HONOLULU (KHON2) – Ben Cullen is a renowned UK pastry chef who has won multiple awards and appeared on the hit show Extreme pastry chefs. Trained as a tattoo artist, Cullen became an artistic baker extraordinaire. He specializes in creating intricate and incredibly realistic cakes, which is why he is also known as “The Bake King”.
Last week, Cullen baked a 3-foot-tall cake of the Walt Disney Animation Studios character Maui Moana. It took him four days to create.
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“Big projects like this mean long days because you have to make sure the cake stays fresh,” Cullen said. “So I worked really hard on it, but enjoyed every second of it.”
For Cullen, this sculpture has always been at the top of his cake list. He called Maui his all-time favorite Disney character – and in his version, he’s made of vanilla cake with chocolate ganache and sugarpaste details.
“I love making character cakes, and I’ve always wanted to do Maui since the time I started making character cakes,” Cullen said, “but I knew it would be really hard and I so I kept waiting for the right time when I felt I could do him justice.
He said the cake was “definitely up there” as one of the most difficult cakes he’s ever had to bake. Since Maui is such a well-known character, it was crucial for him to get his features and proportions right.
“Not only that, but the tattoos took so long to be hand painted, and they too had to be perfect for the cake to work; but that’s okay because I’m a big fan of tattoos too,” Cullen said.
“I love how the characters have tattoos…I’m quite tattooed myself, and I think it’s great to see how they’ve portrayed the tattoos in these tribes and the incredible meaning behind them …moving away from other stigma attached to tattoos,” Cullen explained.
He added that “You’re Welcome” is also a brilliant song that he knows all the words to from watching the movie over and over while baking the cake!
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Although he didn’t make any other Hawaiian character cakes, he always wanted to visit the islands.
“I think it looks like the most beautiful place in the world and I can’t wait to go there one day!” he said. “I’m getting married next year, so maybe for my honeymoon that would be the dream.”