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Winner: Elaine’s Creative Cakes

The oceanic theme of this year’s competition is dramatically represented by Elaine Hamey’s winning cake.

“My son Jacob showed me his book Under the Sea, we went to an aquarium and also got a book on the Great Barrier Reef,” explains Hamey, whose business is based in Urmston, Manchester.

She worked alone from 9pm until midnight each evening and spent 90 hours creating her cake, which resembles one fluid scene, almost seeming to move before the viewer’s eyes.

“The base is made up of sugar rocks, a technique in which you boil up sugar and water and pour it into pre-coloured royal icing. It quadruples in size, then you can break it into ‘rocks’.”

Growing out of these rocks are brightly coloured corals of different forms, with a spiky sea urchin nearby.

The centrepiece rises up and plays host to a languid octopus whose tentacles and suckers wind around, emerging at times through the rock’s holes and crevices.

Nearby, a brightly-coloured crab stands resting on its claws. Higher up the rock are further corals and a collection of seaweeds in various shades of green.

At the summit swims a lifelike sea turtle. Each patterned square on its back is made, decorated and affixed separately to give varying texture.

Finalist: Browns Cakes

Mermaids and a surfer are the focus of this creation by Browns Cakes, a successful business in Rochdale, Lancashire, run by Natasha Brown.

The action begins at the bottom of the ocean where a treasure trove filled with gold and pearls provides an exciting discovery for the animated mermaids, who represent the cake’s creators. Two are sisters, and look alike, one wears short hair and another sports hair in pretty pink strands, wafted upwards by the sea.

Down on the sandy sea floor are colourful corals and shells, and coins spilling out from the chest. This treasure has come from an old sunken ship nearby, which attracts marine life such as a turtle, octopus, sea horse and lobster. All the action takes place around a rock, which forms the centrepiece of the cake.

Right at the top, oblivious to the mermaids below, is an energetic sea surfer, resembling Brown herself, wearing a bright, modern aqua-suit and riding a wave on a bright red board. To one side is a friendly bottlenose dolphin, on the other a shark.

Finalist: Shuga Budz

Shuga Budz owner Amelia Nutting and four staff spent 125 hours making this imaginative oceanic-themed cake, inspired by mythology.

On the base is a sandy sea floor featuring the ruins of Greek temples, covered in ancient algae, that stand among coral rocks surrounded by sea creatures, including cuttlefish and sting rays. Emerging from the sand is a large central rock, circled by sea creatures such as sea urchins and brightly coloured fish. A statue of a Greek warrior stands guard.

The tentacles of an enormous kraken octopus wind their way around the rock, until they reach its top. Here stands a coral tree decorated with a dazzling array of sea anemones, fishes and multi-coloured corals.

On the sea’s surface, marbled water captures the movement of the waves with the mythological wife of Poseidon, Amphitrite, sitting on a shell-shaped chariot, pulled by two fishtailed horses. A hanging seaweed threads its way down, linking all the features on this colourful cake.