For millions of children, Christmas dinner means just one thing: the dreaded Brussels sprout. Wouldn’t it be nicer if the tiny offensive vegetables tasted of, say, cake? Which is precisely what Birmingham-based food artist Annabell de Vetten, 41, thought when she decided to craft a festive feast of turkey and all the trimmings entirely out of sponge cake, chocolate and buttercream icing.
Annabel, who created the masterpiece as part of an exhibition on display in London’s Imperial College, carved the meal entirely by hand in just a few hours, and used edible food paint to bring the piece to life.
Along with three other cake artists, Annabel showed off her skills and managed to pull off the Christmas dinner which went on display at Imperial on 13 December. Incredibly, British cake designer Annabel only turned her hand to cake art two years ago when she married her American husband Thom and needed a cake to celebrate the big day.
End result: ‘When I look back at how it all turned out, I’m really pleased and it’s actually better than I imagined’She painted everything from the sprouts to the tiny herbs on top of the roast turkey. For those with a sweet tooth, it’s the perfect opportunity to tuck into desert first as even the gravy and candles were made out of chocolate.Turkey and trimmings: Annabel painted everything from the sprouts to the tiny herbs on top of the roast turkey – even the gravy and candles were made out of chocolateThe two-tier white chocolate mud cake was a huge hit with her guests, and Annabel soon found herself with orders coming in from family and friends. She decided to put her skills into practice and set up her own business, Conjurer’s Kitchen, which she runs from her home in Kings Heath, Birmingham.
Annabel said: ‘The hardest part of it for me was getting the herbs to look like real herbs as I’d never done anything like that before. When I look back at how it all turned out, I’m really pleased and it’s actually better than I imagined.’
The idea behind the sweet dinner was that visitors to the exhibition would eat it – but in typically British fashion, people were too polite to touch the art, much less take great bites out of it.
Annabel said: ‘We took the dinner along to the exhibition for people to eat but to begin with everybody was a bit shy about trying tucking in. Once the first person tried a bit though, everybody else joined in and it was gone within 30 minutes.’
And just like other artists, Annabel worries about her work being damaged during delivery – especially if the delivery men are peckish.
She said: ‘It’s always a worry when it comes to delivering my work because you want to make sure it gets there in one piece. Myself and the other cake artists got really positive feedback from everybody who saw the dinner so it makes it all worthwhile.’
‘To be honest, even though I had to change the turkey about three times, the whole thing was really exciting from start to finish.’
Sweet feast: Along with three other cake artists, Annabel showed off her skills and managed to pull off the Christmas dinner which went on display at Imperial on 13 DecemberCan we eat it? Visitors to the exhibition in London were initially shy about scoffing Annabel’s art, but eventually everyone got stuck inAnd for my next trick: Annabel runs her own cake business, Conjurer’s Kitchen, from her home in Kings Heath, BirminghamTuck in: Visitors to the exhibition in Imperial College using toothpicks to sample Annabel’s alternative Christmas dinnerAnnabel said: ‘Myself and the other cake artists got really positive feedback from everybody who saw the dinner so it makes it all worthwhile’