Jenny wanted a birthday cake for her daughter’s 17th birthday, but didn’t have an idea of what kind of cake to have. The only pointer she gave me was that her daughter is a huge fan of Alicia Keys; and if there was any way this could be incorporated into the cake design, this would be wonderful for her daughter.
When I think of Alicia Keys, the piano springs to mind. Alicia Keys is a classically trained pianist and plays like a dream.
Initially we spoke about creating a photo cake with a picture of Alicia on the top, but to me that is just a tad boring and not very inspiring (basically, not very Delights by Cynthia). We then toyed with the idea of a cake surrounded by cupcakes, with images of Alicia Keys. I’m probably more inspired by words more than pictures (which is probably why I enjoy writing these blogposts).
The planning and preparation for each of my cakes usually involves a to-do list with some step-by-steps (don’t hate me for being so organised and a ‘completer finisher’). As I was planning to put the cake together, I still wasn’t convinced that a set of cupcakes and a plain cake in the middle, was exactly an Alicia Keys inspired cake, so I went back on the phone to Jenny to discuss the cake. “I need a lyric. What’s your daughter’s favourite line from an Alicia Keys song?” Jenny said she do some detective work (I love being in on surprises) and would get back to me.
So I had the cupcakes, the lyric, but the plain cake just seemed boring. I thought about creating a cake with a keyboard, but there was still something that I wasn’t happy with.
One afternoon, when I was ‘home alone’, fished out The Diary of Alicia Keys. Every song has great chord progressions and the piano is the strongest element of each song. The piano is prominent, not the keyboard, so it I had to incorporate a piano.
Every now and then my Cake Mojo gets tested and I’m encouraged to push a little bit further with my creativity. I had 12 hours to construct this cake, before it was due to be collected, plus I decided to take the risk of not discussing any of this with Jenny (‘The customer is always right’ suddenly went out of the window – I think I call it artistic licence) and decided to just go for it.
So here is the Alicia Keys Cake Set. A piano made of cake, surrounded by Alicia Keys cupcakes, with 17 candles and the favourite lyric from her daughter’s favourite Alicia Keys song.
Early Saturday morning, Jenny came to collect the cake for her daughter. I told Jenny that I had a confession to make about the cake design and I just hoped she would like it. Jenny loved the concept and was sure her daughter would love it too.
The best bit of what I do, is when people are bowled over with their cakes. When I make a cake that is so personalised, that the cake presented to them, could only be for them, and they know this…I’ve done my job and I’m delighted.