There are cakes and then there are CAKES…

OK, so everyone seemed to like the chocolate mousse cake I made for my mom’s 90th birthday. Comments were along the lines of “You made this? I thought it was store-bought.” which I have yet to decide is a compliment or not.

As coincidence would have it, an old friend sent me an e-mail today telling me her sister, Nancy (a youngest of five), had won the $1000 first prize in Pittsburgh’s Ultimate Black & Gold Birthday Cake Challenge with this beauty featuring famous Pittsburghers past and present (photo by Aimee Obidzinski). Way to go, Nancy! I wish I could see every little face and read every little placecard.

Now, would you ever CUT a cake this cute? Don’t know that I could, so it’s lucky I only make cakes people are all too willing to sacrifice.

I want to have a good body, but not as much as I want dessert.
                                                                      ~ Jason Love


  1. Betty said,

    Sunday, October 26, 2008 at 11:56 am

    That is so cute. It took me a moment to see that those were cupcakes for chairs. Very clever.

  2. Nancy Denes said,

    Sunday, October 26, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    Christine, thank you so much for including me in your blog. What an honor. I had a great time at the contest. I’m proud to be from Pittsburgh!

    Take Care,

  3. WritingbyEar said,

    Monday, October 27, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    Nancy, my pleasure.
    Betty, your cakes are incredible! Thanks for commenting!

  4. Pittsburgh expat said,

    Saturday, January 3, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    I am just dying to know the names of the famous Pittsburghers sitting around the festive table on Nancy Denes’ black and gold cake. I just now learned of it as the cake is featured in the January, 2009 issue of Relish, a free supplement to our weekly shopper’s guide.

  5. WritingbyEar said,

    Saturday, January 3, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    Hi Pittsburgh expat…I’ve forwarded your comment (with your e-mail address) to my friend and asked that she forward it on to her sister Nancy. Hopefully you’ll soon have an answer to the famous Pittsburghers!

  6. WritingbyEar said,

    Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    I wrote to Nancy Denes, asking her about the famous Pittsburghers on her cake. Here’s her response:

    The point behind my design was to include people that I think make or made an important contribution to our lovely city. Here is the list of Pittsburghers at the table:
    1. Fred Rogers
    2. Andrew Carnegie
    3. William Pitt
    4. Sophie Masloff
    5. Sonny Olander – a steel worker (my friend’s Dad who worked in a mill his whole life)
    6. Anna Gecy – an immigrant, ( my Mom’s mother) I sat her at the head of the table
    7. Joe Green
    8. Marty Griffin – KDKA talk show host
    9. Mario Lemieux
    10. Roberto Clemente
    11. Andy Warhol
    12. Michael Keaton ( I did him in his Batman costume)
    13. Donny Iris
    14. Jonas Salk
    15. Myron Cope – with a terrible towel
    16. Dan Marino
    17. Randy Pausch – CMU professor
    18. Patrice King Brown – KDKA TV
    19. Harold Betters – my Dad’s favorite jazz musician
    20. Ben Scheib – Isaly’s worker

    The guests dined on pierogies. My original design included many other Pgh. food such as Pirmanti sandwich, Iron City Beer, Clark Bars, Heinz ketchup, but time would not allow me to create these. I only had 3 1/2 hours to make the cake.

  7. Diane said,

    Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 8:46 am

    Dear Christine and friends,
    I’m very proud to tell you that Nancy Denes is my little sister! She brings so much joy to all of our family gatherings in contributing her outrageously creative cakes and other fun party ideas. It’s too bad that Disney or Mattel have never gotten a taste (often literal) of Nancy’s talent and originality! She sacrificed a surely much more profitable career in advertising or graphic arts for the sake of her children. Instead of pursuing the rat race, she decided to “settle” for a job decorating cakes, that offered her a more flexible, family-friendly schedule. Although the hours are often long and the pay short, Nancy continues to bring her very best to the table, whether her family’s or yours. Love ya, Nance! Di

  8. WritingbyEar said,

    Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Diane — you probably don’t remember me at all but Annie and I were fast friends in high school (and even stole…borrowed…some of your punk clothes to wear to a Halloween party my Sophomore year of college). Nancy was just a little kid then — it’s so cool to see what a lovely and talented woman she became (along with all her sisters, no doubt!) Thanks for commenting! I actually ran into Nancy and your dad at a restaurant last year — wonderful to see them both after so long.

  9. madison h. said,

    Friday, January 9, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    this cake isss soooo CUTE!!


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