Gina Rouchy’s Croft Manor Christmas Cake

December 01, 2016 Kate Sykes 1 Comments

Croft Manor Christmas Cake by Gina Rouchy.

It's the 1st of December and to get into the festive spirit, we have a special guest article by Jaden Morretti - formally the owner of the Guns and Grapple fansite and also the lovely lady who set up this site!
In this exclusive interview with Gina Rouchy, she explores the art of making these wonderful Crofty cakes and the inspiration behind them.

With the year creeping ever closer to the end, we enter my favourite month of all. Admittedly I view winter with romanticism, the same way people look at old books with that old paper scent or being next to a crackling fire. For me a huge part of why I love winter is because of Christmas. Christmas has always been my favourite time of year.  There’s something quite electric about the atmosphere and as it’s a time of giving, it reveals a capacity and depth of humanity and compassion. I like that! 

While there’s a lot to like about the season, something I especially enjoy is Christmas food. The occasion brings things like roast dinners, mince pies, but the meals become more of a family gathering. It can also mean a blend of cultures and traditions. I love festive treats, which is probably why I fell in love with a Croft Manor Christmas cake on deviantArt.

The creative mind behind the wonderful Croft Manor cake is Gina Rouchy, a Tomb Raider fan living in the UK. Over the past five years, she’s been sharing her baking talent through her deviantArt page, along with incredibly detailed sketches and beautifully framed photographs.  

Her passion and perseverance for art started at a young age. During Gina’s schooldays, her teacher’s attitude made her doubt her work. It later came as a shock to realize that what was interpreted as harsh criticism was actually appreciation for her skill: it was recommended that one day a week she could study for an art degree. Yet it wasn’t until she was twenty-eight that she started baking cakes, initially making them for her children’s birthdays.

“I became interested in making cakes after I started having children. I made them birthday cakes, which started out not very good, but persistence and practice has paid off. Their request became more of a challenge every year so I overcame a lot of problems in cake making to achieve the end result.“ She dedicates her deviantArt page to her five children, citing them as her inspiration for each project. She also cites her husband of twenty-three years, Danny, as being her motivation.

A long-time Tomb Raider fan in a geek household, one of Gina’s first uploads was a Lara Croft-inspired cake featuring a portrait of the heroine. “I first became interested in Tomb Raider back in 1998 when my husband played TR3. We'd never seen Lara Croft until then, but we all became hooked with the original games.” The sponge cake was created for her son’s (Joshua’s) birthday and featured the character’s classic “Bomber Jacket” look in sugarcraft sculpting.

Gina's first Lara Croft cake.

Lara Krabs cake by Gina Rouchy.
While Gina explores and experiments with other topics and designs, she often returns to the Croft theme. Soon after, she created an unusual crossover, Mr. Krabs and Tomb Raider, for her daughter’s 13th. The 32cm tall vanilla sponge cake featured Mr. Krabs in Lara Croft cosplay, surrounded by fondant icing relics found in the games. Her most recent one takes inspiration from Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris and the statue included in the special edition boxset. Created for her daughter’s 20th birthday, a “chibi” Lara Croft made out of fondant icing stands on top of a chocolate sponge cake.

All of her creations have been incredible, but her craziest project was recreating a 3D Croft Manor using fruitcake, marzipan and fondant icing. In our interview she spoke about wanting to tackle the challenge for a while: “I have always wanted to make a Croft Manor cake, but I waited until I thought my skill level would be good enough.” Originally intending to make a normal gingerbread house, Gina moved to redesigning Lara’s home after an unsuccessful hunt for templates for her previous goal. 

The manor consists of an 11” fruit cake which has been halved and stacked. The building was covered in marzipan and topped with fondant icing which allowed her to make intricate detail. “The most challenging part of the cake was mapping out the shape of the house and the brickwork. I found a reference online for the house shape, but would have been able to be more accurate with better references. The brick work was hand imprinted with a I found cake shops [which] sell brick work imprinters, so that would be a great help for next time.”

Gina's Temple of Osiris inpired cake.

Working with fondant brings a unique selection of challenges, especially if there are several layers to the design, as was the case with Croft Manor. Despite the number of things which could have gone wrong with the baking and constructing, Gina was on top of everything: “the cake went pretty much to plan, as I worked out in my head what I needed to do. The main problem I had was time... [the] lack of it, and damp air from it being winter made drying fondant a bit of a problem.”

The complete Croft Manor Christmas cake took about a week to construct, with three to four hours being spent on it each day. Deconstructing it took a little longer due to its size, lasting several weeks! The joy in the project came from creating a perfect replica of Lara’s house, and the family’s reception. “The kids were really excited and happy about it, which was the best thing of it all.”

Constructing the Croft Manor Christmas cake.

For those who want to try their own Tomb Raider-inspired bake this Christmas, Gina has a few tips for getting started: “For people who want to get into cake-making, I would highly recommend books by Debbie Brown which is how I learned. Also dA is brilliant for talking to other self taught cakers who are only too pleased to help.“

A huge thank you to Gina for the permission to post pictures and for the interview! You can follow her adventures on her deviantArt page at

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1 comment:

  1. Those cakes are awesome! Although -blush- I did initially read the title of this piece as "Gina's Raunchy Croft Manor Christmas Cake." -blush- But it is a seriously great cake. Though I do wonder if you cut into it you'd find a tiny Winston trapped in the freezer . . .