What is Icing Smiles?
This past weekend, we had the opportunity to create an incredibly special cake for the Icing Smiles program. Icing Smiles is an amazing nonprofit organization that provides cakes for children who are or have been fighting serious illnesses, at ZERO cost to the family. Many times the families are completely devastated by all the medical bills and peripheral expenses such as traveling to far away hospitals for treatment. The way Icing Smiles works is they have created a network of bakers who are willing to donate cakes to these precious families and children, and they refer to them as Sugar Angels. When a family applies to receive an Icing Smiles cake, they send out a ‘Call to Action’ to the bakers they feel are best matched with the family. We are proud to be Sugar Angels and we JUMP at the chance to answer the Call to Action. Surprisingly, considering the children’s hospitals and advanced treatments available around Austin and Central Texas, we don’t get a lot of Calls To Action. It’s probably because many families don’t know about the Icing Smiles program, so I’m hoping to share this to raise awareness! ANY family can apply!
This particular Call To Action was SO special and touched our hearts immediately. It was for a boy named Dylan. This was the message I received from Dylan’s mom: “Thank you so much for volunteering to make Dylan’s cake! A little bit about us- I am a paramedic for the city of Austin and my husband works in education. We share 3 boys. Just after he turned 5 in 2020, Dylan got diagnosed with leukemia. When he’s done, he will have had 35 months of chemotherapy. His finish date is Sept 11th of this year and Kalahari has graciously provided us space to throw him a surprise party. The cake is for his end of treatment party. When Dylan was first diagnosed, we watched the scene in the movie End Game multiple times where Captain America is fighting Thanos. Captain America gets knocked to the ground and looks tired and hurt but he gets back up to continue the fight. Dylan’s mantra then became “Captain America always gets back up”. I would love to have a Captain America themed cake for the boy who always gets back up! Thank you so much again and thank you to Icing Smiles for arranging this!”
If you Google Captain America cakes, they are all very much in the same look and theme. I really wanted to make a cake that was unique & intensely customized for Dylan. So I began thinking how cool it would be to have that actual scene from the movie that inspired his mantra, where Captain America wields Thor’s Hammer, in very realistic fashion on the cake! I discussed my concept with Emily, my team member who would be creating the cake, since I was already tied up with a huge crazy sculpted cake. We brainstormed it and decided to create a modified 2-dimensional figure swinging a 3 dimensional Moljnir & holding a 3 dimensional shield.
Emily painted the background of the cake & sculpted all the parts. She also created isomalt ‘lightning’ & embedded lights in the hammer to light it up.It turned out SO COOL!
I was so lucky to deliver the cake and meet Dylan and his whole family. Kalahari resort in Round Rock, just outside of Austin, TX, had graciously provided them with a space to have the party & to enjoy the resort! I had never been there before, and HOLY MOLY! That place is HUGE & amazing!
Dylan’s mom met me as I wheeled the cake in, hidden in our big red delivery box. Dylan ran up and gave me a big hug. He is the most beautiful, sweet and precious child. Everyone waited in anticipation as I unboxed the cake and there was SUCH a huge reaction at the big reveal! Dylan was so thrilled and everyone at the party just loved it. Many had never seen a cake like that in person, and it was fun to explain to everyone that yes it was all sugar and how we had created it. It was so cute how badly the kids all wanted to touch it, but were holding back because they didn’t want to mess it up.
I was even more honored that they asked me to stay for a while, and help them cut the cake. Nobody wanted to cut it, but they sure wanted to eat it! Haha! I showed them exactly how to cut a cake like ours, since they are quite different from what most folks are used to. Dylan loves chocolate, so the cake was our delicious Hot Chocolate cake with Chocolate Silk buttercream filling.
I shed a tear or two over this precious child and his wonderful family. It means the world to me we were able to provide them with a special cake for a truly momentous occasion!
From the Icing Smiles website:
We are Baking a Difference!
Icing Smiles is a nonprofit organization that provides custom celebration cakes and other treats to families impacted by the critical illness of a child. We understand that the simple things, like a birthday cake, are luxuries to a family battling illness. Our goal is to create a custom cake for the ill child, or their sibling, that provides a temporary escape from worry and creates a positive memory during a difficult time.
Memories have magical powers. Long after the cake is gone, the memories linger – memories of the kindness of a stranger, of the art of the design, of the sweet smells of a special treat, of the smiles and laughs, of a normal childhood experience so often stolen from these children. These memories are why we say, “It is so much more than a cake.”
How to Help Icing Smiles:
As part of the effort to help create special memories for the Icing Smiles families, I’m also raising funds to help provide cakes like this to many more children. Please donate at the following link if you would like to help support this awesome organization. It only costs on average about $40 to provide a child with a memory like this. 100% of funds go directly to provide more Icing Smiles!