Cul­ture mas­ter

No more tiers. We catch up with gam­ing won­der baker Frantz to dis­cover more about his per­fect, ul­tra-tasty cre­ations

Games Master - - Contents - Louise Blain

Un­charted dou­bloon cook­ies and Dragon Quest Slime gum­mies fea­ture in our look at game-themed treats.

Miss­ing the Great Bri­tish Bake Off? All that bunt­ing, the charm, the puns, and the won­der­ful ex­cuse to shovel cheese­cake into your face on a weekly ba­sis? Well, Frantz, a soft­ware en­gi­neer from Toulouse in France, might just be able to at least make you as hun­gry for cake. His show­stop­ping food designs are all in­spired by his favourite games and the re­sults look al­most too good to eat. Well, in the case of an an­i­ma­tronic Five Nights At Freddy’s in­spired de­sign, maybe too scary to eat, but we’ll get onto that in a bit. “I’m 36, which means my two best Christ­mas gifts were my NES and my Game­boy. I’m a soft­ware en­gi­neer, but I’ve al­ways been pas­sion­ate about bak­ing,” Frantz says. “I’ve al­ways been known for bak­ing or mak­ing un­usual food. For a sur­prise party back in 2012, I de­cided to bring a Su­per Mario Star cake. I searched the in­ter­net and found a YouTube video from Rosanna Pansino and dis­cov­ered about fon­dant and food colour­ing, which to­tally un­locked my cre­ativ­ity about mak­ing cakes.” Un­locked? More like un­leashed.

Frantz’s In­sta­gram, coderxbaker, is an in­cred­i­ble gallery of tasty designs, in­clud­ing a sweet al­ter­na­tive to the Poké­mon Go Plus wrist ac­ces­sory. When Frantz couldn’t find one for love nor money, he de­cided to make his own. They might not col­lect PokéS­tops or catch Poké­mon, but that’s not re­ally an is­sue when there’s care­fully iced cho­co­late cream cook­ies held onto your wrist with sour gummy candy.

De­spite bak­ing al­most ev­ery day and mak­ing his cre­ations from scratch, as op­posed to fo­cus­ing on dec­o­ra­tion alone, Frantz still thinks of him­self as an am­a­teur. And when it comes to home-made cakes, few can com­pare to his re­cre­ation of Five Nights At Freddy’s tit­u­lar teddy, Freddy Fazbear. Com­plete with sig­na­ture top hat and bow tie, this Hal­loween ex­trav­a­ganza also has mov­ing an­i­ma­tronic eyes to fill you with chills be­fore you even get to the cake.

Freddy or not

“It took me two months from the idea to the re­al­iza­tion. The eyes are 3D printed and they move thanks to ser­vo­mo­tors con­trolled by a mi­cro­con­troller which I pro­grammed,” Frantz ex­plains. “This cake mixes lots of dif­fer­ent skills, from de­sign and elec­tron­ics to craft­ing and pro­gram­ming, which def­i­nitely makes it my hard­est cre­ation.” Yep, those eyes don’t just blink – they also turn to look at you. “It was a cho­co­late cake with pas­sion fruit but­ter­cream and there was marsh­mal­low puffed rice in there too,” Frantz re­veals. “When I make a huge cake I try to make a ba­sic recipe to please ev­ery­one. The big­gest chal­lenge was the 3D printed parts be­cause I was to­tally new to this. I failed with at least four sets of eyes be­fore mak­ing the one I wanted to.”

When it comes to other cre­ations, Frantz has ex­per­i­mented with all kinds of flavours and sweet treats. His Por­tal cake is com­plete with the “lie” that the cube on top is ac­tu­ally a flat piece of ic­ing that only looks 3D from

“I would love to bake a gi­ant colossi cake for shadow of the colos­sus”

a cer­tain an­gle, and a Dragon Quest slime is the big­gest (and cutest) gummy candy he’d ever cre­ated. Frantz even made Un­charted gold cook­ies to cel­e­brate the re­lease of Nathan Drake’s most re­cent ad­ven­ture. But which of his bakes is he most fond of? “I think my favourite is a Sonic cake I made a few years ago,” he pon­ders. “It was my sec­ond at­tempt at a game re­lated cake and I brought it into work. The feed­back was amaz­ing and I loved how this cake brought back mem­o­ries and nos­tal­gia to my co­work­ers.”

But­ter scream

And the se­cret to gam­ing cake suc­cess? Just like Dark Souls, it’s all about per­se­ver­ance. “I’m a very pa­tient and stub­born per­son, so I feel like say­ing there’s noth­ing in par­tic­u­lar which has taken too long to make,” Frantz says. “Be­ing well or­gan­ised is the key… just learn how to do it. Noth­ing is hard if you find how to do it, and the only way to find it, is by try­ing.”

Sim­plic­ity is also im­por­tant when it comes to flavour. It’s prob­a­bly for the best, but Frantz has never been tempted to match the taste to the char­ac­ter or game. “I mainly try to match flavours with colours,” he says. “For ex­am­ple, when I need a brown or black fon­dant, I make a cho­co­late fon­dant recipe, that way I avoid us­ing too much ar­ti­fi­cial black colourant. I think peo­ple pre­fer it when colour and flavour matches and it’s not weird.”

Look­ing to the fu­ture, he has plenty of tasty ideas. “I would love to bake a gi­ant colossi cake for Shadow Of The Colos­sus,” Frantz en­thuses. “I love that game so much. I of­ten lis­ten to the sound­track when mak­ing cakes.” And what, in his opin­ion, is the ul­ti­mate gamer bake? “That’s a hard one, I think it’s very per­sonal. I think it’s some­thing that brings you all the great mem­o­ries when you eat it which makes you want to play that game again.”

Even with­out see­ing the work­ing eyes in ac­tion, this cho­co­late cake ver­sion of Freddy Fazbear is pretty creepy. We’d still have a slice, mind. A nice set of cho­co­late flavoured Nin­tendo ’taches. Thank­fully, the Wario one doesn’t taste of farts.

As an early gam­ing cake at­tempt, Frantz could do a lot worse than this im­pres­sive Green Hill Zone in­spired Sonic The Hedge­hog bake. As its cre­ator and harsh­est critic, he thinks it’s flawed, but it’s still his favourite.

Drake’s for­tune might not look ed­i­ble, but that pi­rate sigil is hid­ing a crumbly cho­co­late cookie in­te­rior.

Just in case you didn’t be­lieve the eyes could move, here’s a work-in-progress shot of the Freddy cake.

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