Cake Bake through the eyes of Someone who doesn’t like Christmas Cake
When I first arrived at Grace, back in January, I heard whispers about a thing called Cake Bake: a strange week when the Grace kitchen (and truthfully, the entire dining hall) is transformed into a Christmas Cake factory. “It’s the best Christmas cake in the world,” I was told in no uncertain terms.
I smiled politely, and thought, “well, Christmas cake is pretty terrible, so it’s not like the bar is very high!” (some of you will consider me blasphemous for that statement, but bear with me).
I grew up in a family that adores this dense, candied-fruit holding substance. I was encouraged – maybe even forced – to try it at a young age and have since then declined it every year. At this point, I’ve made it to my 32nd birthday convinced that Christmas cake was created initially as a decoration. That it’s not something to be eaten. The real tradition of Christmas cake is feeding it to unsuspecting children, and then uproariously laughing while you watch them scrunch and contort their face. With a young daughter at home, I was looking forward to participating in this tradition from the laughing side.
About nine months into my time at Grace, the Cake Bake arrived. To say the kitchens are transformed into a Christmas cake factory does not do it justice.
The Cake Bake is now in its 55th year at Grace, and the dedicated volunteers have somehow managed to distil this process down to both an art and science. It really is something to behold. I was initially so intimidated by the precision of the scene that I was content to watch from a distance before Jean Morris encouraged – maybe even forced – me to venture in for a tour.
I would not be surprised if Santa himself brought the elves down for a visit to show them what a well-oiled assembly line should look like. Impressive.
Susan Nordean led me around the room and explained the week-long process to me. She showed me the teams and tables set up for everything from mixing ingredients, to baking, cooling, packaging, sorting, and selling. And we’re not talking about a few cakes – volunteers made some 1600 cakes this year, and not one of them will be left unsold.
“Would you like to try a sample?”
How could I decline? All these dedicated volunteers who have worked so hard were watching. I took a bite. Moment of truth. Delicious!
It occurs to me now my parents may have fed me something that wasn’t actually Christmas cake. Something designed to make me think Christmas cake was gross. Something to ensure they didn’t have to share their delicious cake. It’s time for a family meeting because I’ve been deprived for 32 years.
– Tyler, a reformed Christmas cake denier
A huge thank you to all the volunteers who have organised, managed, and worked to make the 2017 Cake bake another incredible success! If you haven’t purchased your cake yet, there’s still time. If you’ve lived your entire life thinking Christmas cake was a decoration, maybe it’s time to try it again.
Cakes will be available for sale at Grace Church:
- During coffee hour in the Family Room on both Sunday, October 1 and October 8
- At the Grace Market Cafe on Saturday, October 21
Photos from the week
Susan Nordean was kind enough to document the happenings of Cake Bake 2017. Check out her photos below!