Look away, Mary Berry: I learned the art of erotic cake decorating
Learning curves: Gareth May and friend at the erotic cake class in London
16 FEBRUARY 2016 • 12:29PM
Oh Cupid – when will you learn? I’m simply not interested in your amorous arrows and rose-red cheeks, spreading love around like some kind of winged hippy. It’s tiresome. It’s tedious. Get a new hobby.
Of course, I’m going to say that because I'm single and my idea of a good Valentine’s Day is a bottle of rum and an episode of Midsomer Murders on ITV4 (that’s right, the ones with John Nettles; they’re much better).
This year, though, I bucked the trend. Rather than solitude and blunt force trauma for company, I headed to a baking class with a twist: Erotic Cake Decorating. Mary Berry– look away now.
The place hosting this rather curious event was The Book Club bar in Shoreditch (yes - of course it was in East London.). The image they used to promote the event was a shirtless Magnum, P.I complete with frosted ‘tache. Not too outraegeous, thought I. But then I walk in to take my seat and see the words ‘vagina cupcake’ writ large upon a screen at the back.
Soon enough, the event hosts are on the microphone telling us that in the next hour we're going to learn how to ‘frost and finish’ a lady garden cupcake before turning our attention to a Bake Off-style ‘showstopper’ in the form of, well, something suitably fruity.
The main man on the mic and parent to this naughty little brainchild is John Burtt, aka John Vagabond, an events organiser who’s worked with the likes of Heston Blumenthal and Ben and Jerry's. This is the guy that helped Bompas & Parr flood Great Portland Street with galleons of punch in December 2009, so he’s got quite the CV. He also hires out an old milk float and, funnily enough, monopolises the market. But that’s another story.
Bakers await initiation into the art of erotic decoration
“There’s two things that people like,” he says, surrounded by phallic-shaped sponges. “They like fun and they food – so how do you marry the two?”
By making surprisingly anatomically accurate cupcakes, I wager.
Despite my scepticism, Burt tell me there’s a real appetite for this kind of event.
“This is just a little break from the norm,” Burtt says. “It’s really good for a date because it says ‘you’re fun, you’re creative’ and it’s quite a big statement about you. It’s a statement date.”
'We pool our experience and sex education knowledge'
It certainly is. Fifteen minutes in and my statement is: I don’t understand female anatomy. Luckily, my ‘mate date’ for the day is a whizz in the kitchen – and a woman – so pooling our experience and sex education knowledge we make light work of step one: combining the butter and sugar provided to knock up a butter frosting to coat our cupcake.
Once our ‘creamy gooey paste’ is made we add a splash of food colouring and spread it on to our cupcake. Next up, it’s royal frosting, which we knead until we get the consistency of Playdoh and then roll out.
Now, don’t get me wrong, my Nan and Gran were expert bakers and I have no doubt that the two of them would be pleased at my taking up the mantle. But I’m pretty sure they would be more proud of my ability to make a good slice of millionaire’s shortbread than moulding a strip of royal frosting into, well, what can only be described as the inner and intricate workings of a woman’s lady parts. A generous sprinkle of hundred and thousands for hair and I’m nearly done. I pop a Tic-tac in place (use your imagination because I’m not writing it) and hey presto: I've done it.
'There’s a slight moment of horror when I realise that one of the boobs is bigger than the other before my mate date nonchalantly says: 'That’s life, Gareth'.....'
Afterwards there’s just time for a deep breath before it’s on to the showstopper – and cue the flooding of Instagram with various pictures that are clearly going to be removed straight away by administrators.
Branching out on our own, my friend and I opt for a boob cake , pushing together eight cupcakes and frosting them to high heaven. There’s a slight moment of horror when I realise that one of the boobs is bigger than the other before my fears are quelled by my mate date nonchalantly saying, “That’s life, Gareth”. I wouldn’t know.
The finished masterpiece
The countdown starts. I decide it’s missing something and cut out a cleavage but I take too much sponge and we have to fashion a bikini to cover up the infraction. We’re going for the Babs from Carry On Camping look but it’s not really working.
The buzzer sounds and our erotic baking boobs are almost as deflated as we are. There is a small moment of shared victory however, as the other couple on our table take the trophy, winning wide acclaim for their larger-than-life penis and ‘chocolaty balls’ cake.
Defeated yet joyous, we head for the bar.
“Have they ever done a baking-based death on Midsomer Murders?” my mate asks.
“I don’t think so – certainly not a boob-shaped one,” I offer. “Nettles wouldn’t stand for that.”
Erotic Cake Decorating is one of a series of classes at The Book Club in London. Visit the website for a full schedule.