The 2020 Great Geobakeoff

It’s back, it’s bigger, it’s weirder than ever…and quite frankly, it’s arrived at the perfect time. What better challenge to occupy a nation in lockdown than The Great Geobakeoff 2020?

For anyone who can’t remember the last time they found flour or eggs in the supermarket, fear not: we’ve made an important change this year. With supplies running low, and lots of us unable to leave our homes, this year’s Bake Off is also a Make Off! So if you can’t bake it, then make it instead – we want to see as many of you as possible getting crafty with whatever you find around the house. This year’s entries don’t have to be edible (this includes entries made of actual food – breathe a sigh of relief if you are terrible at baking).

The Rules

If you’re new to this – welcome! If you’re a returner, you know the drill:

  • Bake, or Make, a creation themed to our categories below.
  • You can Bake or Make as many categories as you like.
  • Share your creations on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. Use the hashtag #geobakeoff and tag us @geolsoc to make sure we see them!
  • If you’re not on social media, email your entries to – please let us know if you’re happy for us to share online!
  • You’ve got until June 15th to send your pics to us.

The prizes

As with previous years, we award prizes in the form of a feeling of superiority and some to-be-decided GSL goodies. The prize winning categories are:

  • Most points.
    What it says on the tin. This is about quantity, not quality – this prize is awarded to the person who accrues the most points by making or baking the most challenges.
  • King or Queen of the Mountains
    Perfectionists, this is your time to shine. This prize is awarded to the most geologically accurate bake.
  • Junior Baker
    Awarded to the best young baker. Max 18 years, no minimum age.
  • Master Baker
    Essentially the “Showstopper” prize, this is awarded to the most impressive, inventive and exciting Bake or Make
  • New for 2020 – Thrifty Shopper
    This category is to celebrate the Makers – bonus points for inventive use of household and recycled items, or exceptional creativity in your entries!

So, without further ado, here are the categories for 2020!


1. Rock Pets – 10 points

Our Rock Pets took the geology-verse by storm in October. Make or Bake your own for 10 points – 5 point bonus if you tag your photo with #GSLrockpets as well as #geobakeoff! You can also sneak one into any of your other Makes or Bakes for an extra 10 points.

2. Fossil Trackways – 20 points

In December we published this paper, which identified some of the oldest fossilised amphibian footprints in the UK. Inspired by this, our second category is Fossil Trackways, and we want to see a variety of fossil footprints rendered in cake form. You might want to (virtually) explore Bendrick Rocks in The Vale of Glamorgan – one of our 100 Great Geosites – for some inspiration!

3. Year of Life – 30 points

To mark our Year of Life, we want to see your favourite extinct flora or fauna. Loads to choose from here, so you can get extra creative! 

4. Aladdin Cave of Wonders – 40 points 

Although exploration geologists have spent considerable time mapping the area around Agrabah, no evidence for the Cave of Wonders has ever been found. We’ll just have to make do with Disney’s live-action Aladdin, and cake versions of the Cave instead.

For 40 points, we’d like to see you recreate the Cave’s entrance, lion head and all. You can earn an extra 10 points if the eyes and mouth glow! Take a look here for the movie clip

5. Microfossils, sponsored by The Micropaleontological Society – 50 points

This year, Challenge 5 is in collaboration with The Micropalaeontological Society (TMSoc). Microfossils are tiny fossils found in sediments (on land and in the ocean) which can tell us all sorts of stories about the natural world, from past climate change to ocean circulation to evolution. Some species can tell us how old a rock is, and they are even used in forensic investigations to figure out when someone has died.

Some groups of microfossils, to give you inspiration for your bake, are:

  • Calcareous microfossils (e.g. foraminifera, nannoplankton, ostracods)
  • Siliceous microfossils (e.g. diatoms, radiolaria)
  • Palynomorphs (e.g. pollen, spores, dinoflagellate)

You can click on the pics below to get a better view, and you can find even more microfossils to Make or Bake here.

6. Greenough Map – 60 points

2020 marks 200 years since George Bellas Greenough published ‘A Geological Map of England and Wales’. Although Greenough’s map wasn’t the first geological map of England and Wales (we all know William Smith got there first), it was the first official version, endorsed by the Society. Two centuries on, we’d like to see it rendered in cake form, or whatever takes your fancy! You could take inspiration from BGS’s colour-in geology maps, and you can read more about Greenough’s map here

7. Dinosaur Brains – 70 points

Yes, really. In February we welcomed Dr Stephan Lautenshlager to the Society, as a speaker in our public lecture series. His work recreates the brain morphology (shape) of long-extinct animals using CT scanning technology. This makes a virtual picture, or endocast, of the animal’s brain; these endocasts can give researchers incredible insight into the adaptations these animals had to survive. You can watch the full lecture here, but in the meantime here are some dino brain endocasts to get you inspired… 

8. Infinity Gauntlet – 80 points

Sorry to bring it up again, if you’re not over Avengers: Endgame. But how can we ignore a movie where stones are literally the most important / deadly / sought-after thing in the entire universe? So, for 80 points, we want to see your Infinity Gauntlets, complete with Infinity Stones. We can see some excellent “make” opportunities here… 

If you’ve no idea what we’re talking about, you can read about the Infinity Stones here.

9. Geoscience for the Future – 90 points

Have you checked out our Geoscience for the Future poster? It’s the Education Dept’s most requested poster to date, and is now inspiring students in classrooms across the world. For 90 points, we want to see your recreations of it; you can choose a few careers depicted on the poster and highlight those, or go whole hog and do the lot! 

10. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson – 100 points

Inspired by this incredible Twitter thread, for our 100-pointer challenge this year we’d like to see you recreate The Rock himself, in cake form or whatever you have available! You can go for geological accuracy and render him as his true metamorphic self (you need to read the thread for that to make sense), or take inspiration from his varied career beyond his geological origins.  

10 bonus points if you can get “Can you smell what The Rock is cookin?!” in your Bake/Make. 

There you have it! Get making and baking, and remember to show us your finished products using #geobakeoff! You’ve got until June 15th, and we’ll announce the winners shortly after…we can’t wait to see what you come up with!

5 thoughts on “The 2020 Great Geobakeoff

  1. Pingback: The Great Geobakeoff 2020 – The Results! | Geological Society of London blog

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