We’ve all devoured a slice of Colin the Caterpillar at a birthday, more concerned with chomping on the chocolate cake than admiring the likeness to an actual caterpillar.
But one cake artist will stop you in your tracks from sinking your teeth into her sweet treats, with her remarkable life-like creations that look too good to eat.
Meet Lucienne Harrington, a culinary queen with extraordinary talent.
This master baker designs cakes with incredible attention to detail leading to realistic, art gallery worthy results that will leave you hesitating over that first bite.
With spooky skulls, pixie palaces, tasty tortoises and her awesome apple showstoppers, Lucienne really can deliver a cake for any occasion for the little ones or us big kids too.
We caught up with the Surrey-based pattisier to find out a little more about her sensational talents and her passion for all things cake cuisine.
Lucienne said: “I started baking when I was little, mainly with nannies and it just kind of stuck with me. I’ve tried to get into baking a number of times, but just never did it.
“I was close to applying to pastry school, but again didn’t…
“It was only in September 2020 when I thought, ‘Oh, I seem to keep coming back to this, maybe I should just give it a go.’ I love baking because I love creating things from nothing.”
Quizzed over whether she has always had arty genes or this is something she has had to develop, Lucienne revealed creativity comes naturally to her and she grew up making things.
She said: “As a child, I adored watching Art Attack. I have always studied and enjoyed art at school and did art A-Level. Everything ever since has just been reading and practice.”
Yet despite having a flair for art, surely baking is a separate skillset?
Lucienne says the secret is all in planning. And patience!
She explained: “The process varies. I’m not so interested in the simple cakes; I prefer modelling and painting them.
“An example is the most recent cake I’ve been working on. I’ve been planning it with a client since the beginning of August. So, the prep in my head started then.”
Lucienne continued: “We do sketches, discuss ideas and allergies etc. and then confirm a date. Then I do hours of research, finding safe ingredients and going to the library.
“I started this particular cake structure on a Tuesday, and it will be finished by Sunday.
“People have no idea what goes into making a cake and I get really upset when people try to negotiate price, because it literally takes hours.”
Just one of her apples, from a series of five, took one and a half hours to decorate alone before completing the other four (and not including mixing or baking time).
While Lucienne’s cakes may tempt you to grab the flour and icing sugar from the cupboard, many of us think we’re ‘bad’ at baking so avoid trying in case the end product is not ‘perfect’.
Yet Lucienne – who studied sports therapy and nutrition – is a big believer that we all have an inner artist, it’s just about figuring out ways to connect with it.
She concluded: “Picasso said it best, ‘All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist when one grows up.’ I agree wholeheartedly.
“We can all be artistic; we just need time and practice.”
She added: “Baking is structured and focus-driven, almost a form of meditation. The day I had to make my tortoise, I got some pretty bad news, but the cake-making process helped me to stay calm and work through this news. I slept like a baby that night, despite being sad.”
Regardless of whether your creation is a van Gough or more of a Tracey Emin, cake is art. And who doesn’t want to eat edible art?
For cake inspo, click here: Secret Baking Society UK.