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Friday, January 29, 2010

Today At The Bakery ...

Tomorrow is my birthday and I'm excited. For the first time ever, I think, I've ordered my own cake. Now, I have plenty of friends, family, and co-workers who have provided cake and festivities in the past, but this year I decided to take charge.

From a small age, birthday cakes have always been a special thing in my family. My mother, who swapped art school for raising a family, could but the world's craftiest crafters to shame when it came to creating cakes. They weren't perfect ... they had flaws. But they also had a type of magic you can't find anywhere else.

One year in particular (I think I was turning seven), the cake-prep began at Christmas by saving wrapping paper, paper towel cores, popsicle sticks, and anything shiny that might be of use. That January, I had a rocket ship with shredded wrapping exhaust and extra tree bulb accents that we had to be careful didn't end up in the cake as it was served.

Another year, I was rewarded with a big top hat cake that had the strangest frosting-coated stuffed rabbit peering over the brim. That rabbit hung around for a few days but we were never able to get him cleaned up properly. The magic kit that I received as an accompanying gift stayed with me for years.

A few years ago, after me retelling some of my childhood cake stories, my secretary surprised me with something called a "ho-ho" cake which was this rolled chocolate/dark chocolate ganache extravaganza with chocolate shavings, edible gold trim, and little metallic accent pieces that looked like shooting fireworks. She was delighted at my reaction, but she also warned me not to expect something like it ever again. I think it was pricey, but it has to rank in the top five cakes ever created ... it was rich enough to cause a human heart to just stop with one bite!

So the bakery personnel are bringing my box out from the back. All four employees are coming to the counter to see my reaction. I designed it, but they worked hard at giving my idea life. There, in three separate boxes, are cakes sculpted like monkeys. One is covering its eyes, another its ears, and the third primate has its hands securely over its mouth. I love them. I snap a few pictures with my phone, and the owner asks if they can place a photo of my cake on their Web site. "Sure," I say. "We already did," she replies with a wink. I'm a frequent customer.

POINT OF RANT: If you ever "see" a cake like this, or "hear" about one, the idea was MINE!! And speak about my clever cake to everyone you meet ... nothing brings people together like cake. Or pie.

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