Ipso Fatto Instant Photos: Mary's Goodbye Cake

My beloved boss Mary recently left our agency. I can't tell you how devastating this was for folks in our office; Mary is not only a skilled lawyer but also an incredibly gifted manager. I have never seen so many people crying at my office as when we commiserated about her departure. But I was determined to make Mary a special going away cake.

Mary is a big NASCAR fan, so her going away party had a NASCAR (or in a play on the name of our division, a DAPCAR) theme. I commissioned an artist to create a digital portrait of Mary in a racing suit and wearing a wreath of flowers inspired by the wreath given to the winner of the Indy 500 (yes, I realize that there is a difference between NASCAR and IndyCar, but I was taking some artistic license here). I had the portrait printed out on an edible image and used it to decorate the top of the cake. Unfortunately, the printer at the cake supply store was a bit streaky, which is why the black circle in the background of the portrait looks like it has a couple of horizontal greenish stripes running through it.
I wanted to keep the rest of the cake design pretty simple, so I made some edible lace (that I dyed yellow) to cover the sides and come up over the top of the cake. This was a cake design that required zero artistic ability (on my part, anyway -- the artist did an amazing job with the portrait!), but yet produced a lot of visual bang for relatively little effort.
The cake itself was two layers of white butter cake, filled and frosted with mousseline (that I flavored with pink grapefruit liqueur), covered in homemade rolled fondant. I made some other desserts for the party, so I kept the cake small and it was only a quarter sheet-size. I was delighted with the way the came out it. It's difficult for me to articulate how much I have valued working with Mary since I joined my agency more than 16 years ago, but this cake is a tangible expression of my gratitude.

Recipes: "Base Formula for White Butter Cake," "Mousseline Buttercream," and "Classic Rolled Fondant" from The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum.


Grigsby said…
I love it! And the artwork is amazing. Yes, Mary will be greatly missed. She's the best.