NUDGE: Decorate a Cake

My 2010 cake. Mmm, wonder what this year's will look like?

I gave myself a few days’ blogging break because of Easter and my birthday (yesterday) coming so close together. Also because of how close these celebrations fell, we’re postponing cake and the largest gifts until Saturday evening for a little breathing room between festivities and sweets. (Naturally, my mom and my sister violated this by giving me gifts yesterday anyhow, and Mom even had a Michael’s gift card for me this morning.)

I never mind spreading out the birthday fun. I prefer expanding the celebration leading up to the big day, but this is fine, too. I still have something to look forward to. Including the cake.

We didn’t have decorated cakes very often when I was a kid—the bakery kind with the colorful flowers and extra sugary frosting. If we had them, it was usually because Grandma Mary had one for one honoree or another, but they weren’t constant. In fact, I think we had them for First Communions more than anything. When I was older I usually requested cupcakes, white with chocolate frosting, or brownies; Mom’s were delicious in both instances. I wasn’t concerned with full cakes, especially since I hate having lit candles on top; the melted wax in the frosting always spoils my appetite.

By adulthood, though, I really developed a thing for decorated bakery cakes. It didn’t hurt that we had a superb bakery in the neighborhood that did fine European pastries and won prizes for their cake decorating. Now, Servatii cakes have become standard for our birthdays, except for Mom; she insists on my sister’s prizewinning white velvet cake with caramel frosting.

As I’ve grown older and my stomach problems have increased, not to mention my intolerance for rich, sweet things, I don’t dive into my decorated birthday cake the way I used to. But the sight of such a cake, especially when it’s crowned with a bounty of flowers, still makes my heart beat faster. Can’t wait to see the one I get on Saturday!

Prompt: Since it’s still National Poetry Month, celebrate your favorite poet with a literary cake. That is, pretend you’re decorating a birthday cake for your favorite poet. You don’t have to research what the poet liked in the way of cake flavors. Use your imagination. Make the decorations appropriate to the given poet. Work elements of the poet’s verses into the decorations. For instance, for an old-fashioned poet, the writing on the cake could be  in an antiquated script, wreathed in flowers that appeared in some of the poet’s best-known works. For, say, a raw contemporary poet such as Charles Bukowski, the filling could be booze-flavored, with things like broken glass and cigarette butts baked into the cake for people to find.

If you’re not into poetry enough to choose a poet, pick a familiar celebrity, such as a rock star, television regular, or politician. Again, make the cake, frosting, and decorations appropriate for and symbolic of the personality you’ve chosen to honor with your decorated work of art.

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