I always thought there wasn’t a cake I could not eat. Except fruit cake, naturally. Fruit cake are not natural and have something of the underworld about them but then again, everyone knows this. I’m here for sponge cake, red velvet cake, chocolate cake, Madeira cake…look, cake is cake and it is a good thing.
So, what does one do about one’s waist line when the glorious flour-sugar mixture does not want one to be great? You simply fashion it into something so aesthetically pleasing, so wow-inducing, that you absolutely cannot bear to stick a knife into it.
This is what Maria Makajuola of www.sweetcaketv.com and the collaborators of the Nigerian Cake Art Collaboration managed to achieve. Cakes that celebrated our great nation while still looking unbelievable good. From the trite to the profound, the cakes came in every shape, size and colour.
I am particularly impressed as I cannot manage a Victoria sponge without it sloping off to the side. Savoury food is my forte and I will cook the hell out of an egusi soup (by that, I mean you will not die), but baking? Not my strong point. The patience, the skill and dexterity required is nothing short of amazing.
The Nigerian Cake Art Collaboration is a virtual exhibition of creative sugar works to celebrate Nigerian Independence Day by the finest cake artists in Nigeria and in the wider Diaspora. The showcase was intended to show aspects of Nigerian culture to the world in the form of amazing and educational sugar and cake art.
All the cake artists who were invited to participate in the collaboration were chosen because of their persistent pursuit of excellence that is evident in their work. A large proportion of the cake artists are actually sugar-craft teachers. Whether teaching through live attended classes or via online blogs or videos, they educate in cake craft. It truly was a collaboration of the masters of sugar-craft.
Each artist had to pick a category about Nigeria to explore from the following; art, folktales, historical kingdoms, food, fashion, spirituality, nature and wildlife, music and architectural landmarks.
The aim of the collaboration is to inspire Nigeria cake artists to pursue excellence in their craft, to celebrate Nigeria as a country and appreciate everything we have and also to showcase the talents of Nigerian cake artists to the world and make them more visible in the global cake industry.
1. Terry Adido of Grated Nutmeg is a firm favourite of the Viva Naija House, and his offering did not disappoint! This showpiece is paying homage to old style aso oke fabrics that are native to Nigeria.
And now, for some visual treats!
The king greets his queen. By Efua Olumide. Cake artist Efua Olumide of Exotique Cakes paid homage to a historical biblical narrative about Bilikisu Sungbo (Queen Sheba), originally from Ijebu Ode, visiting king Solomon in the days of old.
Omolabake Apata Abrigo of Cake Expression presented this awesome piece called LIBERTY! This is what she says about this piece;
“Independence day marks the day Nigeria gained her freedom from the colonial masters. It signifies the unity of our dear country Nigeria which comprises the North, South, East & the West; our diversities in languages, culture and traditions. The green-white-green flag becomes a symbol of unity proudly display by all Nigerians as one entity: one Nigeria, one unity, one love.”
Bringing you a taste of authentic Nigerian art is cake artists Nnena Nkwocha of Ice and Satin Confectionery. We like the unusual look of this awe-inspiring masterpiece with all its intricate details! This is her interpretation of her piece:
“Each tier in this project is inspired by a form of Nigerian Art. The top tier represents a carved, painted calabash.
It sits on a carved ivory armlet such as those worn by the titled women of south east Nigeria. The next tier is a hexagon showcasing masks inspired by various Nigerian masquerades including the Oji-onu masquerade of Iboland.
The bottom tier represents our rich dark wood carvings featuring an antelope, an elephant, a crocodile and a lion on a traditional stool. Stools like this decorated with carved scenes from folklore or wild life, were often found in the homes of most great and titled men of Igbo land. The animals featured were often indicative of the character of the owner; Lion (Odum) – fearless brave, Elephant (enyi) – strength, leadership, Crocodile ( Agu -iyi) – tenecious, dreaded Antelope (Ele) – Swift.”
“Picking a single hero among loads of selfless heroes in Nigeria is a difficult task because we have heroes in all walks of life in Nigerian. I picked 12 to cover politics, music and entertainment, education, humanitarian work, medicine and sport.
Fela Anikulapo Ransome-Kuti, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikuwe, MKO Abiola, General Muritala, and Ahamadu Bello. Rasheed Yekini, Dr Adadevoh, Julianah Omorinola Olaiya (aka Mama Ekundayo)”
Sugar flower goddess Ezinne Okonkwo of Dewdrops Catering Services created this marvellous nature and love inspired piece for the Nigerian Cake Art Collaboration and here is her interpretation in her own words,
“The base tier is a solid mountain. At the foot of the mountain all you see is greenery. The next tier is a giant and ancient tree that is filled with statement leaves. It’s where the lovers go to tell their love story. From the giant tree, they descend down the mountain to the greenery. The top 2 tiers show Zuma Rock as white and pure which gives hope to Nigeria as a country; making the flag stand strong”.
Eso Effiong Eso of Big Exude N Cakes created this elegant artistic piece while repping his Ibibio roots. In his words, “In this art, my Centre of interest is the ekpo mask carving. The masquerade itself is been exhibited with rhythmic sounds and enchantments from drums believed to be made from the hides and skins of animals killed by the ibibio warriors and wars leaders of the clan.
The Ekpe masquerade is a symbol of (traditional) spirituality in the Efik culture (other parts of Nigeria as well, but the focus of this piece pertains to the Efik culture of Calabar, cross river state).
Cake artist Naomi Samson Ayuba of Naosam Delightful Cakes and Events in Northern Nigeria brings a folktale alive with her piece for the Nigerian Cake Art Collaboration. This is her interpretation in her own words:
“My cake is about the Gbagyi People. Gbagyi is the name and the language of Gbagyi ethnic group in Nigeria. They are the native of the Federal Capital Territory but also found in Niger, Kaduna, Nasarawa and Kogi States. Gbagyi people are known to be peace-loving, transparent and accommodating people. Their cultures are still kept intact despite of colonialism and westernisation.
Most Nigerian women carry loads on their head but the Gbagyi women use their shoulders, that was the method used by their progenitors and so younger people learnt it too. Today the women still carry loads on the shoulders because it is easier, more convenient and effective to them. They can carry heavy loads on their shoulders over a long distance.
According to oral tradition, however, Gbagyi people believed that CARRYING HEAVY LOADS ON THE HEAD AMOUNTS TO RETARDING THE HUMAN CAPACITY TO THINK and REASON APPROPRIATELY AS THE HEAD REPRESENTS THE CAPITAL OF HUMAN BEINGS . Today I use this medium to show the World the rich cultural heritage of the Gbagyi people and Nigeria at large.”
Here is her interpretation of her cake in her own words:
“The cake portrays a typical village setting,as evidenced by the huts and rustic setting. This setting is further divided into three main areas: the head of the household with his children, the women of the household and last of all,the elders. You can see that an elderly member of the household is depicted lounging outside his hut, near his family, drinking Palm wine and observing all general proceedings going on in the compound. Next is the wife/mother of the household, and she is depicted in this setting preparing the food for her family (for example native soup), while her daughter (the eldest daughter or ‘Ada’) is seen helping her mother with the preparations (in this scenario,probably pounding ede). Lastly, we also see the head of the household gathering his children before him in order to impart his advice, his experiences, wisdom and good morals through proverbs and idioms, or storytelling.”
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