387 hours for the icing alone: Derbyshire village recreated in cake

When keen cake-maker Lynn Nolan was asked for an idea to help raise funds for the local church roof, she knew exactly what to say

A village in the Peak District has been recreated in quite the most extraordinary cake we think we’ve ever seen.

‘Cakes’ rather than cake, actually, because several dozen were needed to put together this recreation of Youlgrave in Derbyshire, which is being auctioned off next Thursday 15th December.

Youlgrave recreated in cake by Lynn Nolan

Lynn Nolan, a retired florist, was asked way back in May if she had any ideas to help raise the £250,000 needed to fix the roof of All Saints Church in Youlgrave.

One thing sprang to mind. A few years ago while living in Scotland, Lynn had made a small village from cake – one that included a few cheeky touches, including this builder showing off, ahem, a spot of cleavage:

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Youlgrave recreated in cake by Lynn Nolan

Lynn suggested she could do the same but on a much bigger scale.

The good people of Youlgrave jumped at the idea – no wonder, considering that Lynn had recently finished a wedding cake recreation of Beatrix Potter’s Hilltop Farm. That had caused such a stir that people had come from far and wide to see it. “It was like Lourdes,” chuckles Lynn. “There was a steady stream of people coming along the street, arriving at the door and saying ‘We’ve come to see the cake’.”

Beatrix Potter's Hilltop Farm in cake

The village was mobilised within days. For starters they scrounged around for ingredients, rustling up eggs, flour and butter to help Lynn out with everything she needed. In fact, she’d often come downstairs in the morning to find something had been left on the doorstep to help her out.

Even the baking was a collective effort: Lynn made batches of cake mix and handed them out for people to put in the oven while they were doing their Sunday lunches.

And there were even a few volunteers who helped out with mixing and colouring the icing, though it was Lynn herself who applied it.

That final step alone, turning the marzipan-covered cakes into buildings, took her 387 hours!

Youlgrave recreated in cake by Lynn Nolan

The level of detail is quite incredible. Take the local shop, for example:

Youlgrave recreated in cake by Lynn Nolan

As you can see, all the fruit and veg have been lovingly recreated – and there are even miniatures cakes!

Youlgrave recreated in cake by Lynn Nolan

And the inside of the local pub, The George, hasn’t been neglected either: there are tiny glasses on the bar (made from gelatin), while the plates that decorate the walls of the real pub have been made from buttons.

Here’s the recreation of the pub…

Youlgrave recreated in cake by Lynn Nolan

…and here it is in real life:

Youlgrave recreated in cake by Lynn Nolan

As you can see there are little electric lights in the windows of the village – you can find out more here about how that little trick was carried out.

Youlgrave recreated in cake by Lynn Nolan

All that leaves just one question: can you eat it?

The answer is an emphatic yes. Lynn preserved the cakes by steeping them in alcohol – specifically, whisky – and they will last years.

That’s probably a good thing: Lynn adds that the wedding cake Hilltop Farm hasn’t been touched yet by the happy couple. They are using it as a bedside lamp…

If you’d like to see the cakes for yourself, they are on display at the church itself ahead of the auction, which will take place at the Reading Room, next door to The George.

It’s all in a great cause, then – to make sure that All Saints is still around in years to come for future generations to enjoy… and perhaps even to recreate in cake for themselves.

Youlgrave recreated in cake by Lynn Nolan


Youlgrave recreated in cake by Lynn Nolan