the beaver cake, a story of stacked sugar

i never told you about the beaver cake.

a well known illustrator and artist in the area, by the name of Jeremy Fish, frequents our art store for all of his supplies. unlike most well known illustrators and artists, he’s actually not an asshole. he doesn’t have an inflated ego (even though, technically, his work could back him up if he did because he’s amazingly talented). on the contrary, he’s one of the nicest customers that we have and also happens to be completely hilarious. he’s a good egg, if you ask me.

so, when his birthday came ’round (about a month ago), we wanted to do something special for him. we, as an art store, wanted to give him a great gift. so, we collectively decided to give him a sort of ‘super market sweep’ of our store. we even locked the top gate of the store to ensure that no other customers would interfere with what turned out to be a rather epic event. the ground rules were simple ::

1. chug a Tecate – to ensure a certain level of inebriation

2. put your head on a bat (rested on the floor) and spin around three times – to ensure disorientation, dizziness, and loss of balance

3. take two full minutes to run around the store (without the aid of a basket or staff) and collect all the items that you desire (in his case, it was mainly brush packs and pencils)

4. at the two minute mark (which we not only counted down out loud, but also counted down by playing Iron Maiden’s ‘Run for the Hills‘ as he sprinted throughout the store), make it back to the main counter and hit the bell

5. please, don’t bankrupt us by taking hugely expensive items

this birthday extravaganza was a great success. he was surprisingly coordinated and thoughtful. i say ‘surprisingly’ only because my manager did a test run (we were trying to figure out just how many minutes we should allow Jeremy to have to raid our store) and during this test run (minus the Tecate), she managed to knock down several displays and drop a handful of items. it’s actually kind of a miracle she didn’t crash head first into one of our brick walls.

now you have to understand, if you are a friend of mine and it is your birthday, i will bake you a cake. sure, the cake will be baked from a box mix, but it will be a very special cake. i ask for only three things :: 1. flavor 2. color & 3. animal.

Jeremy’s requests were as follows :: 1. vanilla 2. brown & 3. beaver.

a lot of people ask me how i construct these cakes because they aren’t just 9 x 12 ” cakes with a drawing of an animal on top. i actually make the animal. it is an entirely three dimensional cake. i’ll bake two 8 ” circles and carve out what i need to stack the layers accordingly to make the animal. i’m actually quite proud of the birthday cakes i’ve made even though most of the time they look like the result of cake making amateur hour. it really is more about the thought and planning and love i put into the cake than it is about the cake itself. regardless, i’ve made some great cakes over the years (yes, that was the sound of my ego inflating). 

with the help of a box of vanilla cake mix, frosting, chocolate sprinkles, marshmallows, and oreos, the beaver cake was born. it’s just as ugly and awkward as it is cute and endearing. it was a labor of love and i am still very proud of it.

so, Jeremy came into the store last week and the first thing he said, er asked, was, “you want to hear something heart warming ?” our answer was, obviously, “yes.” he then told us that on the day of his birthday, when he received the cake, he had had a party at his apartment that night. he had planned on consuming the cake with his friends, but because he got so plastered he decided against the idea of cake in an effort to avoid throwing up cake on his walls. so the cake remained, untouched, in his refrigerator. one day passed. then another. and another. the cake remained untouched since it was not only an adorable little critter of a cake, but also the birthday had passed. how could he eat his own birthday cake several days after his actual birthday and party ? so he left the cake in his fridge, unsure as to what to do with it.

at this point he alerted us to his ‘bachelor status.’ saying that at any given time his fridge really only holds beer and a small selection of condiments. he said he might have a friend over from time to time, ask for them to a retrieve a beer from the fridge, and the friend would – without fail – make a remark at this strange cake in the fridge. “what THE HELL is this ?” he’d explain the circumstances and that was that. until a friend claimed that this cake was going to ‘go bad.’ now, the cake may be incredibly stale by this point, but as Jeremy said, there aren’t “maggots crawling out of it.” it’s just sitting there, in his fridge, preserved as a stack of sugar in the form of a brown vanilla flavored beaver. he went so far as to call his mom to ask her if this cake could go bad. should he throw it away even though it doesn’t seem to pose a risk to his health or the cleanliness of his fridge ? she said it was most likely just fine staying there until, of course, it showed serious signs of deterioration, mold, or otherwise. 

so, with all of that said, Jeremy came to the conclusion that my cake is proudly on display in his fridge, well preserved in it’s perfectly chilled environment. it was only then that it hit me, i have a cake on display in Jeremy Fish’s apartment. of all the cakes i have constructed over the years (this birthday cake endeavor began in 2004), i am most proud of this one which remains untouched, uneaten, and on display in the fridge of an illustrator and artist that i admire not just a little bit, but a lot. and that’s pretty f*cking awesome if you ask me.




Filed under design, illustration (both acrylic and oilt)

2 responses to “the beaver cake, a story of stacked sugar

  1. Karmene

    my lady,
    this story is told unto epic proportions. i couldn’t ever have described it better myself. i shared it with Jeremy and he wrote: “thanks for sending this, i laughed my ass off…”
    i am so happy you have helped us sustain the gained admiration from one of the coolest people in SF.

  2. k

    That is amazing. Your story, the artist, your cake, and your art store.

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