Structural engineer reveals exactly why Jacinda Ardern's birthday cake failed

An engineer has explained exactly why Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's birthday cake for her daughter failed - and he says it wasn't her baking to blame.

On Sunday the Prime Minister posted a photo of herself smiling next to the piano cake and revealed while it looked great, there was a lack of "structural integrity" - meaning it had to be propped up with a hidden jar of lentils.

Alex Vink, a structural engineer with Tonkin and Taylor, analysed Ardern's slightly wonky piano cake and revealed the issue lies in the shape of the cake - not the quality. His expert analysis has even drawn praise from the Prime Minister herself. 

Vink used Clark Gayford's behind the scenes pictures of the cake's construction to pinpoint what went wrong.

"Stability failures occur when the cake has a centre of gravity too far away from its pivot point. In this case, the pivot point is roughly the middle of the cake's base," said Vink.

"The upper part of the cake was quite tall and was located far away from the centre of the base of the cake. When the top piece was placed on the base, the base may have sagged slightly under the weight of the large top piece. This sag could have resulted in the top piece tipping over and falling off the cake base due to its high centre of mass."

While the Prime Minister used a can of lentils to prop up her masterpiece, Vink says there was another way.

"Cake dowels, which are small plastic rods, could be used to hold the cake together but could be a choking hazard," he said.

But, with an eager toddler in the house, if cake rods weren't an option there was a more scientific option for Ardern.

"Alternatively, instead of having a horizontal join between the two pieces, a vertical join would be more stable."

According to Vink a fondant wrap could have also solved the issue but it may have created a new one - the fondant would have an "adverse effect on the taste and texture of the cake".

Luckily for Ardern, Tonkin and Taylor say it would be happy to provide free structural engineering advice to her for Neve's third birthday.

While the Prime Minister did not take up the company on it's offer she was grateful for the tips.

In a comment on the Instagram post Ardern said the advice was "the best thing I have seen on Instagram for a very long time.

"Thank you for the analysis!"