S.F. bakery goes whole hog with Angry Birds tribute

Bakery owner in San Francisco's Noe Valley constructs elaborate shrine to his favorite game.

Rafe Needleman Former Editor at Large
Rafe Needleman reviews mobile apps and products for fun, and picks startups apart when he gets bored. He has evaluated thousands of new companies, most of which have since gone out of business.
Rafe Needleman
2 min read

Many parts are edible. Rafe Needleman/CNET

I was out for a walk with my son this weekend when he stopped me, gobsmacked, in front of the bakery. "Dada! Look! An Angry Birds...cake."

Tasty attack birds. Rafe Needleman/CNET

So I called Michael Gassen, the owner of Noe Valley Bakery, and asked him why, and for whom, he had built the giant and clearly fragile construction in his store window. "I love Angry Birds," he said. "I'm kind of obsessed with it."

Thinking it'd be "awesome" to build a 3D Angry Birds, he gathered "a couple of people," and took about three days to build the cake out of rolled fondant and gum paste. There are a minimum number of structural aids (dowels and toothpicks), "to avoid surprises," should anyone actually want to eat it.

He says the cake would cost about $750 if anyone wanted to buy it, but that it wasn't created for a customer. It'll keep indefinitely, because the bakers added drying agents to the ingredients. It is edible "and actually tastes pretty good," he says, but less so with each passing day.

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Because I'm always looking for alternative angles from the entrepreneurs I interview, I wanted to know why he didn't use marzipan for the birds and pigs. And now I know: "You can't model with marzipan as well. It has too much moisture, and doesn't hold color as well."

I also had to ask Gassen if he foresaw running into any licensing issues. "We haven't had a problem so far," he said, and joked that it would be easy to dispose of any evidence in a legal proceeding. "What cake?" he said.