Last week we wrote about the incredible Miss Cakehead putting some of her favourite bakers’ skills to the test in getting them involved in Baketopia, a magical wonderland made entirely out of cake to celebrate National Baking Week. Whilst we ooh’d and aah’d over the unbelievable life size unicorn made of rainbow cake, the edible butterflies that graced the walls, the milk fountains to dip frog-shaped cookies in, and the mountains of pink marshmallow, it wasn’t entirely what we’d had in mind. Miss Cakehead you see, is known for her more gruesome projects which is why her latest event was a little more on the gory side…
Kraken Rum is a delicious, and very dark rum from the Caribbean with a spicy kick to it. Last week, they teamed up with Miss Cakehead to put on a cocktail competition at Happiness Forgets in Hoxton Square, inviting bartenders from around the country to create a drink they felt most replicated the colour of the Kraken’s blank ink (whilst being very tasty as well of course).
The two winners of the competition would then meet up with a fourth generation Kraken Hunter (!) and head to the eerie Red Sands Forts in the Thames Estuary to observe an autopsy on a Kraken Monster. I went along to witness the spectacle.
We arrived by the boat early on a beautiful, crisp, sunny day. Two men who can only be described as proper salty sea dogs were waiting on the harbour, one smoking a pipe (as you should). Signs warning us of Kraken attacks adorned the ship we were about to board reminding us that this was certainly not all fun and games. The Kraken Hunter stood tall on deck in full antique diver’s regalia as he was about to walk the sea bed (apparently). After being handed a strong tea in a mug the shape of a skull, we were ready to set sail.
After about 1 ½ hours, we could begin to make out the silhouette of the forts on the horizon. They were first built in the 1940s to shoot down planes in the Second World War. Despite no one ever having been reported dying on them, one is apparently haunted and if you look at them, you can see why they would provoke superstition. The skipper of our boat said that he’d found it unsettling to sleep alone in the forts at night with the sound of the waves, the creak and sway of the forts, the wind whistling through their broken windows and the sound of a bell on a buoy far below. Why anyone would want to sleep there alone in the first place baffles me, but maybe my sea nerves need some work. In any case, it’s quite a phenomenal sight to behold. You feel like you’re on a film set that was built for mars and dropped in the middle of the ocean.
It was in the shadow of these magnificent structures, on the top deck of the boat, that the autopsy on a Kraken monster took place. A Senior Demonstrator of Anatomy at Cambridge University had come along to conduct it and talked us through the various bits of the monster she had dissected. Eye pupils (pickled eggs), Bogeys (prunes I’m guessing..?), Kraken fat (marzipan) and various other bits were handed out for us to munch on as the autopsy continued finished off by the best bit, Kraken flesh (a truly amazing fruitcake, spiced with Kraken Rum).
When we’d all had our fill of the Kraken, we headed back to shore to meet the winners of the cocktail competition and try their concoctions. First up was Manuel Correa who’s drinks where as black as you’d expect ink to be and contained a ingredients such as Kraken Blood Extract (Dalston Cola reduction) and Kraken Poison Extract (homemade spiced poppy seed tincture). The overall result was something spicy and warm woven up in a creative story.
Personally I preferred the second drink as I’m not a massive fan of cola. This came from Sarah Harker who created a beautifully balanced cocktail which saw fresh herbs smoked with woodchips in a bottle before adding other ingredients including St Germain and Cointreau. Perfection.
While our adventure that day had sadly come to an end, fear not!!! You can join in the gory fun with Kraken and Miss Cakehead in time for Halloween. Miss Cakehead is reviving her legendary pop-up shop Eat Your Heart Out in time for this spookiest of holidays. Expect to feast on the remains of the bloated Kraken monster from our trip, along with other gruesome and disturbing cake-related art installations. Kraken rum will also have their tasty cocktails on offer to sample.
Eat Your Heart Out is a free event will be at The Rag Factory just off Brick Lane from 11.30am – 6.30pm on the 25th – 27th October.
Strictly 18+ (due to the nature of the cakes). Not for the faint hearted it seems. We’ll see you there!
The Rag Factory
16-18 Heneage Street
London E1 5LJ