Priceless artworks turned into sweet treats for charity

LONDON -- It took Jane Margrie 10 hours of baking and decorating to turn her lemon cake into a work of art.

The rectangular dessert actually looks like a masterpiece. It was inspired by Pablo Picasso's "Seated Woman with Wrist Watch."

"I wanted something colorful. It was hard work, but I enjoyed it," Margrie said.

Margrie took part in a creative fundraising appeal launched by The Art Fund: Have supporters of the arts bake cakes in the likeness of iconic masterpieces, sell them and donate the proceeds to the London-based charity that helps museums and galleries across the United Kingdom acquire new art.

To kick things off, The Art Fund offered Edible Masterpieces fundraiser hosting kits and recruited the2013 winner of hit TV series "The Great British Bake Off" to donate a blueberry cheesecake modeled after Henri Matisse's "Blue Nude" series.

At a well-attended cocktail reception and auction in London's Soho District, Margrie's lemon cake Picasso was one of dozens of Edible Masterpieces up for bid. The auction's most buzzworthy confection was a red-and-white, three-layer sponge cake stacked and frosted to resemble Andy Warhol's "Campbell's Soup Cans." It sold for 65 pounds, or about $110. The lemon cake Picasso went to advertising agency executive Lee Henshaw. He successfully bid 55 pounds, or about $95.

"The detail and the intricacy of the cake is phenomenal if you look at the amount of effort [Margrie] put into baking it," Henshaw said, holding his Picasso cake after auction. "So this was always the cake we knew we wanted."

North of London, The Art Fund hosted its own fundraiser competition and raffle. Variations on the Edible Masterpieces theme included a toy shark set in Jell-O - a homage to Damien Hirst's iconic, 23-ton, shark-in formaldehyde contemporary work, "The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living."

A cake inspired by Salvador Dali's "The Persistence of Memory" is seen next to a picture of the painting.
A cake inspired by Salvador Dali's "The Persistence of Memory" is seen next to a picture of the painting.
Alphonso Van Marsh/CBS

There was also a pastry tart baked to appear to flow off the display table, much like the melting clocks featured in Salvador Dali's "The Persistence of Memory."

Moe Shimizu's chocolate cake topped with marshmallow, fruit rollup, icing and half an apple, inspired by Rene Magritte's "The Son of Man" - the iconic portrait of a man in a suit, red tie and bowler hat with a green apple covering the face - won the office competition.

A cake inspired by Rene Magritte's "The Son of Man" is seen next to a picture of the painting.
A cake inspired by Rene Magritte's "The Son of Man" is seen next to a picture of the painting.
Alphonso Van Marsh/CBS

"It was very unexpected. I wasn't even sure what I was going to be baking until five days [before the competition]," she said.

The Art Fund said similar fundraising events are being held across the country and encouraged creative bakers to post their work to Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #ediblemasterpieces.

"The idea is to bring mass participation into fundraising," said Art Fund Director Stephen Deuchar. "What works about this event is the sense of humor that's instilled in all these works of art. You don't need to know anything about art to enjoy the visual spectacle of these cakes."

That might explain the submission of a naked Barbie doll grounded into a stack of brownies - an apparent take on Marcel Duchamp's 1912 oil on canvas "Nude Descending a Staircase."

The Art Fund isn't saying how much money it expects to raise with the edible masterpieces campaign. However, the charity said that fundraisers who return donations by June 30 could be eligible to win prizes.

When asked why he'd pay close to $100 for fancy sheet cake with a Picasso top, Henshaw said he supports the arts.

"It is a lot of money, isn't it?" he asked. "We shall savor every slice."

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