A former joiner who ditched the day job to follow his passion for cake making is now winning national awards for his amazing home-made creations.
Robert Firth worked as a joiner and later at a sweet factory for seven years before turning a talent for creating cakes for family and friends into a business.
His cakes include an award-winning Edward Scissorhands cake with movable robotic arms; a cake depicting Blue Peter dog Mabel; a fully edible scene from the 101 Dalmatians movie and a four-tier wedding cake in Jamaica’s national colours with silhouettes of two love-struck sweethearts.
Some of his cakes can take an astonishing 50 hours to make and are baked in sections using a standard oven.
Robert explained: “It just started out as a hobby to be honest.
“I was making cakes for friends and family about six years ago and they definitely weren’t anything special to start with.
“I’ve always been creative and one day I bought some supermarket icing sugar and made some little penguins for a family member.
“It turns out it’s pretty addictive.”
After impressing family and friends, Robert, from Halifax, West Yorks., realised he was on to something, and was soon baking cakes full time.
Robert said he began entering cakes into competitions on the advice of friends in the industry.
The 29-year-old said: “I just started having crazy ideas about what I could make, and the cakes got bigger and better.
“My first entry was a three foot tiger cake, and it won Bronze at Cake International at the NEC in Birmingham. That’s the biggest competition in the world with 1,500 entries over different categories.
“Over the years I’ve won five Gold awards and three Silver awards at Cake International.
“I’ve had a few more Bronze awards too but they don’t go on the wall. That’s just for Gold and Silver.”
“The all time best cake I’ve ever made was my Edward Scissorhands creation.
“When you clap both of the hands move on it. It was edible apart from the mechanical moving bits obviously.
“A few years before Edward Scissorhands I made a Freddie Kruger cake which had moving parts too.
“I entered that into the Cake International competition and it was the first cake ever entered that moved.
“But the most complicated was a carousel cake I made for a customer.
“It had 21 unicorns and a model of his wife on it and the whole thing spun around just like a real carousel.”
Robert said the basic cakes that he makes and sells from his new shop in Huddersfield, West Yorks., start at £40.
But for those after a taste for the unique, and Edward Scissorhands style creation will set you back £800.
Robert said: “The good thing about doing cakes is that there’s always something new week in week out. You never know what someone is going to ask for and you can really let your imagination run wild.
“With the competitions you just have to keep coming up with unique ideas because the level of competition is so high. You have to make yourself stand out.
“We’re opening the new shop today (Sat) in Huddersfield. But before this I took over a shop in Osset for two years and made it my own.
“My girlfriend helps out as an assistant. She’s a big help and is really creative so can do her own things too.
“For the competition cakes I try to sketch them out and work from a blueprint, but I find once I get into it the plans quickly go out of the window.
“Luckily I can hide my own mistakes but I’m definitely my own worst critics. People look at them as if they’re perfect but I know where the mistakes are.
“The shop I had before this one didn’t have a kitchen area, so I ended up doing the baking at home in a normal oven.
“That’s what I’m most excited about with my new shop. It has potential to build a kitchen area, so I’ll be able to do my work at work for once.”