With the numerous foreign language literature departments and the impressive English and Writing Seminars departments, it’s a well-known fact that Hopkins students enjoy literature. It’s a lesser known fact that many of these same Hopkins students are also fantastic bakers and artists as well.
Run by Heidi Herr, the Outreach Coordinator for Special Collections and the Librarian for English & Philosophy, the Third Annual Sheridan Libraries Edible Book Festival attracted hordes of students to the Glass Pavilion to marvel at all the literary cakes. The cakes ranged from a Lord of the Rings-themed cake topped with an impressive Eye of Sauron to a cake tree stump complete with the Lorax. There was even an entire Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-themed table with “gobstoppers” and “snozzberries” that visitors could dip in a small fondue fountain.
There was a cake that looked like spaghetti and meatballs from Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and a mouse atop a cookie from If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. The Twilight cake used a real apple on top to mimic the famous series’ iconic cover and a rainbow-swirled surprise laid beneath the Yellow Brick Road in the Wizard of Oz cake.
Other book inspirations included American Psycho, The Ashley Book of Knots, Behind the Candelabra, Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret, The Secret Garden, Eve, The Grapes of Wrath, Madeline, Matilda, Oh the Places You’ll Go, The Pale King, The Tipping Point, The Treachery of Images, Twelfth Night and Winnie the Pooh.
The visitors walked around gawking at the creations, also noting down personal favorites to vote for at the end. The contest was a close one since all the cakes were beautifully made.
The Funniest/Punniest Award went to Erica Schwartz’s Much Ado About Nothing cake, with Amicia Phillips, Sophia Chen and Tara Blair’s edible version of Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret as the runner-up. The Best Literary Theme went to Megan Donnelly, Debbie Ou and Christie Shen’s Stories of Edgar Allan Poe, with Aidan Crank and Alex Jordan’s The Lorax cake coming in close behind.
Allison Keller and Shanna Leventhal’s Fahrenheit 451 creation featuring flames made out of cake won first place for Best Effort, with Plaqate Medical’s student group’s Corduroy and Jacon Klein and Lani Roskes’s Magic School Bus as the runners-up.
Then, with an impressive recreation of the book’s iconic setting, Vera Jackson’s Life of Pi cake won Best in Show, with Stephanie Herrera’s Sorting Hat cake from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone coming in second.
Of course, cake was made to be eaten. The cakes were finally cut and visitors went around to all the tables, sampling the different literary creations. Although the masterpieces had to be cut apart, it was worth it, since the culinary aspect had not been compromised at all. This was epitomized in Rita Gupta’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows first prize cake for Most Delicious, with Isabella Altherr and Laura Nugent’s Lord of the Rings Earl Grey cake as the runner-up.
Stephanie Herrera, the runner up for the Best in Show Award, stated that she spent up to five hours working on the fondant Sorting Hat, which makes sense considering the elaborate details. She was well-experienced as she had previously entered the contest twice before, with a Lord of the Rings cake the first year and a Great Gatsby cake a year later. Hopefully, her legacy of cake-baking will continue on next year, when the event is bound to be even bigger and better.