Playboy of the Western World

One Friday evening in November the phone rings.  Could I make a cake for the cast of “The Playboy of the Western World”. Sure I say – no problem at all. “What did you have in mind?”. “Well, I’d quite like it to be a model of the set”. Cue long pause and sharp intake of breath. “Ahh. OK then. Can you send me some photos?”. “Of course”, says Niamh Cusack, the star of the show. And so begins the challenge to make a scale model, in cake, of an Irish shebeen, in under a week for the opening night at the Old Vic.

The photos arrive a day later – photos of a ‘model box’ of the set which the cast have been shown during rehearsals. Clearly the cake needs to faithfully reproduce the weathered look and the detail of the shebeen. And it’ll need to have a roof!

I started by taking some basic dimensions from the photos and making  a paper model to check I’d got the proportions correct. Then it was a case of baking and carving two cakes – one for the main building, the other for the out-house. Once these have been covered in fondant the fun began- adding the stonework, the windows & doors, the thatched roof, making some benches, and even a little sign for above the door. The stone was dusted with blacks, browns & greens to give it that weathered look.

I was really pleased with the way the cake turned out, especially given the quick turnaround.

Praise indeed from Niamh Cusack, who said, “The cake took our breath away with it’s detail and beauty. We’d sent photos of an Irish cottage and you meticulously created a work of art. And it tasted amazing. You went out of your way to deliver it to the stage door. We were delighted with it.”

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