Monday, May 19, 2014

Graduation Book Cake

Do you remember that feeling of being 18 and knowing that your whole life is still ahead of you?  Your career is still to be determined, your love story still unwritten, your successes and failures and mistakes and triumphs still to be experienced.

What I love about this graduation cake is how personal it is.  Every element has so much meaning - the books she loves, the sports she's played, the tv shows she watches, the awards she's won, as well as all those little inside jokes that only her own family knows and understands.

When I was asked to make a graduation cake, I knew right away that this book cake would be my inspiration.  I love the way the books encircling the cake look, and thought they would be the perfect way to pay tribute to her experiences and accomplishments in her life so far, with the fondant replica of a building at MIT to represent her future college years there.  And while I love the look of old, ornate books, my vision for this cake design was one that was less ornate and a little more bright and modern for a young girl heading off to college.

It was 1996, and I was 17 when I graduated high school, a year younger than most of the other seniors, and completely unprepared for the years that lay ahead.  I still remember the day I left for college with such clarity - I was wearing my baggy ripped jeans (which I had ripped intentionally, of course) and an over-sized men's flannel shirt.  My favorite outfit at the time.  My hair was boyishly short, growing out from an untimely bad haircut.

I hugged Akasha, my white Persian cat, and tried not to cry, but couldn't stop the tears from flowing as I climbed into the pickup truck with my high school friends Sam and Troy and we drove away, leaving home behind.

That first semester of Freshman year I wore myself ragged, working almost 30 hours a week as a breakfast and lunch cook in the college cafeteria to pay for my college loans and then falling asleep in the library studying for courses I hated for a business administration major that I had no interest in.

When I came home for Christmas, I was sick and exhausted and couldn't face the thought of going back, so I took the next semester off to work and figure out what I wanted to study.  I decided on print journalism, but after a semester of that, switched yet again to Creative Writing with a minor in English Lit.  I was quite happy with my writing classes, but my college experience in general wasn't the happiest time in my life, and I was thrilled to graduate and put those years behind me.

I'm envious of those who know from a young age exactly what they want to do, want to be, what they're good at, what they love, what makes them feel fulfilled.  But the good news is, it's never too late, is it?  We can decide at any time to change the course of our lives and pursue what fills us with joy.

I made the books, trees and building from fondant, using edible markers for the detail and writing.

One Year AgoPretty Things, and a Chocolate Cherry Smoothie
Two Years AgoLemon Blackberry Muffins and the Picnic Bug
Three Years AgoChile Lime Salmon Tacos

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