A CAKE maker is enjoying the sweet taste of success after towering over the opposition.
Crafty confectioner Helen Reed, from Sunderland, whipped up a prize-winning piece of baking to clinch top place at a celebration of all things cake.
The 28-year-old spent five days over a hot stove at her home in Grangetown to create a scale model of Newcastle’s famous Grey’s Monument.
Her entry to the Toon’s Tea and Cake Planet Festival, which took place over the weekend, made a perilous car journey to the festival in the Stephenson Boiler Shop building, where it was painstakingly put together.
The one-metre combination of sponge and sugar was a hit with judge Stephen Hodder, president of the Royal Institute of British Architects, who handed Helen an edible gold medal for architectural authenticity and creativity.
Helen’s tasty tourist attraction was part of a project to build an edible map of the Earth, to create a visual and gastronomic feast – including the Taj Mahal, Easter Island, complete with statues, and the imposing features of Mount Rushmore.
She said: “Because it was in Newcastle, I had the idea of doing Grey’s Monument.
“There were more than 30 entries and some of them had big teams.
“I’ve done a few unusual cakes before, so I thought I’d have a go.”
Helen baked the cake in pieces, which had to be carefully packed and transported to the Grade II-listed building, with help from boyfriend Brendan Harford, a 28-year-old surveyor with Sunderland City Council.
“He helps test my cakes and he goes through periods of getting sick of baking,” said Helen, who runs her business, Baked Cupcakery, from home after quitting her job as a graphic designer.
She added: “I got sick of staring at a computer all day and always liked cooking and people seemed to like my cakes, so it took off from there.
“People really like the cupcakes. People thought it was a bit of a fad, but it seems to be here to stay.”
Once the prizes had been handed out, the knives came out and so did the napkins, as the entries were sliced up and devoured by waiting visitors.
Helen said: “It was very stressful and it was really nice once it was all up. I was having visions of it collapsing.
“It was the tallest one there. I am always up for a challenge and people seem to be getting more and more adventurous.”
The event weekend of brewing and baking commemorated the 250th anniversary of the birth of the man behind the monument, Earl Charles Grey, and was inspired by the second Earl Grey’s namesake tea.