Saturday, May 7, 2011

Coca Cola Cake; small team, big corporation...

My team rocks it daily. I mean my team is good. I love my team. Can I show you the most recent reason why?

A few weeks ago we got a call from CHIK-FIL-A (!), asking if we would make a cake for them to present to COCA COLA(!) for Coke's 125th birthday celebration. Um, yes...yes we can.

The first thing I did (after jumping around the shop a little) was a couple of sketches. To cut to the chase, this is the one they chose.

Can you even believe I sent a sketch like this? But I did. And they liked it!

One of the most important things a team leader does is capitalize on the strengths of her team members. This is easy with the people I work with. I should tell you a little about them, because they are remarkable.
Heidi Peterson is ridiculous. Her ability to recreate anything she sees is uncanny. Spooky even. We call her "Heidi 3000" because she is a machine. She never traces off logos. She sits quietly and stares at them, and then the machine begins to reproduce it. Without stencils or anything. Just eyeballs and exactos. And not just logos. Anything. Amazing.
Joshua John Russell is my other team mate. Lots of people already know his strengths because he's like totally famous. I've spent hours looking at him through a camera, because wherever we go, i get asked to take the picture of him and some adoring fan. I've been on tv too, you know. Just sayin'.
His work is elegant and precise. and he can fill a cake and cover it in fondant perfection at an inhuman speed. He is known for his piping, and wedding cakes, but these days his sculpting skills are, as the kids say, mad. 

The design is a 3 foot tall coke bottle, that will hover over a tub of Coke bottles in ice. The big bottle will spin.

So in dividing up the labor, it's easy to place tasks with talent. Heidi will create a collection of Coke bottles from their archives, as well as make the logos for the tub and the big bottle. The small bottles will be solid chocolate, covered with fondant. She will hand paint them, and I'll hit a few with airbrush.

 Joshua will fill 30 full sheets of Coca Cola cake, carve it in to a tub, and cover it with both modeling chocolate and fondant. He will also make sugar ice. Lots and lots of sugar ice. He's also our pastrymatronics person on this job, a task he loves. Not really. But he hooks us up on this one, literally.

 I will cover the big Coke bottle (which is styrofoam) in fondant, and paint and airbrush it. I will also add a few details to the tub, like rivets and handles, as well as some airbrushing. I should add that the bottle didn't look this good when we got it, Heidi finessed it with some modeling chocolate until it looked faboo.

We put a few hours into this. Two full days, with a little overtime. But it went fast, because my team is fun, too. Loading this monster was a trick, though, as I'm pretty sure it weighed north of 250 lbs.

Upon arrival, we had a mad dash to assemble. We were throwing the "ice" in this thing, Heidi was placing the bottles, cutting off the bottoms to make them sit well. We threw a bunch of little lights into the ice, put the big bottle on top, and it was beautiful!

Please, Baby Jesus, keep this giant bottle of Coca Cola on this cake, and don't let it fall on anyone important, especially not the person writing the big fat check...

Dan Cathy presented the cake to Muhtar Kent, the CEO of Coca Cola on stage in front of an audience of 4,500, plus a simulcast audience of 80,000. After the presentation, I got to meet them both . Mr Kent insisted we not serve the cake, as he wanted it moved to another event that night. All in all, I think everyone involved was happy with the cake. I know I was. I was honored that Chik-Fil-A, and Coca Cola asked us to do this cake. And really, I have the most bad ass cake team in all of Cakelandia. 


  1. I'm so excited for your blog. Sometimes I wonder "How did she do that?" and you show the pictures of the process. Love it. Don't stop.

    Cheri Doolittle

  2. So interesting to see the behind the scenes of how you & your team make your fabulous cake! Very insightful!

  3. Thanks for sharing! I love hearing the behind the scenes stuff. Amazing work as always!

  4. That's awesome to see the folks behind the cake; I was watching the Chick-fil-a Leadership Conference and saw the cake presented to Muhtar Kent! Kudos!