Life outside the store
I was never much of a baker until the time came to plan my older son Kevin’s first birthday party. That’s when I decided I would make his cake myself, and in the process, I discovered a whole new “avenue of madness,” as my kids call it. The boys are now 20 and 15, and with all those birthdays in between — as well as other special occasions and cakes for other relatives and friends — I’m guessing I’ve made well over 100 theme cakes since that first, weak rendition of Big Bird. Some of my favorites have been re-creations of the opening scene from The Lion King, the Rugrats’ playground, a Precious Moments doll (for my mom’s 60th) and a massive stack of holiday presents for an after-school party. Each cake can take from four to 14 hours to make, and most often, the only place I can find that kind of time is overnight. Fortunately, I don’t need much sleep!
The whole process — coming up with an idea, figuring out how to construct it, making it especially tasty and not quitting till it meets my standard for perfection — is not that different to a typical workday for me. Seeing the immediate, tangible result, however, is actually a form of therapy. It is an outlet for my creativity that keeps me laser-focused on one project and that produces (almost) instant gratification.
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This story is from the February 2010 edition of INSTORE