Peabody baker sculpts edible art

Staff writer

Fans of “Cakes by Rob” owner Rob Gibson of Peabody don’t just appreciate his art. They devour it.

Gibson bakes many traditional a pastries out of his home, but where he really shines is sculpting unique creative cakes.

“I’m not a cookie-cutter cake decorator,” he said. “Wal-Mart and Dillon’s make what I call ‘carbon-copy cakes’ and those are great for some people. Maybe it is a personal quirk I have or something, but I never make the same cake twice. Every cake is totally original and personalized to what the customer wants.”

Emerging from customers’ desires, Gibson’s cake sculptures can take on epic dimensions, like a wedding cake he made that fed 150 people.

“It was a fully 3D Chevrolet engine block made to what I would say were half scale proportions,” Gibson said. “It didn’t all just come together with the wave of a magic wand. The valve covers sat out at an angle and still supported the weight of the cake. Trying to figure that out was a structural nightmare.”

While sculpting such intricate creations, he has broken cakes and had to start completely over. Each cake is a new exercise in problem solving, but he has the technical known how and creative spark to get the cake baked, shaped, and delivered.

“I’ve been a welder and metal fabricator my whole life,” he said. “I understand structure. I can see it in my head and I have been gifted to be able to make that a reality with my hands.”

He uses a number of edible and inedible supports to engineer structural integrity.

“I make as much of the cake as I can completely edible,” he said. “On cars I’ve made, the wheels weren’t plastic; they were either cookie wrapped in fondant or dingdongs.”

A groom’s cake that featured a woman doll atop a great white shark that was chasing a man doll, whose swimming trunks had been shredded in the sharks teeth, required something more substantial than cake.

“I had to use Rice Crispy treats on the shark’s snout,” he said. “Pieces of cake will just break off in your hand when you try to carve them or mold them.”

He’s also made a Lightning McQueen and Madder cake, an ambulance cake trimmed with flashing lights, a towering ‘naked cake’ trimmed with flowers and fruit, and any number of other curious creations.

“I enjoy seeing the customers’ faces or the kids at their birthdays,” he said. “I just want to blow their minds. I strive for that wow factor.”

Gibson doesn’t mind watching people devour his creation, but he refuses to cut the cake if asked. Curiously, he doesn’t eat much cake either.

Gibson can be reached for orders at (620) 381-3249.

Last modified Sept. 8, 2016

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