Troy baker takes the cake in ‘Batman v Superman’

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published March 29, 2016

 Sarah and Bill Williams transported this cake, constructed of Styrofoam and 44 1/2 pounds of fondant, 2 pounds of royal icing, 6 pounds of gum paste and 25 pounds of buttercream frosting to the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum on the campus of Michigan State University, where a party scene in the movie “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” featuring the cake and Sarah Williams was shot.

Sarah and Bill Williams transported this cake, constructed of Styrofoam and 44 1/2 pounds of fondant, 2 pounds of royal icing, 6 pounds of gum paste and 25 pounds of buttercream frosting to the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum on the campus of Michigan State University, where a party scene in the movie “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” featuring the cake and Sarah Williams was shot.

Photo by Donna Dalziel

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Sarah and Bill Williams lined up a sitter for their children, Aurora, 6, and Brayden, 8, on March 24 to go to the movies to see “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”

Their date night was a bit different from other couples in the theater, though.

Sarah Williams and a cake she created were in a scene in the movie.

“It was so awesome to see my cake on the big screen,” she said.

Sarah and Bill own and operate Cakes by Sarah, which is run out of their Troy home. Sarah Williams taught French in the Holly Area School District before their children were born. When she quit, she took cake-decorating classes through the International Cake Exploration Society, Michigan Chapter, then later taught cake decorating at a Michaels store in Rochester Hills.

“My mother taught me how to bake,” she said. “Flavor is important.”

But she wanted to take it a step further and create artistic, one-of-a-kind cakes.

She develops her own cake recipes and donates the leftover cakes to Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan.

She asks her husband to provide detailed critiques of each recipe, including texture, flavor, feel and aftertaste.

She went through 30 recipes before she was satisfied with her recipe for chocolate cake.

“I’m having so much fun with this,” she said.

One of her cake-decorating students was in the crew for the movie that was shooting in Michigan. The movie props master needed a cake to depict the Metropolis Public Library featured in a party scene and wondered if Sarah’s student knew anyone.

She suggested her teacher, and Sarah Williams got the specs and bid for the project, and her bid won — reportedly over a pastry chef with a national reputation.

“We priced the cake exactly as we should have,” Bill Williams said, although they were not at liberty to say how much. He noted the bid was the same as the well-known pastry chef, and being local gave them the edge because, at that time, studios got additional tax breaks for using Michigan companies.

The cake shown in the film is made of a Styrofoam interior. The outer layer is edible frosting and sugar. They finished it 18 months ago.

Sarah Williams constructed molds for the cake, so the whole base could be replaced with edible cake if necessary. The top of the cake features sharp lines and is based on the Parthenon of ancient Greece, complete with columns, friezes, pediments, steps and griffins. Part of it is three-dimensional. It took her 100 hours to make, working after she put her children to bed at night. She often worked until 4 a.m., and she made doubles of every component.

She applied the frosting to the Styrofoam with a spatula as if it were actual cake, used 44 1/2 pounds of fondant, 2 pounds of royal icing, 6 pounds of gum paste and 25 pounds of buttercream frosting.

Then they loaded the prop cake into the family Town & Country van to take to the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing, where the party scene featuring the cake and Sarah Williams was shot.

The cake and Sarah Williams are in the big party scene near the beginning of the movie, in which villan Lex Luther introduces Clark Kent to Bruce Wayne (aka Superman and Batman, respectively).

“I’m pushing the cake (on a cart),” she said, adding that many of the movie extras said they were glad she was in the scene so they could easily point out themselves in relation to her and the cake.

“Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Ben Affleck looked at the cake and said, ‘This is awesome,’” said Bill Williams. “They treated it like a work of art (on set.) When it was lunchtime, they had somebody sit and watch over it.”

They shot the scenes over two nights, from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Oct. 12-13, 2014.

“We waited until 10:30 a.m., when traffic cleared, and drove it up ourselves,” Bill Williams said. “We figured something would shift, but everything stayed in place. When we drove it up for final review before shooting to the studio on South Boulevard and Opdyke, there was more damage.”

“We (he and a prop man) had to lift it over the cobblestones to the Broad Museum,” Bill Williams said.

The studio, Warner Bros., wanted them to let the studio transport the cake to California, but the Williamses convinced the studio that the cake would never withstand the trip.

“We stored it in my mother’s basement in two boxes wrapped in Saran Wrap and heavy plastic over that,” Sarah Williams said.

She plans to store it in the showroom of her business, if she expands to a storefront.

For information about Cakes by Sarah, visit www.bysarahwilliams.com.

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