspended from a zip line.

Rosie Dummer estimates her baked effigy of British PM weighs about 'one-and-a-half real Borises'

Cake maker Rosie Dummer makes the final touches to a life-sized cake depicting British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the Cake and Bake Show in London on Friday, Oct 4, 2019. (Victoria Jones/PA/The Associated Press)


Rosie Dummer has made cakes of Bollywood dancers, a life-size rocking horse and even the Queen's guard — life-size versions complete with the bearskin hats, gold buttons and belts.

Today, she unveiled her latest creation at the Cake and Bake show in London: a life-sized, mostly edible effigy of U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson suspended from a zip line, in tribute to his famously bungled stunt during the 2012 Olympics when he was mayor of London.

Here is some of what she told As it Happens guest host Nil Köksal about her creation.

Describe to us this cake you've made.

So I've got my Boris — so we've got Boris Johnson on the zip wire. This is kind of taken from 2012, where he was caught on a zip wire. And we just thought it was a little bit of a funny moment, and we were going to immortalize him in cake.

Why did you want to make a life-sized cake of Boris Johnson suspended on a zip line?

You're making me sound really nutty at the moment. No, it's because we're with a cake-and-bake show. So this is a big show in London, all for people who love baking, cake decorating.

And [we] always do a lovely feature piece at the front that's a little bit entertaining — something the public is going to enjoy. And a little bit of a show-off, really, as to what you can do with edible ingredients.

So this year, it was a little bit topical. We decided to do Boris, because everybody's talking about Boris at the moment, and we thought we'd tap into that.

And it's not just baking — the engineering involved it is part of what made us interested in your story and your creation. So gravity is a factor. How did you make this happen?

My husband is an engineer, so thankfully I get a little bit of advice from him. But essentially, I have to be honest — just between you, me and presumably your listeners — there is a little bit of structure involved, because without it, obviously, he would fall over.

So I do have a welder. I use the welder to create a structure that hopefully will support the body weight.

And I have to tell you: this cake is heavier than Boris himself. It takes two people to lift it. So essentially, we've got a little bit of a frame in there and that's supporting the cake itself. 

Boris Johnson was literally left hanging during a stunt as part of the London 2012 Olympics celebrations. (CBC)

How much does it weigh?

I would say if you say it's probably a one-and-a-half rugby players. I'm going to measure it like that. I'd say it's one-and-a-half rugby players.

Or one-and-a-half Borises, even. One-and-a-half real Borises. It's heavier than a person, definitely.

How long did it take you to make it?

Too long. Far too long. It's taken me, in all, probably about the best part of a month — because that's including my drawing it up, working out how to do it ... sourcing things that will help me along the way, like the frame, etc. So the best part of a month.

Dummer says the cake took over a month to design, bake and construct. (Victoria Jones/PA/The Associated Press)

But putting the cake in and doing the cake part of it has been a good week. And when I say a week, I mean, you wake up in the morning and don't do anything [else] until two o'clock the next morning. So I'd say it's double-time week, maybe.

And is it all edible?

No, no. And I can't pretend that it is, although I'd love to.

But part of the illusion is created by the fact that the bottom half is mainly the structure. All of his body is cake, and up to his helmet is cake. So I like to think of the bottom that is maybe the cake stand, if you will.

And why did you pick chocolate?

Well the truth, is I like using a mixture of chocolate and sugar paste. I always liked chocolate cake. So chocolate is one of the things that I find is an easy win, an easy sell to people. They all love it.

And also, I like covering my cakes in chocolate, because when you're doing a big cake, often here people use butter cream. But everything would just fall and slip with butter cream, whereas chocolate sets hard and you can then attach the sugar paste to it and it doesn't slip.

Your fingers crossed, it doesn't slip! But so far, so good.

Why did you pick this particular moment in Boris Johnson's political life?

I think much as I'd like to say it was because it was funny, it wasn't. It was really because of the "illusion cake" theme. So it fitted in with a theme, and suddenly the idea of someone suspended in midair was perfect.

And Boris — it just all married together. So it's been a lot of fun. Everyone's reaction has been what we wanted, which is just a little bit of fun. Whether they love Boris or whether they hate him, it doesn't matter. They've all loved the cake. They've all had to giggle.

And to be truthful, we worried that maybe people would take political connotations from it, but they haven't. They've been cool about it.

I think with any politician you run that risk. And the truth, is people will say "I love Boris," or they will say "I hate Boris, but I love your cake."

Interview produced by Rachel Levy-McLaughlin. Q&A edited for length and clarity.


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