Innovative baking by Rosie Cake-Diva in Clitheroe
PUBLISHED: 17:00 03 May 2016 | UPDATED: 12:25 10 June 2016
There is nothing half-baked about Rosie Dummer’s larger than life cake designs. Mairead Mahon found out more
There is little that fazes Clitheroe’s Rosie Dummer. The qualified architect was the first female helicopter pilot in the British Army and the first female Lynx pilot. But now the mum-of-four has become one of the UK’s top flight cake designers. The talented baker, also known as Rosie the Cake Diva, has not only wowed Hollywood star Jamie Dornan with a life-sized cake of himself playing 50 Shades of Grey character Christian Grey, she has also impressed celebrity chef James Martin with a huge elephant cake she made to be displayed at Bolton Food & Drink Festival.
‘I hadn’t planned on making cakes,’ said Rosie. ‘I left the army in the 1990s to start a family. Like so many mums; my first foray into baking was creating cakes for my children.’
Not many mums, though, go on to carve a career that brings such success.
‘That’s true,’ laughed Rosie. ‘But I suppose when you’ve flown a military helicopter, it’s got to be a boost for confidence in whatever you do. Anyway, I do have four children so that was at least four cakes a year
‘Each year, they wanted something better than the last and you know what children are like, especially your own, they won’t look kindly on excuses.
‘Having said that, the first one I made for my eldest daughter, Lily, was Rapunzel cake and although it didn’t show a lot of skill, she loved it and that’s what I remember.’
Rosie creates her cakes in her Georgian farmhouse kitchen in the Ribble Valley town, a place where she also streams internet cake making tutorials to her millions of followers from Accrington to Australia.
Her cakes have just gotten better and better since those early days and Rosie discovered she had a natural gift for devising and decorating fantastic bakes. Before long people were commissioning her to make all kinds of cakes, including for weddings. It was through this that she perfected her trademark lace and floral effect, which takes many hours and a steady hand. Ironically, Rosie’s own wedding cake was a disaster: the chef who made it, in the days before she first picked up a piping bag, misunderstood and brought it to the top table already cut into tiny squares.
There is nothing like this with Rosie’s cakes, though. Her designs are regularly described as spectacular. Her skill and sense of fun means she is always in demand and has been asked to judge at the Cake Oscars in Manchester. Rosie is also the first to be called upon when a corporate or private client wants something show stopping, whether it be an owl, a Faberge egg, an elephant, a peacock or even a life-sized man – including that famous one of Christian Grey. She had made it as part of the 50 Shades of Cake Sugarcraft and Baking Show. It was so good that the BBC invited Rosie and her creation along to the Graham Norton Show.
The cake appeared centre stage. Standing at six feet tall, the Genoese sponge figure used up 55 pounds of flour and 340 eggs and was made up of individual cakes sculpted into human form. Rosie also used white chocolate ganache and sugar paste, as this mixture gives a sharper finish. Another man Rosie created couldn’t be more of a contrast. He is a Grenadier Guardsman, who unlike the half naked Christian Grey cake, wore a full dress uniform.
‘I was asked to bake a fantasy cake for the Cake and Bake show,’ explained Rosie. ‘But when I realised it would be taking place around the time of Remembrance Sunday, I decided to highlight the good job the Armed Forces do.
‘I got in touch with my old army contacts and the cake was allowed to be on the forecourt of Welling Barracks. The other soldiers got a bit of a shock when they turned up to see a new seven foot colleague.’
Rosie’s stunning designs have won praise from Mary Berry as well as James Martin who was bowled over by her creation of Kimmy the Elephant, commissioned by Bolton Council - an elephant is a symbol of the town. It took Rosie and her helpers 700 hours to make.
Despite the intricacy of her cakes, Rosie prefers to rustle up something simple to enjoy with a cup of tea.
‘I love chocolate orange cake,’ she said. ‘Ok, it may not be amazing but it is delicious.
‘I always encourage people to get the basics right before attempting anything else.’