This week at Macquarie Island: 6 September 2019

A masterpiece is created at Macca

Cake for a cause

What happens when you put two enthusiastic Rangers, lots of flour, butter and sugar and a great cause* together? Apart from a fantastically epic mess?

An elephant seal beachmaster cake!

As the Chef on station it is my job to help facilitate these ideas (some of them) and help guide them to fruition. This includes providing recipes, ingredients and knowledge (e.g. how to turn mixer on!) that will hopefully make the masterpiece creation a success, without trying to impede too much. It was a fun process to be a part of and although nail biting at times (and wondering where the flour and icing sugar came from), it all came together.

The result was an elephant seal cake replicating an almost life size beachmaster head. Well done to the Rangers (apprentice bakers) and watch out Zumbo!

 *The Cause: Sunday, 7 September is National Threatened Species Day. To help raise awareness for the cause, a yearly bake off is held by the Threatened Species Commissioner. Entries arrive from all over Australia exhibiting Australia’s unique and remarkable wildlife.

Our eager Rangers thought that they would like to submit an entry to showcase a local threatened species — the Southern elephant seal (Mirounga leonina).

'Southern elephant seals are a threatened species that are protected under Tasmanian and Australian legislation. The Macquarie Island population is a significant portion of the global population. Dominant bull seals (beachmasters) are currently hauling out onto the island’s beaches in preparation for a busy breeding season. Annual monitoring has shown the island population is experiencing a slow decline. The #TSbakeoff coincides with the beginning of the annual elephant seal census on Macca’.  Andrea and Stella (Rangers)

It is now time to walk the shores and wait for the first of the pups to be born under the watchful eyes of the beachmasters. Anyone for cake?

To find out more, visit and vote for your favourite entry in the People’s Choice Award.

Kerryn (Chef)

Two women have a layered cake in front of them and are looking at photos of elephant seals
How do we get that from this?
(Photo: Mark Grainger)
Three women are standing around a cake rolling and shaping dough into an elephant seal head
Like this!
(Photo: Mark Grainger)
Three women crouch around a cake in the shape of an elephant seal
Taking shape and colour
(Photo: Mark Grainger)
Two women hold an elephant seal cake outside with the station and an elephant seal in the background
Rangers Andrea and Stella holding the masterpiece with Macquarie Island research station and an elephant seal in the background
(Photo: Mark Baker)
An elephant seal cake sits on top of a tussock outside with a beach in the background
The finished elephant seal cake at home in the tussocks
(Photo: Mark Baker)