The art of carving 3D figures on cakes and “tortas” is developing remarkably in Egypt. It has transformed into an art that combines the roots of the confectionery industry and its established traditions with new innovations. These innovations aim to modernize the industry and attract customers through the use of sculptures, some of which address humanitarian and social issues.
Sculptures expressing solidarity with the Palestinian cause have lately gained a lot of popularity in Egypt. A wide variety of these sculptures - most notably a map, a Palestinian flag and the famous “keffiyeh” - have all been carved in 3D, with the artistic aim of transforming sweets into ideas and words.
Chef Dina el-Hawary baked a cake that depicts a Palestinian child wearing a keffiyeh and a shirt in the colors of his country’s flag. The sculpture exhibits many artistic details that express the suffering of the child.
El-Hawary told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Carving on cakes and tortas requires two types of talent: the first is making sweets that are delicious themselves - with an emphasis on trying out new flavors with novel techniques. The second is carving out shapes and figures, which is more difficult than sculpting on solid shapes, which are fragile and likely to collapse during the process itself. Thus, we use sugar paste to both strengthen the mixture and maintain its cohesion. Also, carving out facial features is considered to be the most difficult task, and it requires a lot of skill and concentration.”
El-Hawary added: “We create these sculptures of celebrities, some of whom include famous Egyptian football star Mohamad Salah, Argentinian football star Lionel Messi, reggae icon Bob Marley, and a lot of famous people.”
La Casa de Caramelo pastry shop, located in the Beni Suef governorate south of Cairo, baked a large cake that was decorated with the Palestinian flag. The cake had a banner of the map of Palestine carrying the phrase “sorry, not for sale,” as well as a closed lock next to the map.
The creation resonated with customers who flocked to the shop to but the cake only to be told by the manager that it was not for sale.
The manager, Ahmad Fathi told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Customers wanted to buy the torta, so I told them we could make one similar to it. Customers really liked the torta, and many proceeded to order one. As a result, we prepared other tortas based on their preferences.”
Photos of the cake were shared widely on social media. Everyone was asking: “We understood that the land is not for sale, but can we buy the torta?”
Dina Diab, a chef specializing in sculpting, told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Sculptures on sweets illustrate stories that address varied issues and artistic ideas that go beyond traditional shapes and pave the way for artistic expression.”