Inci Orfanlı Erol at the IKA Culinary Olympics last week in Erfurt, Germany. Inci Orfanlı Erol at the IKA Culinary Olympics last week in Erfurt, Germany. Inci Orfanlı Erol at the IKA Culinary Olympics last week in Erfurt, Germany. (Photo: Courtesy photo)

Einstein cake wins international culinary olympics

Woman with no professional baking training took home gold.

Inci Orfanli Erol learned how to bake by watching videos on the internet. But being self-taught didn't seem to matter, as she took home the gold medal in the sculpting category at a global bakeoff last week. Her winning cake was in the shape of Albert Einstein.

The 33-year-old Istanbul native was among thousands of chefs from 40 countries around the world who participated in the recent IKA Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany. The cake's win is happy news for fans of Einstein, who are looking forward to celebrating the 101st anniversary of his theory of relativity this month.

Orfanli Erol actually started making the cake six weeks before the four-day competition began. She made it at home in Turkey, save for a few finishing touches, and packed it up in a box. It was then sent on a bus to the competition for more than 40 hours.

In case you're wondering, the cake itself can't be eaten. Underneath Einstein's inedible epidermis is a combination of foam and PVC pipe. Although, if you're still hankering for a bite of the beloved genius, we suggest his shock of hair, which is made out of sugar.

Neither her gold medal or her cake is actually edible.Neither her gold medal or her cake is actually edible. (Photo: Courtesy photo)

So how did she land on the idea for an Einstein cake? "When you make a cake for an international competition, you want to make a public figure, and Einstein was a very good idea for this," she told From The Grapevine.

Orfanli Erol, who studied philosophy in school, felt a special kinship with Einstein. "He has a philosophic side. I like his quotations," she said. "And he's a very funny person. People were looking at the Einstein cake and they were all smiling. I like making people smile."

She's not the only one who understands the physicist's iconic stature. In the past year alone, Einstein has been the subject of everything from a graphic novel to a new card game. His pop culture cameos not only play off his historical status, but also his iconic appearance. “Einstein's face is the most recognizable face worldwide,” said Hanoch Gutfreund, the director of the Albert Einstein archives at Hebrew University in Israel, a school the physicist helped establish. "If one can say anything about this, the interest in Einstein increases with time. It's greater now."

The official Einstein social media accounts have recently hosted Facebook Live videos featuring both pancakes and pumpkins in the shape of Einstein.

This isn't even the first time such a cake made international headlines. Back in April a cop-turned-cake decorator named Dawn Butler won best in show at a British bakeoff with a cake in the shape of Einstein's head.

Dawn proudly holds up her first-place certificate after the show.Dawn Butler proudly holds up her first-place certificate after the show. (Photo: Courtesy photo)

"There's no more iconic figure than Einstein," Butler told From The Grapevine. "I love his dedication. I love the fact that he didn't take life too seriously. I'm often referred to as the cake genius. So it was kind of tongue in cheek that I would create a genius in cake. It was really good fun."

As for Orfanli Erol, she's now made baking a full-time career. She offers classes and bakes cakes for birthdays and other special occasions. And luckily for her family, she works our of her home. "My husband is so happy," she said. "He likes dessert."

Orfanli Erol is looking forward to next year's competition in Greece, where she'll compete again with the Turkish National Culinary Team (TAFED). But she's yet to decide which famous character she'll sculpt. In the meantime, Einstein is making his way back to her via a very long bus trip. When he arrives, she'll keep him in a case so he remains dust free – and a source of inspiration.

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