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BANANA EXTRAVAGANZA (article first published : 2000-02-4)

Cake icing has become a major artistic skill as anyone will agree who has seen the extraordinary creations ice artists are producing these days. Add a touch of magic and inventive minds and the result will hopefully be registered as the worlds largest iced layered banana cake. Scheduled to be long enough to surround the Durban International Convention Centre twice (600 metres), the cake forms an attempt at a world record and is to be produced by the South African Chefs Association (SACA) to celebrate its relaunch on February 6.

The brainchild of ICC executive chef Markus Banziger it has been scientifically analysed for 100% food safety and contains items such as powdered egg and other unperishable products to prevent contamination as the cake snakes its way past the Durban Hilton and along Walnut Road and back into Ordnance Road to encircle the area of the ICC which itself is the size of two rugby fields.

I am going literally bananas! says a cheerful Markus Banziger, who dreamt up the idea to celebrate the relaunch of SACA, an organisation which has been comparatively inactive for the last couple of years. We thought, lets do something different and challenge the Guinness Book of Records. People came up with ideas such as the biggest bunny chow or the biggest roti and even the largest conglomeration of potjiekie kos. But, as we live in a tropical climate, banana cake seemed appropriate.

Produced by 120 chefs from all over Durban from experienced chefs in hotels and restaurants to students at ML Sultan Technikon and Technikon Natal - the cake comprises 750x450 ml of sheet cake. We dont have the capacity at the ICC to bake such a large volume in so short a time span but Pick n Pay Bakery sponsored us to utilise their bakery at Ballito, explains Markus, who is also an avid amateur magician. One of the brains behind the recipe is Urs Lang, senior bakery and development manager of Chipkins Bakery in Durban. I learnt a lot of magic from him, says Markus, so I told him to start applying his magic to the professional field!

Sponsorships include 2,4 tons of bananas, 1,5 tons of flour, 4 500 eggs, 960 litres of oil, hundreds of kilograms of jam and icing sugar as well as 1,2km scaffolding on which to lay out the cake and the aluminium foil to cover it. Sections of the cake will be purchased and donated by local businesses to various shelters for street children and places of safety.




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