Cake: often described as a best friend and a nemesis rolled into one. It can be the perfect accompaniment to any celebration, or become the sweetest temptation. Sometimes they’re there to eaten, other times they serve as more of a showpiece. However you look at it, the love for cake is universal, so much so that the 26th November serves as National Cake Day. To celebrate we’ve picked our top ten cake scenes from the world of cinema.
1. Matilda (1996)
It could be argued that this is perhaps one of the most iconic food scenes in cinematic history. Who can forget poor Bruce Bogtrotter, eating (or should that be inhaling) the gooiest chocolate cake at the mercy of ‘oh so lovely’ headmistress Mrs Trunchball. A punishment he received after stealing some of her cake supply, Bruce actually reverses the punishment, becoming a hero for eating the whole cake, making Mrs Trunchball look somewhat powerless next to him. This scene will either cause a longing (or nausea) for chocolate cake.
2. The Help (2011)
This is perhaps the best of example of a revenge cake. Usually cake should be reserved for happy and celebratory occasions but in this instance it’s perfectly acceptable to use a cake with a slightly different motive. Minny, after being fired as a maid for using the family’s lavatory during a thunderstorm, decides to give Miss Hilly, a rather obnoxious socialite, a taste of her own medicine. After delivering the cake to Miss Hilly, who devours it before asking why it can’t be shared, Minny in a wonderful fashion responds with the news that the cake includes her own faeces.
3. The Addams Family Values (1993)
Who can forget The Addams Family Values? And who can forget that cake? Referred to as the piece de résistance, it is a four-tiered masterpiece bought out in honour of Uncle Fester’s birthday looks nothing short of a scrumptious delight. That is until it’s remembered that this is the Addams family and nothing is ever quite as straightforward as it seems, in this instance the cake is already meant to have been cooked before someone hides in it, not afterwards.
4. 28 Days (2000)
This scene is the epitome of everything you never wanted to happen on your wedding day and particularly to your wedding cake. Triggering the start of her admission to rehab, Gwen (Sandra Bullock) is having the (drunken) time of her life at her sister’s wedding reception with an equally inebriated Jasper (Dominic West) spinning – a lot – around the dance floor. What everyone else can see happening but both of them fail to notice is the beautiful, elegant wedding cake just waiting for the inevitable to happen…
5. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Where The Addams Family went wrong, Singin’ in the Rain went right. This time there was indeed someone to jump, in a uniquely musical fashion, out of the cake and indeed surprise the audience. It’s not a scene that serves as a great metaphor or has a deep hidden meaning, instead this scene’s all about the aesthetics and pure audience entertainment.
6. Office Space (1999)
Now this scene is reminiscent of a small child being given the cake they’re so desperate to have and then being told they have to share it. Milton, an office employee who’d actually been laid off work years earlier but due to a payroll glitch was still there, looks devastated as he realises there’s no cake left for him. The scene evokes a wonderful blend of humour and sadness towards Milton – but mainly because the cake looks so damn tasty.
7. Calendar Girls (2003)
The combination of a Women’s Institute and a naked calendar can only mean one thing, there’s got to be cakes involved! The film is a wonderful example of using comedy to, quite literally cover, a more serious subject matter. And who can forget one of the most memorable scenes – whereby the sales of Chelsea buns increased dramatically afterwards – when Chris (Helen Mirren) remarks ‘Oh Lawrence we’re going to need some bigger buns’.
8. Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory (1973)
A slight stretch on the term cake but nevertheless, there couldn’t be a list of sweet tooth delights without mentioning Willy Wonka. Adapted from Roald Dahl’s book, the film captures the imagination of children and adults alike. It’s the kind of film whereby you want to be immersed in the surroundings, much like Mike TV. There are rather dark undertones to this children’s classic but with a well-meaning message – don’t get too greedy. The best scene to demonstrate the magic of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory is when young Augustus Gloop is unable to tear himself away from the delectable chocolate river.
9. Monty Python: The Meaning of Life (1983)
Much like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, this scene is not necessarily centred around an actual cake, rather an after dinner mint. It certainly rings true of the phrase ‘eyes bigger than your stomach’. Here the Monty Python team, in true hilarious fashion, show what happens when one pushes to eat that very last sweet treat, with riotous consequences.
Some may see this as a completely obvious choice, given the title; others may see it as strange choice given the subject matter of the film – a mother struggling through the pitfalls of a chronic illness. However it’s arguable that when Jennifer Aniston’s Claire finally bakes a cake, it serves to be the most poignant scene of the film.