Laila Gohar Unveils a 200-Inch Cake

Laila Gohar isn’t afraid of a challenge. The artist and co-founder of tableware brand Gohar World is internationally renowned for her edible creations, which often test the limits of food and stretch our understanding of what should live in artistic spaces. For this reason, it’s no wonder fellow creatives turn to her when they want an event to do what her food does best: bring people together.

So as The Glenlivet’s 200th anniversary drew near, the brand’s team knew the perfect person to help mark the occasion for the single-malt scotch whisky. Gohar’s vision? To create a 200-inch-long cake to coincide with the two-century milestone. That’s over 16 feet—a task that might seem daunting to many bakers, but less so for someone who’s made a mountain of marshmallows for Tiffany & Co. and a tree of seafood for Ganni.

a person arranging fruit on a cake

The Glenlivet/Laila Gohar

The result was a sumptuous sage-green cake that stretched like a highway across a series of tables at the Elizabeth Street Garden in NoLIta. The smooth white top was decorated with fruit toppings that shone like jelly beans, and the sides were adorned with strings of icing that looked like streamers, while clouds of white frosting lined the bottom edge. As part of the collab, along with peaches and apricots, Gohar incorporated The Glenlivet Fusion Cask—an innovative new single-malt scotch finished in casks made from rum and bourbon barrels—into the cake’s filling.

a close up of some cake

The Glenlivet/Laila Gohar

Ever the fashionista, Gohar was seen putting the final touches on the masterpiece in an outfit that would make style nerds swoon. Sans apron, she sported a baby-pink dress from Simone Rocha, a pair of Tabis, and a silver cuff bracelet, and managed to get not a single spot on her outfit.

After dinner at Altro Paradiso in SoHo, guests made their way down Spring Street to the community garden, where the cake was cut and more glasses were poured. It was an evening of celebration—of great food, great liquor, and great art.

Before the summertime soirée, we chatted with Gohar to ask about the process behind making such a colossal cake. In our discussion below, she shares her tips for prospective bakers, reveals what gives her inspiration, and teases what the future holds for her work and Gohar World.

a person holding a glass of scotch

The Glenlivet/Laila Gohar


You’ve long experimented with scale and structure through your career as an artist. Why is it important for you not just to make great food, but also to have fun with it?

I really enjoy pushing the boundaries of what I’ve done before. I constantly imagine new ideas and really enjoy seeing them come to life.

Tell us about the cake you’re making for The Glenlivet’s 200th anniversary celebration. What inspired it?

When The Glenlivet approached me with the brief to create something special to honor their 200th anniversary, I was drawn to this idea of a massive cake, which we made 200 inches long as a nod to the milestone.

As for the flavor of the cake, I was inspired by their newest expression, The Glenlivet Fusion Cask. I incorporated Fusion Cask into the jam in the cake, as well as peaches and apricots to complement the tasting notes.

In terms of the location, I’ve always loved Elizabeth Street Garden—it’s right around the corner from my old apartment—and I thought it would be the perfect setting to unveil this creation.

How do you prefer to drink The Glenlivet? Especially for a celebration?

When it comes to cocktails, I like to keep it simple and tend to stick to the classics. I’m a fan of an old-fashioned, but also love The Glenlivet Fusion Cask on its own in a neat pour at the end of a dinner with friends.

What are your must-have tools and ingredients when baking a 200-inch cake?

Courage. Cooking with scale comes with its challenges.

cake cutting event

The Glenlivet/Laila Gohar

What are the overall kitchen items you can’t live or entertain without?

It’s not a kitchen item, but more of an attitude. Humor, lightheartedness, and being able to problem-solve is all-important in the kitchen. No tool or kitchen item necessary—it’s really about the people.

When you’re in need of inspiration in the kitchen, where do you turn to? Who or what fuels you creatively?

Everyday moments. The seasons. I get inspiration from all sorts of things. Some are even mundane.

Do you have a uniform for when you’re working in the kitchen? What’s the key to crafting a cake while sporting Simone Rocha?

I love Simone’s clothes because she is a good friend, but [also because] they are so beautiful and comfortable all at once—I don’t have to compromise on anything. I’ve been enjoying her new studded Crocs, which really are perfect kitchen attire. You’ll also likely catch me in a Gohar World apron. We’ve just released our new version in opaline for summer.

A lot of people can be scared of baking, because of how precise you need to be. What’s your advice to anyone who wants to conquer making baked goods?

Rome wasn’t built in a day—practice makes perfect.

Gohar World has existed for four years now! How do you want to keep growing it in the years to come?

We’ve built a really strong Gohar World community, with a newsletter, regular Instagram and text updates, and series of global events and nomadic shops from Milan to Seoul. It’s also been fun to work with brand collaborators like The Glenlivet, like we’ve done with the limited-edition 200th [anniversary] celebration candles.

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Headshot of Joel Calfee

Joel is the editorial and social media assistant for HarpersBAZAAR.com, where he covers all things celebrity news. When he steps away from the keyboard, you can likely find him singing off-key at concerts, scavenging thrift stores for loud wardrobe staples, or perusing bookstores for the next great gay romance novel.