You may or may not have caught a glimpse of Brown’s 250th anniversary cake/monstrosity last week. Without my glasses, I could behold only a blurry, brown structure before the equally-out-of-focus podiums and rainbow flags flying high on the 3rd floor of Faunce (bravo, kids). Amidst hangry students struggling to appreciate synchronized slam poetry, I could take the time to imagine what our culinary masterpiece looked like. It wasn’t just a replica of University Hall. It was a Cake Boss rival. It was the real Ace of Cakes. It was our very own sculpted dessert straight from a bona fide bakery, Oakleaf Cakes.
My imagination didn’t have to run too far, for Brown really did take the cake. After I
made it tore my way through the crowd and tried the not-so-delectable treat, I researched its competition. Here are the cakes Brown surpasses (and a few we didn’t quite beat). Sorry I couldn’t sugarcoat it for you.
Unseating the Incumbent
At 650 pounds, Brown’s University Hall outweighed Obama’s inaugural 500-pound cheesecake created by Chicago-based Eli’s Cheesecake Company. The three-tiered Democratic dessert featured a replica of the Capitol Dome topped with a gold Statue of Freedom. But the part-chocolate chip, part-original plain cheesecake, crafted from 155 pounds of cream cheese, 50 pounds of butter, and 20 dozen eggs, among other gargantuan amounts of ingredients couldn’t hold a smoking candle to Oakleaf’s masterwork.
The second inaugural cake made by Charm City Cakes (of Ace of Cakes fame) for the Commander-in-Chief Ball doesn’t even come close to Brown’s cake prowess. At a measly 3-4 feet to our 5 feet, the six-tiered (that’s right, six tiers couldn’t top us) red velvet, lemon poppy seed, pineapple coconut, and pumpkin chocolate chip confection weighed in at a surprising 50 pounds.
Paxson for Prez 2016?
Honorable mention: Eli’s Cheesecake staff did drive the 500-pound cheesecake over 700 miles overnight from Chicago. Slow clap.
Keeping Up with the Clintons
Clearly, the Clintons go big or go home. They just didn’t go big enough. In 1997, former U.S. Secretary of State and Senator Hillary Clinton celebrated her 50th birthday with a 300-pound pumpkin spice cake. Though its six feet stand a foot above our five, all of the pumpkin spice in Chicago couldn’t pack on more than 300 pounds.
Like mother, like daughter, Chelsea Clinton’s wedding cake was a sizable nine tiers decorated with around 1,000 sugar flowers. But Clinton’s organic, gluten-free delight weighed an inferior 500 pounds.
Regardless, the Clintons know their way around a cake. If Hillary wins in 2016, prepare for pounds upon pounds of buttercream.
Even the ostentatious Trump couldn’t outdo Brown in its 250th year. Trump’s glorious (third) wedding cake may have been seven tiers and embellished with 3,000 sugar roses, but his Palm Beach baker put in only 200-pounds worth of expertise. What an apprentice.
The True Winners
Unfortunately, Brown still lags behind some Ivy competition. For Harvard’s 375th anniversary, Harvard alum and Boston restaurateur Joanne Chang ’91 created an 18 x 15 foot, 2,000-pound letter H. Here’s a lil’ diagram for you.
And Brown really dropped the butter ball by not hiring our own alum Patrick De’Sean “Raven” Dennis III, better known as Cake Man Raven, who now works out of Brooklyn. Not only did Cake Man Raven first popularize red velvet in New York City, but he also crafted a 13-foot, 3.5 ton (7,000 pounds) red velvet replica of Columbia’s Low Library for the university’s 250th.
While we’re busy keeping up with the nation’s leaders, our Ivy League peers have clearly pulled ahead. Bittersweet.