It’s been a bumper year for geobaking – our highest ever number of entries! Thank you and a huge round of applause to everyone who took part.
Fittingly, this year also features biggest ever prize haul – no less than 4 awards are on offer, in our brand new potentially far too complicated Tour de Bakeoff format….
Up for grabs are the green apron for acquiring the most points, the polka dot apron for the best geological bake (aka King/Queen of the mountains…), the yellow apron for the best overall bake, and the white apron for the best young baker. (With regret, we have to quash any rumours that we are hand sewing you actual aprons. It’s more of a conceptual thing.)
So there’s a lot to get through! Thankfully, this year’s judging was in the capable hands of Emily Garland, aka Maid of Gingerbread, who declares that this year’s entries demonstrate ‘proper baking wizardry.’ But of course they do.
As well as lending her expertise to the judging, Emily has kindly baked special prizes for our winners! She’s also picked out her favourites in each category, just to add to the accolades on offer.
So, here’s how you got on!
10 points: Marble Cake
The traditional starter for 10 set the tone for the rest of the competition – a bumper crop of entries! They included marbled icing, marbled sponge, and even a golden wedding anniversary cake.
Emily’s top marble cake comes from Alex Booer. ‘The addition of blue really adds to the overall effect and fits well with this year’s water theme’ says Emily, despite Alex’s somewhat humbly phrased entry…
— Alexandra Booer (@alexbooer) March 23, 2016
20 points: Ripple Marks
Much like last year’s infamous hidden fossil cake, this one proved to be a bit more challenging than we’d anticipated. Nevertheless, it produced some amazing results, including Rebecca Williams’ striking red ripples (‘love the colour!’ – E), and some excellently chocolately creations.
Emily’s favourite in this category is Liz Laycock’s ingenious biscuity ripple cake!
‘So awesome. It’s difficult to get that effect using a biscuit crumb base, and the finished result is really stunning, and perfect for this year’s water theme.’
30 points: Lagoonal cupcakes
You had a lot of fun with this one – we loved the results!
So many standouts in this category – including Penny Jenkinson’s for the @envireauwater bakeoff (‘At first glance a fairly simple approach, but is actually hiding a lagoon in the centre – love it!’ – E)
— Envireau Water (@envireauwater) May 8, 2016
We also had our first serious contender for the polka dot apron – Izzy Carter’s evaporite lagoon cupcakes, based on Lake Natron, Tanzania. ‘The only entry that attempted a pattern formed by evaporation – nice work’ says Emily.
The cupcake entries in full:
Emily’s lagoonal cupcakes of choice are by Rehemat Bhatia – a fabulous array of lakes and lochs!
‘Amazing level of detail on these. Plus ingenious use of party ring biscuits. Fab work.’
40 points: Millook Haven
We loved this cross section sponge from Izzy Carter:
— Izzy Carter (@very_sad_rock) April 28, 2016
And Emily’s pick comes from Liz Laycock – ‘fantastic technique and a beautiful result!’
50 points: The Martian
Emily’s winner in this category is by Roisin Kyne, Alex Russell and Koen Torremans of the iCRAG Centre, who hosted their own geobakeoff to all round glorious results.
‘Really amazing level of detail’ she says of their Mars offering, ‘fantastic result.’
The Mars challenge also saw our only savoury bake – Izzy Carter’s ingenious cheese Mars – Alex Booer’s excellent recreation of a scene from the movie (‘Made me smile, and such cute moon cupcakes!’ – E), and liz Laycock’s joyously bonkers Mars with accompanying Moon satellite.
— Alexandra Booer (@alexbooer) May 2, 2016
Bravo to everyone who took on the Martian challenge. They’re bonkers, and we love them.
60 points: Philae (with or without associated comet)
‘Kudos for using what is, in my (totally unbiased) opinion, the best edible building material! A tricky design to pull off and brilliant iced details – great work.’
We also loved Rehemat’s interpretation (‘so much going on in this one – love it. Great use of edible metallics & I’m always a fan of strawberry laces’ – E), and basically everyone who managed to bake a representation of an inanimate object that currently resides around 6.4 billion kilometres away.
The Philaes in full:
70 points: Fingal’s Cave
Things got fiendishly tricky here, but many of you rose to the challenge, in perhaps the best chance of winning the polka dot apron.
Emily’s category winner comes from Liz Laycock: ‘This is just fantastic. She’s really thought through her materials and each component works well. It looks both realistic and delicious! And excellent use of gingerbread hexagons.’
(Gingerbread hexagons, for those with long geobakeoff memories, are becoming something of a theme…)
The full, glorious range of Fingal’s Cave entries:
80 points: Iron Islands
Possibly the first fantasy geobakeoff challenge, the iron islands produced some spectacular, not to mention ridiculously large, results. We are in awe of everyone who gave it a go.
Our winner in this category is Hannah Moss-Davies, who produced an incredibly detailed representation using buttercream, fondant, food colouring and artistic wizardry.
— Hannah Moss-Davies (@HannahMD24) April 3, 2016
‘Wow!’ Emily says, ‘phenomenal technique, especially on the rocks leading up to the towers. Stunning result.’
We also loved White Apron contender Missy Poff’s offering, which featured some impressive construction skills. ‘I particularly love the attention to detail in the brickwork of the towers and the different textures’ says Emily. ‘So much work has gone into this, and it’s paid off.’
The Iron Island bakes in full:
90 points: Petrified Kit Harrington, aka the freestyle Pompeii round
A volcano cake is always popular, and you took this one on in incredible numbers!
Particular mention here goes to the amazing geobakers of Carr Hill School, who feature in several of our other rounds, but really came into their own with volcano cakes of all shapes and sizes.
We were also delighted by those of you who included Kit and Emily in your creations, particularly Liz Laycock’s dramatic recreation of that crucial scene:
— Liz Laycock (@longrat) April 17, 2016
Emily’s pick for this round came from Izzy Carter, who created an ‘amazing scene, brilliantly executed’, using honeycomb pyroclastics, biscuit people and candles. She even remembered the horse.
— Izzy Carter (@very_sad_rock) May 9, 2016
The Pompeii montage:
100 points: The Jurassic World Mosasaur
From White Apron contenders such as Carr Hill School’s Zuzanna (right), to Izzy Carter’s ingenious fossilised mosasaur, to Deirdre Walsh’s incredible sea monster (left), there are too many to choose from.
But a choice had to be made, and Emily’s favourite in the mosasaur category was Alex, Karen & Debbie’s fabulous recreation of the scene from Jurassic World. ‘A brilliant bake’ says Emily, ‘perfectly capturing that iconic scene! Great idea to use tic tacs as the crowd, and I love all the details – very effective.’
Here they are – the mosasaurs in full, in what is definitely the trickiest geobakeoff montage we have ever produced:
And so, at last, we come to the winners of our prestigious (conceptual) aprons. As well as the usual bundle of goodies, they each win a personalised, edible medal courtesy of Emily, and our enduring respect and admiration.
‘I just love this bake’ says Emily. ‘It captures the drama of an erupting volcano perfectly. Brilliant icing work from such a young baker – very well done!’
Our second White Apron winner is 17 year old Missy Poff, for her incredible Iron Islands.
‘Wow, what an incredible construction! I particularly love the
attention to detail in the brickwork of the towers and the different textures. So
much work has gone into this and it’s paid off: A well deserved victory.’ -E
There were many contenders for the points award – particular mention goes to Alex Booer on an impressive 290, Leanne Roden on 260, Anna Martinez on 210, and Hannah Moss Davies on 180. But in the end, it took baking all 10 challenges – plus the crucial 10 point USB stick – to win!
Two bakers managed the impressive feat of baking their way through the whole list – Liz Laycock, who wins the points challenge for an incredible third year, and Izzy Carter, both on an amazing 560 points!
Another new category, and we had some fabulous contenders for this award. The winner, with a beautiful Fingal’s Cave, was Liz Laycock!
‘Really brilliant’ says Emily. All the different textures and features work so well together to give an accurate depiction. Fantastic work.’
We’d also like to take this opportunity to compliment Liz on her excellent personalised #geobakeoff biscuits which accompanied each entry-great stuff.
And so – exhausted and fully saturated with cake, we come to the final award, the best overall bake.
There were so many contenders for this one, but Emily had a clear favourite – Natasha Stephen’s combo cake, produced for the University of Plymouth geobakeoff. This one had everything.
‘The amount of effort and skill that has gone into this is just amazing, incorporating so many of this year’s categories into one bake’ says our judge.
— Natasha Stephen (@NatStephen) April 29, 2016
Yes, just one cake includes the Mosasaur, Philae, The Martian – there’s even some marbling going on in there. As Emily says ‘it’s absolutely bonkers, and I love it! A clear winner.’
And there – at last! – you have it. It’s been an absolutely bumper geobakeoff year with an incredible amount of entries, and we’re hugely thankful to everyone who took on the challenge. (As ever, if we unintentionally managed to leave your cake out, we’re very sorry!)
Huge thanks also to our magnificent judge, Emily Garland aka Maid of Gingerbread, who took on the geobakeoff challenge with an enthusiasm to match our own.
Well done geobakers – see you next time!