Rural baker takes a bite out of pandemic with ghastly Mr. Covid cake

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Its smiling visage looks ready to take a bite out of you, but an amazing work of art created by a Medicine Hat cake artist is in fact a fully edible marble cake.

Bernice Fentiman, a cake artist at Redcliff Bakery, made the Mr. Covid cake last week for a customer.

She said she’d done smaller COVID-19 virus cakes, but this was the first large one she’d made, and the larger canvas inspired her to do more.

“Me and the other gal working here, we thought, ‘We should put a face on that thing,’” said Fentiman.

She said she sculpted the cake from images of the strangely popular COVID-19 character featured in Alberta Health public service announcements.

Those commercials show how the COVID character likes to show up at weddings, sleepovers and holiday gatherings.

Fentiman made Mr. Covid by first stacking several layers of cake and carving the shape, before covering it with fondant.

The red spikes were also made from fondant, and are held on with toothpicks. The silvery-colour was achieved through an edible dust and airbrushing.

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Alberta’s Mr. Covid made his first appearance in December.
Alberta’s Mr. Covid made his first appearance in December.

She said the eyes, which have a clear glass look, were made from isomalt.

Fentiman has been making cakes for about 20 years. She started with Wilton cake decorating courses and picked up techniques over the years through work and the internet.

She also tunes in to popular cake decorating shows for ideas.

“I used to watch the shows all the time, and I still do. It’s pretty interesting some of the techniques they use and come up with,” she said.

Melissa Graber, owner of Redcliff Bakery, said the cake decorators at her business are true artists by any sense of the word.

The Mr. Covid cake took about five hours, according to Graber.

“They have to paint all those different colours and they need to form every one of those little pieces,” she said.

Graber has owned the bakery for three years, but said the business has been around since 1910 and has locations in Redcliff and Medicine Hat.

The pandemic has apparently been good for the cake business. Fentiman suspects people are splurging on themselves, and she’s seen that with more elaborate cake orders coming through the shop.

“I think what’s happening is, people can’t have big birthday parties and they can’t have celebrations right now, and so they’re spending the money on a fancier cake.”

On Twitter: @brodie_thomas

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