What 16-year-old girl wouldn’t want a life-sized birthday cake – all about her?
Chilliwack baker Christine Cutajar didn’t hold anything back when planning her daughter Cassie’s sweet 16 birthday cake.
For more than a year, Cutajar, worked on drawings and designs, she chose accents and necessary components, and figured out workarounds to bring it all together into one solid birthday cake.
The night before Cassie’s party, Cutajar’s shop looked like an episode of Ultimate Cake Off, minus the competitors. There were baking pans and spatulas, flour sacks and cake samples spread all across her counters. And on her cupboards were progressive two-dimensional drawings of the cake’s design.
“When you see this cake, you will know what kind of girl Cassie is,” said Cutajar, her arms covered in layers of dried icing.
Cassie is a girly girl who loves sports. She plays volleyball and competes in javelin, relay races, discus, and more. And when she’s not playing sports, she’s shopping, or dressing up in high heels, or listening to her iPod – all of which were featured on her birthday cake.
The three-tiered cake had four, large, fondant volleyballs, four fondant shopping bags from her favourite stores, and an ipod topper made from a 10-inch-by-7-inch Rice Krispie square.
The first tier had Cassie’s name in bold, the second had friends and family front and centre, and the third had ‘live, laugh, love’ posted on the front – Cassie’s favourite phrase.
The chosen colours were also her favourites – purple, black and silver – as were the flavours.
The first tier was a lime cake with toasted coconut butter cream icing, the second was a spice cake with cream cheese filling and the third was split, half orange cake with orange creamsicle mousse and half chocolate cake with chocolate mousse.
“This is completely Cassie’s cake,” said Cutajar. “Everything about it is her.”
Even the height.
“Cassie’s five feet tall, so I wanted to make the cake five feet tall, because what 16-year-old gets a five-foot-tall cake?” said Cutajar.
Making it wasn’t easy.
Cutajar has been baking professional cakes for 15 years. She teaches baking at Chilliwack secondary, and operates Christine’s Creative Cakes out of her home. She’s made wedding cakes, birthday cakes, themed cakes, hundreds of cupcakes. She’s made small cakes, medium cakes, large cakes.
But never has she attempted a cake this size.
“This is the biggest cake, the most elaborate cake, the most work I’ve ever done on a cake in my life,” said Cutajar.
And the night before the party, Cutajar was locked away in her shop for hours finishing it up. She was baking, mixing colours, icing the layers, adding accents, and figuring out extreme components, like how to make the iPod Rice Krispie square rotate at the top.
“When I’m making a cake, I usually don’t think about anything else; sometimes I don’t even eat,” she said. “I usually just turn the TV or music on and zone out.
“I was a terrible artist in school, I hated art, but you give me an icing bag and I’ll create.
“It’s a labour of love.”
Cassie’s cake was finally completed at 5 a.m. and when it was unveiled 15 hours later, tears filled Cutajar’s sleepy baker eyes.
For her daughter, every detail was worth it.