A replica of Madame Bovary’s ‘extravagant’ wedding cake has been unveiled at the Cake Shop in Oxford’s Covered Market this week, November 15.

This ‘unusual’ project was created by The Cake Shop in partnership with Professor Jennifer Yee, of the French Sub-Faculty at Oxford University.

This event marked the bicentenary of the French classical writer Gustave Flaubert’s birth, author of the Madame Bovary novel.

Read more: Covered Market jewellers has been open 75 years!

Oxford Mail: Madame Bovary's wedding cake

Deputy Lord Mayor, Steve Goddard, opened the event, attended also by Oxford University students and the Oxford branch of the Alliance française.

Professor Yee was awarded a TORCH Humanities micro-fund grant for this project.

Oxford Mail: Lucy Winter - cake decorator

She said: “[This project] is timely because of the Flaubert bicentenary but also because, coming out of this grim period of lockdown, I think we all have a lot to gain from literature, including – perhaps particularly – from its surprising and humorous side.

“There is a very serious aspect to this project, which relates to work I am doing on material objects and the visual arts in literary texts, but creating a real cake is certainly not a standard research ‘output’ and I am extremely grateful to the Humanities Cultural Programme for having welcomed such a quirky and unusual project.”

Oxford Mail: Professor Jennifer Yee with Madame Bovary's cake

Emma Bovary's romantic aspirations and aesthetics being tempered by harsh reality is a central theme of the novel.

With no images of the cake, the “famously elaborate, ridiculous and overly romantic wedding cake” was created based on the original literary depictions in Flaubert’s novel.

The finished cake will be on display in The Cake Shop’s window until December 3.

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