Manfred the Gorilla

I am a painting major at Pratt Institute but I also love sculpture. Although technically Pratt does not allow you to double major or minor in two arts, I consider myself a sculpture minor;) During my Fall 2012 semester, my sophmore year, I took a life sculpture class. During class time we sculpted in clay from a live nude model. Our outside assignment for the semester was to create a 3D sculpture in any material we chose. I immediately knew I wanted to make a cake! I have always had a love for animals and they are my favorite subject to sculpt. Gorillas/monkeys in particular have always had a special place in my heart. So I decided to create a gorilla cake.

I began by building the inner wooden frame for the cake. This was the first cake I was able to complete by myself from start to finish. I designed the frames for the iron man and lion(my first sculpture cakes) but was lucky enough to have my dad, and his fully stocked workshop, to teach me how to use the tools and build the frames. Over the past two years I feel like I've become a carpenter as well as a cake artist:)

Since I was making the cake a few weeks in advance I needed to use an unedible material for the mass of the cake. A rule I follow when making cakes is as long as the entire visible outside is edible, its a cake;) Wanting to be cost efficient I decided to use styrofoam for the body and head. I placed blocks of styrofoam between and around the frame and slowly carved out the gorilla. I left a small hole in the back of the gorilla where I would place the cake before it was due. Once I had created a basic form of his body I covered the styrofoam in modeling chocolate. With the chocolate I am able to form the roundness and exact shape of his body.

Once his body was formed in dark chocolate I sculpted his head in white modeling chocolate. The white chocolate is the final material used to cover him and be painted. The face is always may favorite part to sculpt. I love creating all of the intricate details and it is when the animals personality finally appears.

After completing the head my last step was to cover the whole body in white chocolate. This is when I get to add the details on the surface of his body, such as the creases in his fingernails and lines of his fur.

This was when I finally filled the hole in his back with cake. There were only about 15 people in the class so I didn't need that much cake. You may notice the poll placed beneath his butt:p This was because the weight of all chocolate was too heavy for the frame and it began to slightly lean backwards. I expect these type of rookie mistakes to happen and each one becomes a learning experience so I can continue to improve with each cake I make.

Unfortunately time always seems to run out and there just wasn't enough time with Manfred. These last photos were taken around 12am the morning Manfred was due. I began to paint his face but realized there was just not enough time before I had to bring him to school to fully paint the piece. Rather than rushing it and doing a sloppy job I presented him to my class all in white. But everything always happens for a reason! It only mattered in my mind that Manfred wasn't painted. My class admired his beauty all in white. Three days later we threw a Chanukah party at my house and I decided to paint him for the occasion.

I use edible food coloring with a paintbrush and airbrush to apply the color.

I finished painting Manfred just in time for the party and he got to put on a real show for a large number of people to enjoy:)


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