Birthday surprise is a piece of cake!

Anna Willilams of Hunkydory with yacht cake
Anna Willilams of Hunkydory with yacht cake

The challenge of creating a replica yacht proved plain sailing for Anna Shirley, who crafted this perfect scale model, complete in every detail – out of cake!

Anna, who runs Hunkydory Cakes from the kitchen of her home in Greystones, was commissioned to produce the model for a 60th birthday.

She embarked on the project after three meetings with the customer, working from the yacht’s blueprints and detailed photos of its design.

The first job was to bake a 1.5m fruit cake with ingredients including 48 eggs and three bottles of brandy. Then she had to translate the scale, drawing the shape on a wooden board and allowing for the depth of marzipan and icing.

And finally she painstakingly reconstructed every tiny detail – from the plug sockets, cleats, ropes and controls to the pattern of the decking and the name, printed on to edible icing.

Husband Kevin was roped in to make the railings, step ladder and steering wheel, while the sails were hand stitched, complete with blue numbers.

It took around 60 hours to complete the job, finishing it off with waves of layered blue and green fondant.

And even then the challenge was not complete: “We were working out our route to the party at Firth Hall, then suddenly realised there may be a problem getting the cake through the door!”

They made it with 1cm to spare, but it took five people to lift the cake in and out of a borrowed 4x4 – with a strengthened board to hold the weight.

“I absolutely love my job and I get a huge sense of satisfaction in creating incredible cakes. But I was glad I wasn’t present to watch them cut into this one!” admitted Anna.