THEY represent 100 of Scotland’s most beloved landmarks including Skara Brae, the Tay Rail Bridge, Eilean Donan Castle, the Falkirk Wheel and Glasgow School of Art.

Celebrating the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, these buildings, structures and bridges will be brought together in one space to create a masterpiece that swaps bricks and mortar for sponge, butter icing and jam.

Welcome to Cake Fest Scotland, where this weekend teams of bakers will gather to construct a giant edible map at Cowane’s Hospital in Stirling.

The event, organised by the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland as part of the Festival of Architecture 2016, is open to the public who will be able to admire the finished creations and tuck into a slice or two as well.

Cake Fest Scotland is the brainchild of Edinburgh-based Simon Preston, who has produced similar events including as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. Last year marked the first time it has been held in Scotland with Cake Fest Edinburgh at the Royal Botanic Gardens.

“Cake Fest is about people coming together to create something enormous simply by each of them doing their own little part,” says Preston. “What is lovely is the humour and personality that goes into the baking. It is eye-popping stuff and a spectacular communal effort.”

In the past, Cake Fest has been standalone or tied into food events, and Preston says he is delighted that this one is at the heart of the Festival of Architecture, of which The Herald is media partner.

“It is fun and puts a spotlight on our 100 best buildings. People are so passionate about the places where they live, grew up, got married and had all these amazing things happen to them.”

Cake Fest Scotland promises a visual and culinary feast. “Some of the cakes will be auctioned for charity or go on display elsewhere, but about two-thirds will be cut up and eaten on the day and there will be more than enough to go around,” he says. “There will be over 10,000 slices of cake to give out.”



Celia Richardson, 64, a tutor administrator from Glasgow

Why did you choose this particular building?

I work for Dyslexia Scotland and our president, three-time Formula One champion Sir Jackie Stewart, was born in West Dunbartonshire so we decided to make Dumbarton Castle in his honour.

I often bring cakes into work, bake for the AGM and make novelty designs – I’m known as the office baker. It is a good way of harnessing the two things I’m passionate about: baking and the work of Dyslexia Scotland.

How well did you know Dumbarton Castle beforehand?

I didn’t know it at all before I started. It looked deceptively simple. If you Google it, you get that lovely shot looking across the Clyde to the Governor’s House with the terrace and battery. I thought that was it, but then I discovered that the whole rock is, in fact, the castle.

Is this the biggest project you’ve ever undertaken?

I have never done anything on this scale before. I have been making novelty cakes for 14 years. Past designs have included a cake in the shape of a corset-style perfume bottle and 3D hiking boots. Harry Potter’s owl Hedwig was a walk in the park in comparison. By the time I finish it will have been at least 60 hours of work.

Have there been any back-to-the-drawing-board moments?

I haven’t had any disasters thankfully. I’ve kept it slow and steady. The kind of questions I’ve had to ask myself are: will chocolate Bourbon biscuits work for battlements? I’m hopeful they will. My plan B is to use strips of cut-up cake. I won’t know until I actually start putting it all together. The other thing I’m contemplating is Glacier Mints as windows.

What other materials have you used?

Madeira cake, homemade jam and buttercream fondant. One of my colleagues has made the cannons from chocolate matchsticks, chocolate buttons and chocolate fingers. It is intricate and detailed work.

The terrace that the Governor’s House sits on is 15cm (5.9in) and the cannons are around 3cm (1in). I have even managed to find black dragees to be the cannon balls.

I have a huge list of things I need from double-sided tape and clingfilm to pallet knives. I will assemble it in the office two days before we take it to Stirling.

I did have the common sense to measure the width of the doors and lifts before we decided on the size of the cake board because that would have been the ultimate nightmare discovering that we then couldn’t get it out once it was built. It’s not the kind of thing you can turn on its side.

I won’t know the final weight until it’s assembled but I have bought 6kg of flour, 6kg of sugar, 4kg of butter, 5kg of fondant icing and seven dozen eggs so far.

Every work surface in my kitchen is covered with ingredients, baking tins, drawings or diagrams, the freezer is full of the cakes I’ve made already and the food mixer is groaning with all the effort. The largest individual cake I did used 725g each of sugar and butter, 700g of flour and 13 eggs.

How all-encompassing has it been?

All I can think about is cake. When I got the scale model I didn’t sleep that night. Every hour I woke up and thought: “I wonder if I can try this?” or “Would that work?” I’m eating, sleeping and breathing Dumbarton Castle and Cake Fest Scotland.



Celia Dick, 36, an art and design teacher from Glasgow

Why did you choose this particular building?

I was invited to get involved on behalf of The Herald and wanted to bake a cake that reflected the rich history of the newspaper. The Lighthouse – as former offices of The Herald – seemed the perfect fit.

What materials have you used?

I went for Madeira cake because it is a bit stronger than sponge. That will hopefully be easier for carving and sturdier too. I have 21 cakes in total. They are each 8in square. I work at Coatbridge High School and my lovely colleague Allison Hood has kindly helped me with some of the baking.

The Madeira cake will be butter-creamed together, then it will be carved and I will use ganache – cream and chocolate – because that will help hold its form. That will be the base on which the fondant icing will go. The windows and dome of the turret will then be royal icing.

My freezer is packed full of cakes – I can’t use it to store anything else. In terms of ingredients I have used 105 eggs, 8kg of sugar, 8kg of flour, 30 lemons and 24 packets of butter.

I made a copy of The Herald with Cake Fest as front page news which has been digitally printed with edible ink on rice paper.

Another ingredient is isomalt, a sugar substitute which doesn’t caramelise and remains clear. Time permitting, I’m going to attempt a few glass panels of the modern section of the building.

And I have got a tiny LED which I am going to try to put in the entrance.


Is this the biggest baking project you’ve undertaken?

Yes. I only took up baking two years ago after being inspired by watching The Great British Bake Off. I have been absolutely loving it. Although there have been some sleepless nights panicking about the octagonal top-heavy turret. After all the baking, I’m looking forward to building and seeing it come together.

What has been the most challenging aspect?

The sheer volume of cake needed. When you bake a cake, you don’t know how much it will rise. Figuring all of that out has been the biggest challenge.

And the most enjoyable?

Hopefully eating it.

How many hours spent on the project?

Around 40 hours on baking alone and countless more sketching or making scale models.

Can you sum up Cake Fest Scotland in five words?

This “arcaketecture” experience has been all-consuming, monumentally challenging, fabulous and fun.



Karen Coulthard, 38, an architect from Edinburgh

Why did you choose this particular building?

As an architect and sustainability consultant I was keen to get involved in Cake Fest as part of the Festival of Architecture 2016. The Royal Commonwealth Pool seemed like a good way to connect the work we do with that.

I work for Graham Construction which did the refurbishment of the pool during 2010-12. My family regularly use the pool – my daughter Erin, four, is learning to swim there – and that seemed like a nice connection too.

What materials have you used?

I’m a vegan so I had hoped to make it a vegan cake but unfortunately they have all been too soft and not strong enough. It lacked the structural integrity needed.

Instead I’m going for a light fruit cake. The roof sections will be iced light fruit cake and the dark windows will be formed from the cake itself so I’m trying to play on the modernist nature by having two different colours. The plan is to use Liquorice Allsorts for the tower.

I need to cantilever the roof and have a plan but if that doesn’t work I’m not sure what I’ll do. There is a system of supports in the middle of the cake to carry the roof. That doesn’t happen with the real building because there is a clear span for the pool so I’m doing the exact opposite structurally.

Tell us a bit about the process.

I took the drawings we have of the Royal Commonwealth Pool and created a scaled-down version as my template for what will be a 1:250 model. I’ve spent around four hours on planning. I’m going to bake everything as close as possible to the day itself so it will be nice and fresh for eating.

The event guidelines say not to worry too much about things being overly precise because you can take an artistic interpretation. How wrong can we go with six rectangles stacked on top of each other?

Who else has been lending a helping hand?

My colleague Barry Sweeney, who was a site engineer on the Royal Commonwealth Pool refurb, has been helping me with the drawings. Our regional director Neil McFarlane helped me look into the possibility of making a 3D cake tin but we decided against that in the end.

Is this the biggest project you’ve ever undertaken?

Not quite. I made a six-tier wedding cake when I got married. That was 2005. My husband Oliver and I made it together and it was a chocolate torte covered in chocolate ganache with local fruit including strawberries and raspberries on top. We made it two days before the wedding. I’m also a failed applicant for the first series of The Great British Bake off.

Can you sum up Cake Fest Scotland in five words?

Intimidated. Excited. Challenged. Optimistic. Nervous.



Clare-Jane McErlean, 49, a home economics teacher from Glasgow

Why did you choose this particular building?

We decided to go for a building we knew rather than one that seemed easiest.

What materials have you used?

We are baking a Madeira cake because it lasts a long time and tastes great. There are 12 cakes in the finished design. We have used butter icing and fondant icing. The Madeira cake makes it very heavy. It is 12cm (4.72in) high and the cake board is 35cm x 55cm (13.77in x 22.65in).

How does this compare to previous baking projects you’ve tackled?

This is the biggest and heaviest to date. In the past I’ve made a Mallard train with engine, carriages and a mountain. I have also made a jumper in cake form, a wedding cake with a campervan, a car and a road, and a cake designed like a rocket.

Any disasters along the way?

I thought I had finished all the baking but when I was assembling the cake structure I accidentally dropped water into one of the bases and had to bake another cake to replace it. Although this gave me a perfect excuse to taste it …

The shaping aspect has also been a challenge. Thankfully Cake Fest Scotland head baker Simon Preston has told us we can do our own interpretation and it might need to be that. I think if I add any more cake we won’t be able to lift it.

Who else has been lending a helping hand?

Mary Young, 16, and Skye Leitch, 15, who are fifth-year pupils at St Joseph’s Academy in Kilmarnock, where I teach. They were in my cake craft class and will be doing the decorating and finer details.

What has been the most challenging aspect?

It has been a huge undertaking.

And the most enjoyable?

Knowing we have been able to shape and create something. I love that creative process.

How many hours have you spent on the project?

Roughly 50 hours in total.

If you hadn’t made Glasgow School of Art, is there another building you would have chosen?

We had wanted to make Dumfries House but I think that might have been just as tricky. They were all big projects on the list. I love Glasgow School of Art because it is Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Can you sum up Cake Fest Scotland in five words?

Frighteningly fabulous. Deliciously scary. Challenging.

Cake Fest Scotland takes place at Cowane’s Hospital in Stirling, tomorrow, 10am until 4pm. Entry costs £5 (adult), £3 (child) and £14 (family for two adults and up to three children).

The Herald has a two-for-one offer on tickets. See today's paper for details. For more information, visit