Featured Kitchen

THE CAKE BOSS

Written by Scott Rager

Written By:  Scott @ County Seat Living

clyda cookie monster

When I was a kid, birthday parties were a volatile subject matter.  I was born on November 30th which is not a big deal for most people that celebrate on that particular day but if you are a farm kid, it can be kind of tricky.  My pitiful parties always seemed doomed from the beginning.  I would wait with uncontrollable excitement as my big day would arrive and almost every year a blizzard would sweep across the plains and one by one people would call and cancel.  My birthday parties never involved kids because I only had two classmates at my rural school.  Rather these shindigs consisted of a collection of grandparents, aunts and uncles, and a cousin or two.

As the snow would start to fall I would begin to intercept phone calls of birthday salutations and reports of suboptimal weather conditions.  I would try to keep a tough upper lip but I was crushed on the inside.  I would wait by the frosted window and think that maybe someone would brave the storm.

When my belated party would finally take place it always seemed magical.  I guess that’s the beauty of having your birthday postponed; it seems to extend for another week.  Hands down, the highlight of any birthday in my family was having a cake baked by Aunt Clyda; our original “Cake Boss”…

clyda cake boss best

AUNT CLYDA HOLDING ME

Aunt Clyda was my paternal Grandmother’s sister and she was the reason the term “salt of the earth” was invented.  She was a God fearing woman that had a pioneer spirit coursing through her veins.  She canned the best dill pickles I’ve ever had in my life and her lemon meringue pies always claimed top dollar at church bake sales.  She was a towering woman that always seemed more comfortable in a pair of pants as opposed to a dress.  When she would eat, she would tuck her napkin under her big bosom which was held up by a girdle or corset or some pre-Spanks contraption.  As a kid, I was always amazed at how that napkin would stay in place.  Her and her husband Melvin never had children and so they became the unofficial parents of a motley crew of ornery nieces and nephews.  As a result, Aunt Clyda baked birthday cakes, crocheted Christmas ornaments, and sent $2 bills for important occasions so all those kids would know they were loved.  She continued to do it for their children.  And then their children…

Aunt Clyda could make any cake possible. When she would arrive to my belated birthday parties, she would always emerge from her Buick with a fantastic cake resting upon a tin foil covered piece of cardboard.  Over the years she made me a  hot air balloon…

clyda balloon

A terrier with coconut fur and a liquorice leash…

clyda dog

A dapper penguin outfitted with a top hat…

clyda penguin

And my personal favorite, a somewhat somber “Jack and Jill”…

clyda jack and jill

FYI: This was totally premeditated on my part.  I knew this particular selection would result in two cakes.

Looking back, I can’t imagine how much time she must have put into these creations.  I also think about how many cakes she made over the years.  She was even making cakes when my Dad was a little guy…

bob cake2 besst

Note the same tin foil presentation.  Classic!

I received a package the other day that reminded me of my Aunt Clyda.  My friend Mia has an amazing online business called  TICINGS which creates custom edible icing sheets that “elevate craft to an art”.

mia card best

Her concepts are crazy fun!  My sweet care package included products that were going to be a blast to experiment with.  She supplied me with a few sheets of edible decals…

mia packaging best

“Love” + “ Tandem Bicycles”…

mia ticing sheets best2

And examples of a wedding project she had just completed…

mia ticings wedding

She also included finishing sugars…

mia tubes closeup best

Candy accouterments…

mia balls overview

And a sugar cookie with some TICINGS flair in case I got hungry while being creative.  Thanks Mia!

mia cookie closeup

It was fun to play around with her product.  It’s a great way to customize a treat and make certain your dessert is one of a kind.

mia birdseye best

mia birdseye best2

mia love trio birdseye

mia love closeup candy

mia love closeup

mia bike closeup best

mia bike closeup best2

As I chow down on a cupcake (or five) I find myself toasting my Aunt Clyda.  Cheers to a practical woman who worked so hard to make this world a beautiful place!  Our true Cake Boss…

clyda cake boss with bob

AUNT CLYDA HOLDING DAD

 

About the author

Scott Rager

Robert Scott Rager is a Nebraska native who returned home to start a boutique business called “County Seat Living”. His personal goal for “County Seat” is to translate the lifestyle design he was creating in Los Angeles for the past twelve years and apply it to the sensibility of the Great Plains. Whether he’s writing about decorating, homemade ice cream, floral creations, event planning or product design, he wants the personality and style of Nebraska to shine bright.