Cake designing—without a degree—makes about as much sense as pursuing a master’s in a subject you are terrible at such as English, yet both have been my life path and passion.

The turning point was when I promised a friend I would do a cake for her event, and I wanted to surprise her with something spectacular like a 3D cake–even though I had never made a 3D anything.

I passionately faced a stack of un-iced cake layers. It was the same as facing blank pages during my academic perils, but instead of struggling to come up with a thesis, I was striving to come up with a recognizable design.

With desperate optimism, I said to the cake stack, “Look here, at the end of this night you are either going to be a discernible owl, and I’m going to call myself a baker or you are going to be one hot mess of icing and crumbs, and I am going to have to rethink this thing.”

Shortly after midnight, Oliver the Transvestite Owl emerged from a confectionary rubble—not as menacing as the mascot he was supposed to be replicating but he/she was chic and trendy.

If those Ivy League professors could’ve seen me talking thesis trash at 3:00 AM to a transvestite owl— damned they’d have been proud.

 

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    Oliver, the Transvestite Owl

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    The cake stack that decided my future

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