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The Great Geobakeoff 2019 – the results!

It’s finally here! The results of the Greatest Great Geobakeoff we have possibly ever had.

We say it every year, but this year you really did out do yourselves. Brace yourselves for more cake than has even been beheld via one URL ever before.

The inevitable disclaimer: We start by saying with absolute and complete certainty – we will definitely have missed some of your cakes. There was a LOT of cake this year. In advance – apologies. Feel free to @ us, email us, remind us of your creation and we will share it with the world/add it to this post! (Apologies also if we’ve inadvertently miscategorised your creation – it’s surprising how much a cave of crystals looks like a carbon mineral after staring at cakes for too long.)

The freestylers

Before we begin in earnest, a quick look at the traditional, ‘these didn’t really seem to fall into any particular category but we loved them’ entries – just a few of the many freestyle entries we received!

There’s no ‘official’ prize for this one, but we do want to draw to your attention Liz Laycock’s INCREDIBLE nod to the Year of Carbon – a sedimentary coal section, followed by a staged cavity collapse through the medium of cake. Wonderful stuff.

Applause and virtual high fives to you all.

Alright. With that taken care of, take a deep breath guys. We’re going in.

10 points: Iceberg Alley

The 10 point opener is usually a sedate, warm up kind of affair. Not this year. An early stunner from Alex Booer, whose ingenious use of the cake stand here is to be applauded:

The little fish!

Another strong entry from Hannah Moss Davies (2017’s Yellow Apron winner, for those keeping an eye on the scores):

Here they all are – the surprisingly populous Iceberg Alleys in full:

20 points: Curling stones

Inspired by the Winter Olympics, we challenged you to make some round shiny stones with handles on the top, and the results were surprisingly attractive. (I’m excluding my own effort for the Geological Society’s staff bakeoff here, about which the less said the better.)

We also applaud those of you who took the challenge literally and grabbed a brush:

Here’s the full crop of curling stones!

30 points: 100 years of female Fellows

We’re marking the centenary of women being admitted as Fellows of the Society this year with a range of activities – but we couldn’t leave the anniversary unmarked by the geobakeoff!

The ever brilliant Envireau Water team (bakers include Deborah Thomas (Senior Hydrogeologist), Rebecca Haw (Hydrologist), Lauren Moore (Technical Administrator) and Leanne Thomas (Marketing Co-ordinator)) came up with this excellently designed creation:

Whilst others demonstrated in wonderful style the fact that the geobakeoff is about learning and discovery, not just ridiculous cakes (also, is it just us, or is this one a subtle nod to a certain tablecloth…?)

Well done to all the female Fellows bakers!

40 points: The Quingjiang biota

We love a paleontological challenge at geobakeoff HQ, and the discovery of a whole treasure trove of Cambrian fossils earlier this year was an opportunity too good to miss.

This one seemed to bring out the biscuits, with a few exceptions, including this stunning offering from Geoveta (who a quick google informs us are a Swedish geotechnical firm – the global reach of the geobakeoff continues to bring us joy.)

The lagerstatte in full:


50 points: El Capitan (with apologies to Alex Honnold)

Look. The man’s clearly a hero (albeit with a shocking lack of concern for personal safety), so I think he ought to be able to take being rendered in marzipan. That being said, I’m not sure he’d be thrilled by the comparison with Groundskeeper Willie in this one (more excellent stuff from Katharina Halbmayer!)

I don’t know, maybe there was no other lego available at the time.

Meanwhile, more excellent Honnolds/El Capitans  – particular high five to this from Stacy Phillips and Team 209, complete with full Free Solo film crew plus a fab informative thread about how geologists have worked with climbers to study the geology of the sheer rock face. (wipes tear. Guys, this is why we love the geobakeoff.)

And here they are in full:

60 points: Moon landing

There’s always one. It’s usually in some way globe based, so I guess we should have seen this coming. Not since 2017’s infamous geode round have we grappled with quite so many entries for one challenge.

As one particularly astute tweeter pointed out:

There were so many to love here. Well done to Alex, Debbie and Karen who gave us a cross section of the moon plus ambient lighting:

And to Izzy and Cate for this glorious moon rock complete with two geologists chilling with their coffee (as you do):


And a long overdue shoutout here to the geology students at William Howard School, who between them baked every challenge, but came out in force for this one. All great – we especially liked this from Thea:

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, I bring you…The Great Globe-off 2019!

70 points: Carbon mineral of your choice

Yes, to celebrate our Year of Carbon, the traditional free style round (seems to have worked better than 2015’s Year of Mud equivalent, ‘the freestyle showbiz mud round’ which I think more than anything else caused confusion and some degree of panic. We were still feeling our way….)

A world of beautiful minerals to choose from here – among our favourites was this fabulous effort from Katharina Halbmayer:

Here are all the sparkly spangly carbon minerals:

80 points: Mary Anning

Took us by surprise a bit, this one. I mean, we’re huge fans of the person based challenge, but after the slight failure of last year’s ‘Elizabeth Bennet on Stanage Edge’ round (CLICK HERE for possibly my favourite ever bakeoff contender) we were unsure. But in a year that’s seen the making of a Hollywood film, a high profile campaign for a statue of Anning in her home town of Lyme Regis, AND an upcoming Edinburgh Fringe production, we thought we’d go for it – and so did you! Almost as many Annings as moon landings, which is appropriate, because some of you chose to put her on the moon for the traditional geobakeoff hybrid approach, which we’re all in favour of.


Some very high quality crafted Marys in the mix as well – including this by Elspeth Wallace, which one the iCRAG Centre bakeoff!

And…well, some other more creative interpretations. Not enough marshmallows in the geobakeoff, if you ask me. (Another glorious entry from William Howard School, this time by Josh, Andrew and Yvonne.)

The complete line up of Mary Annings! (Annings’s? Anningi? Ann-anyway.)

90 points: Cave of Crystals

This year’s designated ‘fiendish structural challenge’ challenge did not disappoint.

We challenged you to recreate Geological Society Honorary Fellow Iain Stewart’s visit to an amazing cave of crystals in Naica, Mexico:

A particular stand out was Liz Laycock’s INCREDIBLE home grown crystals, complete with back lighting:

There were also many Lego Iains, including this from Emmeline Grey!

And here they all are! (Incidentally, I hope all these montages are demonstrating why the blog round up has been slightly delayed this year. SO. MUCH. GEOCAKE. MUST. LIE. DOWN.)

100 points: The Black Panther Vibranium Mine Battle

Here we are. At last, we have made it to the final challenge. The pinnacle of geo baking glory. The impossible sounding geology/baking/pop culture crossover challenge we strive to come up with each year.

This year, it was an easy choice, thanks to Marvel releasing a block buster, Oscar winning film about mining and mineral resources, just for us. We challenged you to bake the final battle of Black Panther, which takes place within a vibranium mine. Of COURSE it was ridiculous. Of COURSE loads of you did it anyway.

We did encourage you to be creative here, beyond the boundaries of the film itself, so high five to Fiona and Meg who took us at our word and included some dinosaurs. Because everything’s better with dinosaurs.

Applause also for this pun-tastic entry from Alex, and a rare appearance for bread in the geobakeoff.

Well done to every one of you who remained undaunted by our increasingly ridiculous demands, and delivered an edible vibranium mine battle:

The awards

So overwhelmed have we been by your geobaking enthusiasm this year that prizes are being awarded all over the place – it simply didn’t seem fair to limit ourselves to four!

We’ve introduced two new awards this year, starting with…

The team award

A shout out to the many teams who pooled their talents together this year! So much so that you’ve inspired us to inaugurate a new Team Classification prize this year…(Still works within the Tour de Bakeoff theme, for those wondering…)

This year’s inaugural winners are the team from William Howard School, who delighted us with a plethora of geobaking excellence!

The companies award

We love seeing workplaces teaming up to hold their own bakeoffs, so we thought we’d introduce an award just for you! This year, it goes to Swedish geotechnical firm Geoveta, who sent us some fabulous entries via Instagram:

The Green Apron award for most points accumulated

A huge number of entries this year meant that the Green Apron Award was more hotly contested than ever. This year’s joint winners, for baking every challenge on the list, are Alex Booer and Tsvetomila Mateeva – congratulations both!

King/Queen of the Mountains

The polka dot apron award for best geological representation is another tie this year! The first award goes to geobaking stalwart Liz Laycock, for her incredible Cave of Crystals, and to Katharina Halbmayer for her excellent carbon mineral cupcakes.

Congratulations both!



The White Apron Award for Best Young Baker

The white apron award for best young baker was hard fought as ever. This year’s award goes to team House Raptor (Bryony, 15, Ruby, 13 and Tanith, 10) who between them completed all the challenges, including an amazing biscuit vibranium mine! 

The Yellow Apron Award for Overall Winner


This year’s highest honour, the Wollaston Award of the geobakeoff, the coveted yellow apron, goes to range_free over on instagram, who sent us this incredible moon landing recreation, complete with ‘a lava tube & skylight for moon colonization & a South Pole crater – the future location for the first female lunar astronaut to collect water samples’.

Not only that, but it was auctioned for the Columbia Stem Alliance #girlsinstem camp, and featured our #GSLWomen logo – a worthy winner! 

If you’re still with us, you deserve a lot of cake. We always say it, but this year really was a spectacular, bumper edition of the greatest geological baking challenge ever conceived by a press officer and a policy officer having a slow day in the office in 2014. Enormous thanks, as ever, to everyone who takes on the geobakeoff challenge with such ingenuity, humour and enthusiasm – you never fail to brighten our days and our social media channels!

As ever, do continue to post your creations on social media using #geobakeoff – we always love seeing them.

Until next year!

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