Comes to town at the 39th Annual Cake Show, which also features the wonders of the world and a life-size model of the Master Blaster. RASHMIKA MAJUMDAR reports
In 1969, a young South Indian apprentice at an English bakery saw miniature sugar monuments in the windows of a Belgian cake shop. An inspired C. Ramachandran, went back to make his first sugar model — a 14-inch Eiffel Tower. He took on the challenge of making the tower higher every year till it stood at 10 feet high. Thus began the Annual Cake Exhibition in Bangalore. Ramachandran, the former director of Nilgiri’s is a septuagenarian today and has created nearly 600 sugar models of architectural wonders till date.
“Baking was my hobby and I wanted to learn more. I started working as an apprentice in Darmstdt, Germany and travelled in Western Europe where I saw my first sugar model,” reminisces Ramachandran. “I made a four-feet tall Charminar model 20 years ago and this time, my “sweet” Charminar stands 18 feet tall,” he smiles.
Ravindra Babu, who has been assisting Ramachandran for the last 22 years says, “It took us 20 people, working 15 hours a day and nearly two months to prepare the models on display. We needed 20 days to assemble the delicate pieces.”
“Every part of the Sachin model is edible, including his bat. It weighs 74 kg and is five feet, six inches tall. Eight people worked on it for four days and nights for the star model of our show,” Babu adds.
Icing sugar, edible gelatine, flavour and food-grade colour make up the basic dough which is flattened into thin sheets with the help of a machine. The basic structure of the monument is cut out on cardboard and templates are made. The sheets are placed on the stencils and bound with the help of royal icing. The rough structure is cut into various sizes and dried for 24 hours. It is then assembled, coated with more icing sugar and finishing touches are added. A total of five tons of sugar has been used.
“The structure is kept in glass casing to protect it from moisture. Silica gel bags at room temperature make it last for years,” says Ramachandran.
The exhibition attracts visitors by the hundreds each day, both regulars and first timers. Paramesh Dharmaraj Iyer, a resident of Jayanagar and a septuagenarian visited the exhibition in the afternoon to avoid the crowd. “This is the fifth time I have come here. The Gol Gumbaz on display last year was marvellous. The attention to detail that the artisans pay is amazing. This time, they have made sails of a ship.”
A shoe shop with a giant sugar boot, princesses, dragons and other fantasy structures, a formula one car and Dubai’s Burj Al Arab are among other sugar models on display. After the exhibition ends, the sugar structures will be demolished and given to charity. The pieces can be dusted, dissolved in water to make sugar syrup or used as candy.
“There has been a lot of advancement in the sugar model industry and I would like to travel to Europe once again to see this. I wish this tradition continues in Bangalore,” hopes Ramachandran.
The exhibition is open from 11 AM to 4 PM till December 29 at St Joseph’s Indian High School, K. G Halli.