Gi­gan­tic ele­phant cake wins SA baker the ‘Os­car’

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - EAT, DRINK & BE MERRY - Louzel Lom­bard

SOUTH African mas­ter baker Dot Klerck is fly­ing the flag high for South African wildlife con­ser­va­tion af­ter win­ning the Best Show­piece award at this year’s in­ter­na­tional Cake Mas­ter Awards for her life­size ele­phant and calf cake.

The awards, also known as the ‘Cake Os­cars’, took place in Birm­ing­ham in the UK last Satur­day, where Klerck’s ul­tra-re­al­is­tic ele­phant mother and calf, com­plete with tusks, out­shone the likes of Alice in Won­der­land, a 3m high Statue of Lib­erty cake, as well as a replica of a real-life wed­ding gown.

Ac­cord­ing to Klerck, the aim of her Ele­phant and Calf project was to raise aware­ness of the on­go­ing bru­tal killing of ele­phants, and to give peo­ple the op­por­tu­nity to get a feel­ing of how ma­jes­tic the an­i­mals are.

“Not too many peo­ple can gaze on an ele­phant in their lives,” she said. “The life-size sculp­ture was an op­por­tu­nity for them to see their beauty up close,” she said.

Klerck col­lab­o­rated with the In­ter­na­tional Fund for An­i­mal Wel­fare (Ifaw) and The Ele­phant Project South Africa in con­struct­ing her mas­ter­piece.

Ac­cord­ing to Elda Thomas, founder of The Ele­phant Project SA, Klerck’s achieve­ment is cre­at­ing global hype for con­ser­va­tion.

For the life-size ele­phant cake, Klerck used 1 200 eggs, 120kg of choco­late, and 160kg of ed­i­ble fon­dant. It took 14 days to con­struct and weighed a whop­ping 1.2 tonnes when it was un­veiled for the first time at the Good Food & Wine Show in Cape Town in June.

Build­ing an ele­phant was sim­i­lar to run­ning an ul­tra­ma­rathon, Klerck said. It took a lot of stamina and, as all mam­moth tasks go, “you have to take it one bite at a time”.

The award was mo­ti­va­tion to con­tinue us­ing her craft to raise aware­ness, she said.

Klerck has al­ready teamed up with con­ser­va­tion ac­tivist group Blood­Lions in a project that will help to shed light on the canned lion hunt­ing in­dus­try.

Her project for next year will in­clude a life-size cake de­pict­ing a pride of lions, in­clud­ing a lioness, lion and cubs.

South Africans were of­ten “blind to what’s hap­pen­ing in our own coun­try”, Klerck said.

“Many in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors are also ig­no­rant about the im­pact of canned lion hunt­ing on the con­ser­va­tion of lions and the en­vi­ron­ment.

“Un­til we make the world aware it will go on. In the end it [canned hunt­ing] just tar­nishes South Africa’s im­age,” she said.

Ian Mich­ler, of Blood­lions, de­scribed Klerck’s next ini­tia­tive as “a unique way to spread aware­ness about lions as well as the bru­tal­ity they are sub­jected to through South Africa’s preda­tor breed­ing and canned hunt­ing in­dus­tries”.

Last year, Klerck was also nom­i­nated in the Cake Mas­ter Awards’ Best Show­piece cat­e­gory for her life-size rhino cake.

ý For more con­ser­va­tion­re­lated projects visit http://con­ser­va­tion­ac­tion.co.za

LIFE-SIZE: Dot Klerck’s award-win­ning cake sculp­ture

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