It was a cake fit for a king. King LeBron James that is, or was it?
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“This is turning into a cake war,” said pastry chef Alethea Hickman.
It’s a cake war-a battle at bakery-all over LeBron James’ birthday cake. Hickman said she designed a Heat-red cake with edible gold dust and an edible crown on top for James’ birthday party held New Year’s Eve.
Hickman, of Passion for Pastry in Boca Raton, said representatives from the Shelbourne Hotel in Miami Beach asked her to create a three-foot cake one day before the New Year’s Eve party.
Hickman said that in lieu of payment, she would get publicity for the cake and tickets to the party.
“So I jumped on it” she said. “I was so excited telling me the original person she has for the cake backed out and said, ‘Are you able to do this?’ I said, ‘Yes, I’d loved to’ and wouldn’t pass up that. I’m a Heat fan so I was honored to do it.”
So Hickman said she baked and baked for almost 24 hours before hand delivering the vanilla custard cake to the hotel.
But when she came back later that night her cake was missing in action.
“When I went into the dining room where I put the cake it wasn’t there and I was like I don’t get that. What’s up with that?” she said.
The next day the blogs were filled with James’ big birthday bash at SL nightclub, where he also proposed to longtime girlfriend Savannah Brinson, but there was another cake stealing the spotlight. It was an ivory-colored rum cake with gold lion’s heads from Miami’s Divine Delicacies, a company that has made cakes for Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and James, among other celebs, in the past.
“Everything just sunk so I can’t believe this is happening,” Hickman said. “I don’t get it. I was totally betrayed. They dissed something that was not easy to come up with. It’s very traumatic. I’m an artist. That was a masterpiece to me.”
A spokesperson for the Shelbourne released a statement Wednesday saying, “The cake was very nice, however, LeBron’s team had also commissioned their preferred purveyor (Devine Delicacies) to create an over-the-top birthday cake; LeBron had no idea that there were two cakes.”
So it was clear James’ cake was the slam dunk, and Hickman’s cake was the rejection.
“Would you do it again?” CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo asked.
“Yes, without a second thought. I’m a big fan been my whole life,” Hickman said.
Hickman said she just wanted James to have his cake and eat it too.
The cake that was presented to James was from the same Miami bakery that did last year’s cake, Divine Delicacies.
The fondant-covered vanilla rum cake featured edible gold lions and was topped with James’ initials.
Divine Delicacies’ Laura Candeau tells the Miami New Times that as of the morning of Saturday’s party they hadn’t received an order, but she had extra cakes baked just in case.
“I knew he played on his birthday in Minnesota the day before and wasn’t at home to celebrate,” she says, “And I knew that if he was going to do a birthday affair he would have his team contact us for the cake. What the King wants he gets!”
There is an old axiom, that has nearly become accepted fact, that the richer you get, the more you tend to receive free things. All manner of swag, including suits, gift bags, German automobiles, or even a $3,000 birthday cake that you summarily reject without having to explain why. At least that’s the case so far, for LeBron James.
According to the Miami Herald, an area baker named Alethea Hickman was offered heaps of free publicity for designing a cake to be presented to James during his 27th birthday celebration at a Miami nightspot last week. A “sponsorship,” and no actual money, was the payoff according to party handler Jared Galbut.
Then the cake, and the communication between Hickman and Galbut, went a bit pear-shaped:
“I don’t even know where my cake went,” Hickman said. “I was mortified. They had me do it in the middle of the holiday crush and I hired additional people. Someone needs to pay.”
Galbut said James’ people decided Hickman’s work wasn’t fit for the king: “It just wasn’t what was expected. When LeBron’s people saw it, they just didn’t want to use it and decided to bring their own cake. I can’t tell LeBron James what birthday cake to eat. It’s LeBron James, for Christ’s sake.”
As for how much Galbut would pay Hickman if he were asked, he just said: “That cake couldn’t be worth more than $600. It’s flour, eggs and water.”
No, it’s not just “flour, eggs and water,” you idiot. It’s “workers, hours, wages, delivery, passed-over revenue streams that were let go so as to service James,” and also “things that go on and in a cake besides flour, eggs and water.”
With that in place, Hickman was probably way off in thinking that the possible publicity from her massive cake could more than make up for the money and effort her company put into creating the confection.
It seems like she was more than willing to allow for the loss of income just to be associated with a star; they have names for people who do these sorts of things, and we shouldn’t feel too bad when she was the one who signed off on giving a free birthday cake to LeBron in the first place. It’s not his fault he didn’t want to eat the thing, much less pay for it after she agreed to provide it pro bono.
All in all, another case of hopelessly entitled people (barely including James, who probably never even saw the cake) and their less-deserving-but-just-as-entitled handlers acting out of touch in an era that doesn’t really deserve that sort of disconnect. Marie Antoinette would be proud.
UPDATE – JAN 5 – 2011
As brought to our attention by http://www.opposingviews.com/i/sports/real-story-behind-lebron-birthday-cake-controversy
The cake was likely damaged after delivery