A cake-devotee from way back, Poppycakes, on the eve of the anniversary of her birth, considers the various memories baked inside every cake.

Let's flash back: Salt Lake City Utah, before it was cool to be a deeply-smoky brunette with hair that curled to form the words: Not-Your-Disney-Princess, Princess.  So that what Poppycakes had for allies were Marlo Thomas circa That Girl (reruns by the time she was viewing) and the occasional sultry wicked witch or sidekick. Even the bakery was blonde-biased as the six year old PoppyC. fell into a swoon for a dollcake that was yellow-haired and baked square into the skirt of a yellow-cake with tiers of frosting ruffles and sugar flowers cascading down her gown. The young Poppy wanted nothing more than a dollcake for herself, one that, if at all possible, resembled her.  But the cakette in the sweet gown only came with golden hair and the still-aswoon Poppycakes was happy enough to have her.

Years passed, and the magic of girl baked into cake resolved itself into the realization that perhaps the girl was added later, and one day with thefirsttruelove of Poppycakes another dollcake was spotted and an attempt to order it as a surprise for her birthday failed as the supermarket (a now-erased market in dear Tuscaloosa) called to inform that the cake alas, only came in blonde-girl and thefirsttruelove of Poppycakes, a dark-haired prince himself, was crestfallen. Poppycakes, now privy to the plot, assured him that she was long-accostumed to the bakery-racism of fair-haired dollcakes and vowed, that a bundt pan and a thrift store *barbie  would remedy all of that.  *By barbie, we mean, Esmerelda, Jasmine or one of the ethnic modern dolls, the size and shape of the original Barbie.

More years passed and Poppycakes had occasions for many cakes, at least two of which involved dollcakes. One, for another day, involved her sister's babyshower and the other, pictured below, the publication of the book of her good friend, Lemoncakes and the acquisition of her own graduate degree.


Lemoncakes, a strawberry blonde proved an easy doll-find and her cake, made second a more graceful fit of bundt cake skirt with doll frosting glued in place. Her cake, a chocolate marble with chocolate icing and raspberry filling, was garnished with fresh raspberries and mint from the garden.


The cake of Poppy, was another matter, a layering of bundt cakes and seam that could never quite cover the attempt to learn the process on two cakes on the day of the party,  and it proved maddening.  The celebrating girl seemed to be sinking into an ant lion's hole of frosting quicksand. Further, the ever-mischievous Tootsiecakes, middle sister of Poppy and Babycakes, left the only existing picture with a salacious booby-poke. But we digress:


While the cake, a fragrant vanilla (loaded with vanilla bean and pure vanilla extract, filled with lemon-essenced marshmallow fluff and decorated with little lemon-jelly wedges) tasted great, the look of it frustrated Poppycakes and would do so until she discovered that dollcakes have grown up, have graduated to special cake pans with half-dolls to be staked into the tops of perfect-bell skirts. And at Michael's on the west side of Columbus, Ohio, one afternoon, that very August, Poppycakes would find only one kit left and with held breath would open it to reveal: a brunette!  But that is for the Babycakes post and for another day.

All this is foreshadowing. For this birthday, Poppycakes has asked her lasttruelove, Mr. Poppycakes to brave the Italian Merengue Frosting, while she will make a homemade Angel Food Cake and without a kit, and likely without real precision, she hopes to make a Floating Flamenco Doll Cake, in lightest gown and lightest lace. Or, if her flamenco's a flop, she will hope that Sweetcakes is ready with a pretty dessert to the rescue. In either case, long live the doll cake, long live brunettes!

Recipe: Chocolate Raspberry Bundt Cake
Lemon Vanilla Bundt Cake
Reading Companion: Children on their Birthdays Truman Capote
Listening: <iframe width="425" height="349" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/lMgU5B2TZIA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>