a rainbow cake for sonnashine



My freshman year of college, I was assigned work study in the cafeteria. The first day I showed up in this room with fifty other students and they started calling out areas they needed help in. "The Grill. The Wok. The Pasta Station. The Bakery." And up my hand flew. So then five of us went to the bakery and they listed off other tasks, "Cookies. Bars. Cake Decorating." I was the last to pick and they said, "we'll put you on cake decorating."

It was awesome. I had a whole counter with every color imaginable. I had five gallon buckets of frosting all around me and a list each time I showed up of students who had a parent order them a birthday cake. There was every tip you could imagine for the piping. There was every color frosting in the world. It was like a little playground for me.

Only trouble was that I had no idea what I was doing. And those first cakes were horrendous. I had a great time making them, but my lesson was brief and the bags felt huge and I was awkward. My signature cake became one with confetti and big balloons because once the bag hit an air pocket and burst unplanned frosting all over my cake, I had no choice. Confetti and balloons covered all.

No one knew I was the cake decorator and I always thought that was a good thing. And no paying customer (the parents) ever saw the cake they paid for. Another good thing.


All this to say, I kept thinking about my days in the Gustavus bakery as I decorated this cake because this one, though it took time, was so easy to decorate. I used a large tip and made little imperfect circles, just going for texture and color. It's my favorite cake I've made. And has my head swimming with new ideas for the next one.

It took four recipes of Aunt Jan's cream cheese frosting. It took two white cake mixes to make the six layers. It took one day to make. It took seven minutes and thirteen six year olds to consume. And it was awesome.


I was planning on pastels on the inside, but wow that food gel is potent. I kept trying to use less and less but it wasn't meant to be. For the frosting I figured out how to just use a toothpick drop of color for each layer, and that gave me the pastels I was going for.

Sonna was my perfect client. She was thrilled and told her thirteen kindergarten friends, "Everyone has to close their eyes when my aunt cuts it, because there is a surprise inside! Ready. Close them!"

So Happy Birthday Sonna! We love you so much. You are the perfect colorful personality to have such a colorful rainbow cake.

6 comments:

Paige Lathrop said...

Oh Becca, I've never seen a cake so beautiful in all of my life!!! You are one talented lady with a very lucky niece! Can you travel to WI for Noah's birthday at the end of the month? All meals, lodging, and childcare included! ;)

hootenannie said...

This is incredible. I'm impressed by your skills - lucky Sonna!

elsak said...

Beautiful!

[not the] Best Blog Ever said...

Done: I'm hereby hiring you to create one of these beauties for my birthday in December. I will pay you handsomely.

:)

Becca Groves said...

Thanks Ladies! And Paige, I would give anything to get to see you and celebrate Noah's birthday. :)

And Beth, count me in. (And, I'll see you at your garage sale on Friday morning!!!)

Paige Lathrop said...

Oh Becca, we should MAKE that happen! Let's chat this summer and see if we can align our schedules somehow. Even a quick weekend visit would be wonderful!