Fancy scoffing a bumhole decorated with anal warts washed down with a shot of warm "urine"? A deliciously repulsive cake shop is opening in the Pathology Museum at St Bart's hospital in London on Friday in which diseases from lung cancer to the plague are graphically represented in sugary forms.
The three-day Eat Your Heart Out 2012 event, curated by Miss Cakehead, aka Emma Thomas, a freelance creative who has never been able to bake but is fascinated by the medium of cake, also features shocking cocktails and lectures on everything from bowel cancer to the forensics of sex crimes.
According to Thomas, the reaction to pictures of the bloody ears and body tissue cupcakes, fungal toenail cookies and polycystic kidney cakes has been really polarised. "People say, 'Oh, that's amazing' or 'That's really gross, why would anyone eat that?'"
Eat Your Heart Out began when Thomas curated an 18+ cake shop in east London and saw how people were fascinated by creating and consuming anatomical cakes. This time, more than 20 cakemakers from students to professionals have contributed 53 designs for the event.
"Some of the cakes are making people retch," says Thomas, who admits that she had to scrape the "red blood cells" from a cupcake before she could try it.
The representation of diseased body parts in an edible sculptural form is peculiarly powerful and Thomas hopes the not-for-profit shop will raise awareness of disease. Anyone can buy the cakes, which range from £2.50 for a cupcake to £120 for a pair of diseased lungs that can serve 20 and £350 for an enormous skinless head. STI cakes, which feature symptoms including herpes and genital warts, can only be bought in a lucky dip, symbolising the dangers of unprotected sex with a stranger.
If that isn't inducing enough bile, you can always sip a Charred Remains, a cocktail featuring a crispy meat garnish, or the creamy Stool Sample with fudge pieces.Thomas's next mission is to create an edible autopsy, with an anatomically accurate body cake that can be served to the audience. "Whatever we do next," she vows, "will really push the limits of what people can stomach."
Eat Your Heart Out 2012, 26-28 October, St Bartholomew's Pathology Museum, London EC1