Did you know that the African Elephant, the biggest beast of our continent’s famed BIG 5, is the largest and heaviest terrestrial mammal in the world? But did you also know that the numbers of this incredible, colossal creature are diminishing at a startling rate? To help raise awareness and much needed funding for elephant conservation, a gigantic Elephant-shaped cake, pegged as “The Biggest Elephant Cake in the World” will be displayed at the upcoming Good Food and Wine Show (GFWS) in Cape Town.
Complete with a moist, spongey interior and a sugary fondant exterior – yes, you can eat it! - this spectacular feat of baking is a joint project between the GFWS, The Elephant Project SA, Slim Lady Wines, and celebrity chef and master cake maker, Dot Klerck. All funds raised as a result of this enormous Pachyderm pastry will be donated to “International Fund for Animal Welfare” (IFAW), which is the beneficiary organisation that has been chosen by The Elephant Project SA.
Founded in 1969, and with projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. “A recent study shows 100,000 elephants were killed for their ivory in just three years from 2010-2012, and a continent-wide survey of African elephants released last year estimates savannah elephant populations to be shrinking by eight per cent per year, largely due to ivory poaching,” states Dr Joseph Okori, Southern African Regional Director for IFAW.
“That means that more elephants are being killed by poachers than are being born and, if the trend is not reversed, parts of Africa will witness local extinction of elephants. ‘The Biggest Elephant Cake in the World’ project is a wonderfully fun way to introduce a deadly serious subject to visitors, and to help fund the critical work of our Landscape Conservation Programme to protect elephant habitats, manage human-elephant conflict, prevent poaching, end the ivory trade and rescue and rehabilitate elephants,” says Dr Okori.
It’s the 2nd year in the row that the GFWS has made its popular public platform available for a CSI initiative in aid of conservation. Says Maria Chieppa, Managing Director of Fiera Milano Exhibitions Africa, the company behind the GFWS: “Fiera Milano Exhibitions Africa and GFWS provide a big platform for the food and wine industry, attracting thousands of visitors each edition. We support the economic growth of this important sector, especially its SMMEs. We feel responsible for the territory we operate in and hence support different CSI projects.”
Last year’s visitors to the show would certainly remember the very hard-to-miss, life-sized Rhino Cake, which was presented in collaboration with Megan Carr from The Rhino’s in Africa Foundation. In case you missed the show, take a look at the cake here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=BY0MxZsPWpw
In 2016, proceeds raised from the Rhino Cake initiative were donated to the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre. Carr was the conduit to ensure that the money went directly to the centre and 6 000 slices of cake were donated to the Food Bank.
To help raise funds this year, visitors can make donations at the show, get a professional instant photograph taken with the Elephant Cake or purchase a limited-edition T-shirt. But the main event is the Cocktail Party in the VIP lounge at the GFWS where the Biggest Elephant Cake in the World will be unveiled at exactly 19h00 on Thursday 1st June, 2017.
When complete, the cake will weigh about one metric tonne and will provide approximately 7000 to 10 000 slices of delicious chocolate sponge with buttercream filling. It will be the largest cake that Dot Klerck has ever made.
“The cake will take about 250 hours in total from design to finish,” she says. “We will be using large 40x40cm sheets of cake to create the cake. These will be placed on top and next to each other and carved to shape. Every 20cm of cake, we will need to put supports in, so that the bottom layers of cake are not squished! The biggest challenge in making this cake will be the transport at the end. Because it weights so much, we will need to use a fork lift to bring it to the truck.”
There will be an auction that evening to raise funds for IFAW. Wonderful limited edition items will be on offer including a five-star safari trip, beautiful artwork, and of course the most important piece, the Elephant cake itself. One lucky - and generous - person will get to own and name this masterpiece and donate the cake to his or her favourite charity.
“This year we are honoured to support The Elephant Project SA – an important initiative to create awareness around the plague of elephant poaching and the need to safeguard natural richness,” Chieppa comments. “Support this worthy project with us and don't miss the planet’s biggest elephant-shaped cake, which will be on display at the GFWS at the CTICC from 2-4 June 2017.”
The GFWS is the only place to see “The Biggest Elephant Cake in the World” – so be sure to get a slice of the action!
And if you’d like to make a donation to this worthy cause before the show begins, then please visit www.theelephantprojectsa.co.za.