The 2018 Great Geobakeoff

The Great Geobakeoff is back!

Last year, you wowed us with Petra, fake fossils, geodes and the Door to Hell. It would seem there is no challenge too great for the geobaking community, so once again we’ve selected ten tasks to test the most creative of geobaking brains – we can’t wait to see how you tackle them.

The theme

2018 is our Year of Resources – and what better resource is there than cake?

This year also features our Plate Tectonic Stories competition – following the success of our Plate Tectonics at 50 celebrations, we’re asking you to tell us your own plate tectonic stories, through whatever medium you choose. We have a feeling readers of this blog post might have a predilection towards cake based story telling, so if none of the below challenges take your fancy (or if you feel 10 isn’t enough of a challenge and want to take another one on…) feel free to create a plate tectonics themed geobake of your choice!

All geobakeoff entries on a plate tectonics theme will automatically be entered into the Plate Tectonic Stories competition – although bear in mind that the deadline for that competition is slightly earlier, 30 April, so you need to get your baking skates on.

So, with all that in mind, we present to you…The Great Geobakeoff 2018 – Geology & Resources in film, TV, literature, twitter and just about everywhere else!

The rules

As ever, the rules are simple – complete any or all of our geobaking challenges, each of which has an assigned number of points. There are prizes for gathering the most points, for the best geological representation and for the overall best bake – so you can focus your efforts on one masterpiece, or try to complete as many challenges as possible – or both, if you’re feeling ambitious.

Send photographic evidence of your creations to us via twitter @geolsoc using the hashtag #geobakeoff, or email them to – if you can do both, providing a high res image via email, so much the better. Please provide your name, if it’s not obvious from the tweet, and age if you’re a white apron contender.

Send in your entries by midnight on Sunday 13th May to be in with a chance of winning our traditionally as yet unspecified goodie bag of prizes! Previous prizes have included personalised wooden spoons, personalised wooden dinosaurs, and a plethora of other exciting trophies you just won’t find anywhere else.

The awards:

Once again, prizes will be awarded in our new fully patented Tour-de-Bakeoff format*.

  • NB: Aprons are for illustrative purposes only. We cannot guarantee winners will receive actual aprons.



White apronyoung bakerThe White Apron – awarded to the best young baker. (Up to 18 years old – there is no minimum.)







The Green Apron – awarded to the accumulator of the most points! Each of the challenges have an escalating number of points attached to them. Go for the big numbers, or accumulate challenges – the choice is yours!


spotty apron



King/Queen of the Mountains – awarded to the most accurate representation of geological features. Can be won by completing any of the challenges – though some may offer more opportunities for demonstrating your geological construction skills than others….



Yellow apronThe Yellow Apron – awarded to the best bake! Can be won for any of the ten challenges (though, let’s face it, it’s unlikely to be won by a 10 pointer…)







The challenges

As always, because it makes us smile, 10 bonus points will be awarded for inclusion of the GSL rock hammer USB stick.





10 points: Bolivian Salt Flats 

Despite their exotic geological credentials, these are hopefully a fairly straightforward entry level geobaking challenge. That is, of course, unless you choose to add the related Star Wars CGI paraphernalia to the mix, at which point you will instantly earn  extra points and stand a far greater chance of capturing that elusive yellow apron prize.

20 points: Pahoehoe

The internet is awash with numerous, oddly satisfying pictures of this fun-to-say ropey lava, and we wish to supplement them with cake based versions. Poured treacle, sculpted sponge or something else entirely – the choice is yours.


30 points: Burgess Shale

We thought we’d better make up for last year’s fictional palaeontological challenge with a genuine one – and they don’t come more iconic than the Burgess Shale. Thanks @AlexBooer for this suggestion! Pick a creature, or create an assemblage…


40 points: Elizabeth Bennett on Stanage Edge/various other geological features


Following extensive research, I can confirm that Elizabeth stands on Stanage Edge in the 2005 film (right), which is obviously a vastly inferior adaptation of the novel. HOWEVER, seeing as Stanage Edge is one of our 100 Great Geosites AND features in our Plate Tectonic Stories list, and does not feature in the 1995 version, I cannot in all good conscience pretend 2005 P&P does not exist, nor can I discourage you from baking it.

Having looked thoroughly into this issue, I can confirm that 1995 Elizabeth Bennett (left) is in fact standing on Ramshaw Rocks, which I’m almost certain is more or less the same, geologically speaking (@ me if you know otherwise.) So I shall leave the choice of the rocks, and indeed the Elizabeth Bennett, up to you. (She does need to feature though, otherwise this is really more of a 30 point challenge.)

50 points: Navajo sandstone/optional palaeo-Navajo

One of our Plate Tectonic Stories ‘twin’ sites, the Navajo sandstone is estimated to cover 400 thousand square kilometres of the Western United States – but we’ll settle for something more cake tin sized. It’s twinned with Alderley Edge in Cheshire, both of which consist of thick layers of highly-angled cross-bedded sandstones. ALSO, parts of the Navajo were once home to a number of dinosaur species, including Ammosaurus, Segisaurus and something called a Seitaad, which clearly needs a better PR team.

You know what to do, geobakers…

60 points: Luke Skywalker Island

Kerry; skellig Michael
Credit: Storytravelers

It turns out Luke Skywalker Island isn’t actually called that. It’s real name is Skellig Michael, and it can be found west of the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry, Ireland.

As well as providing the location for Luke Skywalker’s secluded home in the new Star Wars films, Skellig Michael is home to a colony of protected puffins – it’s thanks to them, and the impossibility of moving them/editing them out, that the Porg was born. So, optional porgs, optional puffins, optional Luke – anything goes!


70 points: Your choice of the #MinCup entries

If you’re not on twitter, or were otherwise somehow unaware of it, you missed out on one of the seminal social media trends of 2017 (excluding our own #geobakeoff, obviously) – the #MinCup. During the month of September, 32 minerals battled it out to become the ultimate champion in a series of knock out rounds decided by public vote. It was very tense. Head over to Eddie Dempsey’s (aka @tectonictweets) website to read more about how it went down.

In the meantime, pick a mineral, any mineral! You can find them by following that link, or searching #MinCup on twitter. And for added inspiration, check out Hazel Gibson’s (aka @iamhazelgibson) fantastic sketches of each mineral – you can even own your own in the official #MinCup charity calendar!


80 points: Geoscientist cover of your choice

Our Fellowship magazine is bidding farewell to its Editor, Ted Nield*, this year – and what better send off could there be than a plethora of cakes in honour of Geoscientist magazine? Pick a cover, any cover/s, and interpret however you wish! There’s quite a few to choose from – visit our website for the full back catalogue…



*Inclusion of said departing Editor in your baking efforts is optional, but will be favourably looked upon.

Ted Nield, with crocheted Ted Nield.


90 points: Nodding Donkey (or oil rig of your choice)

Our ‘nod’ (HA) to the Year of Resources – pick a classic Nodding Donkey, or if you prefer, something on a larger scale from the North Sea or further afield! This one has fiendish biscuit construction project written all over it…


100 points: Stranger Things tunnels with at least one compulsory demogorgon

As we learned in last year’s advent calendar series, Stranger Things has joined the noble literary tradition of subterranean settings.

Our heroes spend a lot of time intrepidly exploring a tunnel system below the town of Hawkins, and it’s time to geobake that.

We’re leaving this one fairly open ended – include the kids, a scene of your choice/imaginings/Winona Ryder and an alphabetical light installation – but we do insist on the presence of at least one demogorgon, for accuracy’s sake.


And there you have it! Don’t forget, all entries on a plate tectonics theme, whether part of the above challenges or from your own mind palaces, will also be entered into our plate tectonic stories competition – which of course is open to non cake based entries as well.

Geobakeoff deadline: Sunday 13th May

Plate tectonic stories deadline: Monday 30th April

Good luck, geobakers!

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