When it comes to Star Wars, the words devotion and passion don’t even begin to describe the fandom. Star Wars fans go the extra mile to create things inspired by their favorite characters or scenes, even if they only exist on screen for just a few seconds.
aA few months ago when The Force Awakens trailer debuted, the internet went crazy with fan tributes and speculation. One of the biggest takeaways was the ball droid, a.k.a. BB-8. This droid seemed adorable (though we’ve learned from Star Wars Rebels, that isn’t always the case) but more than anything, this droid was unique due to its shape and range of motion.
While BB-8 has graced tattoos, fanart and even replica droids, there’s one universe yet to be conquered: food. That is, until now. CakeRush bakery in the UK were the first to tackle a stand up, full 3D version of BB-8 as a cake. Quite an accomplishment considering there are no still shots of the design, and to make a spherical shape out of cake isn’t easy.
CakeRush is located in Hertfordshire, England. Coincidentally Hertfordshire also happens to be the home of Elstree Studios and Leavesden Studios. Elstree was used by George Lucas for the original Star Wars trilogy and Leavesden is known for producing the Harry Potter movies. Sounds like a whole lot of inspiration for CakeRush.
It’s no wonder that CakeRush owners Mike and Angela love to make space ship cakes. They are inspired by their fandom and love of sci-fi. Disney fans will be interested to know that they’re currently working on a cake inspired by V.I.N.C.E.N.T from The Black Hole.
Currently they only sell cakes locally through their website online but hopefully one day they’ll get a teleporter and we’ll all be able to enjoy their fantastic science fiction-inspired desserts. I spoke with Mike and Angela about their inspiration and how they built that amazing BB-8 cake:
Nerdist: You do beautiful work, how long have you been cake decorating?
CakeRush: Thank you very much! Mike started years ago, doing cakes for his nephews and nieces. After we got married we started to collaborate and then in 2012 we set up a website and began in earnest. CakeRush is really just the development of what was a fun hobby. We still work out of our kitchen at home, which can be interesting as it’s not very large!
N: Do you have a favorite fandom that inspires you?
CR: Star Wars is a rich seam of ideas for cakes because there are some really good ships and robots. Other science-fiction comes and goes but Star Wars is always there; it’s passed into modern lore now. Star Trek is also good, because there is so much reference available to help with the details. We will take ideas from anything though. We love all kinds of science-fiction and fantasy, from Dune to Harry Potter!
N: What inspired you to make the BB-8 cake?
CR: It was intended purely for practice. Like everybody else,, we watched the Episode VII trailer with anticipation, and a little while later Angela said “We’ve got to make that ball droid!” So it was just a challenge to ourselves, to be the first on the internet to make one. Which – at the time, anyway – we were.
N: I also work with food and so I know how complicated this cake is to make. Can you share the details of how you made the sphere part of the droid?
CR: There are bakers out there who would just use styrofoam or something, but where’s the fun in that? We always try to make everything on our cakes edible if at all possible. In simple terms, we have hemisphere cake pans, so you just need to bake two of those and stick them together. The real trick is getting it to stand up on the board without collapsing or rolling away! I don’t want to give away all our secrets, but… it involves a support tube fixed to the board, plus a disc of chocolate rice krispies concealed in the centre of the cake which serves to support the weight. (This way we get extra strength but it’s still edible.)
…we treated the upper and lower halves like separate cakes initially, covering them with ganache, then sugar paste, then smoothing them, before putting them together and doing our best to conceal the join. Sugar paste is not that forgiving when it comes to blending edges, but we did our best and then the extra detailing helped to cover things up. We came up with this method as we went, because it’s the first ball cake we’ve done and there’s always something new to learn.
N: How did you come up with the detailing, since you only see the droid in action for a second and he’s constantly moving? Did you stop the trailer and sketch it out?
CR: It is hard because the body is completely blurred, so you have to take an educated guess as to what’s going on. We noticed that lots of people on the internet were making their own artworks of BB-8 and they looked very good, but we deliberately didn’t look at them once we started making the cake so that we weren’t copying anyone else’s efforts. We took as many still-frames from the trailer as we could, and did our best to put together something that looked about right. In reality we may be a mile off, but we won’t know until later in the year when we start seeing more from the film. It will be interesting to find out how we did!