Cakeway to the West–Settings

Some of the Cakeway to the West cakes are enjoyable to look at not because they are beautiful (even though they are), but because their setting is so astounding. The most obvious of these is the cake at the overlook at Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park, because it offers a view of not only the cake, but the St. Louis skyline and the Mississippi River. There are many others though, that are in front of beautiful buildings, or among gorgeous flowers, or just in a place that really reflects the community:

I have really enjoyed seeing so many new places in St. Louis, and seeing old, familiar places in a new way!

Cakeway to the West–Overlooked Details

It’s funny how you can overlook details, some of which can be pretty big, when you’re busy cake hunting. The cake at the Shrine of St. Joseph is a perfect example of that. I photographed this cake pretty well, but there is a fence around it, so I was so busy trying to work around the fence that I didn’t really see the cake, even though I was looking at it. And even after we got home, I was so busy thinking about how beautiful the church building is (and it really is!), that I didn’t really process the cake details. But after I saw the cake from another photographer’s point-of-view, I went back and looked at my pictures, and realized not only how beautifully well-painted it is, but actually fell in love with it to the point where it became one of my favorites!

IMG_4459 - Version 2

The cake has a botanical theme, including the Missouri Botanical Garden and Forest Park’s Jewel Box. The colors and details used to express the theme are just magnificent. Being able to see the cakes through other people’s eyes, and pick up on details you might have otherwise missed is one of the unexpected joys of this project!

Cakeway to the West–Personal Favorites

Now that I’ve seen all of the “Cakeway to the West” displays, I feel that the time has come to pick my very favorites. It’s not easy to choose, because there were so many awesome artists decorating these cakes, but I have narrowed it down. The names in bold represent my “top ten” of all my favorites.

The Dogtown cake is my very favorite, for a lot of sentimental reasons. Dogtown was the neighborhood Ryan and I lived in when we were first married, and it was the perfect first place to live, as a newly married couple, and as new residents of St. Louis. There’s a great community feeling, and a great history, not to mention the awesome ethnic (Irish) flair…and this cake is like a love letter to all of that. I couldn’t have designed it better if I had tried!

IMG_2789_2

The Rigazzi’s cake is awesome, not necessarily because of the cake itself (although it references a lot of St. Louis favorites like the Zoo, beer, and baseball), but because of its location, both on The Hill, and beneath one of the remaining All-Star arches. It’s like a St. Louis tchotchkes Holy Grail!

IMG_2879

I also love the Blueberry Hill cake. It’s a tribute to pop culture icons…Darth Vader, Pac-Man, the Simpsons, and more. It’s random and awesome, and when you add in the bright colors of the cake, it’s easy to see why it’s a favorite!

IMG_2772

The cake at Historic Trinity Lutheran Church in Soulard makes my list for two reasons (three if I’m being honest). First, it was done by my very favorite local artist, Mark Hurd, who I’ve had the opportunity to meet at Art on the Square (and buy several pieces of art from!). Second, I love the way that the candle is an extension of the steeple. And, if I’m honest, I also love that it’s at a Lutheran church. You can’t talk about the history of St. Louis without mentioning us Lutherans at least a bit, right?

IMG_2884_2

I also love the cake at the University City Lion Gates. I’m not sure that there’s one more recognizably St. Louis culture cake than this, because it asks (and answers!) the all-important St. Louis question, “Where did you go to high school?”

IMG_3461

The cake at The Cheshire is just awesome in all of its fleurs-de-lis glory. I especially love the candle, with the writing, and the extra fleur-de-lis. It’s just a beautiful, elegant cake!

IMG_3411

The cake at Shaw Park is fun, because it shows all of the activities that can be enjoyed there all year round…swimming, ice hockey, and tennis all included!

IMG_3432

The Busch Stadium cake is a favorite because Cardinals. Enough said.

IMG_3838

The Ted Drewes cake both captures the spirit of the place, and gives us an excuse to get some frozen custard. It’s a win-win cake!

IMG_2804_2

The Carondelet Historical Society cake is a favorite because it references so much St. Louis history, some of which was new to me. I love how much I’ve learned through the Cakeway to the West project!

IMG_4112_2The cake at Saint Louis University is all kinds of awesome. The placement is perfect. Depending on which way you’re looking, there are fountains or flowers or a gorgeous church in the background. And the cake itself is really pretty, and perfect for the location.

IMG_4579

The College of Pharmacy cake might seem like a strange choice, but it really tickled me. Notice how it’s designed to look like a pharmacist’s lab coat? I love it!

IMG_5912

The cake at the Boys and Girls Club is great for a few reasons. I love the way it’s divided right down the middle to showcase the past and the present. And I really love that one of the cakes pays homage to the long-gone St. Louis Browns baseball team. Another bonus is that I learned a little something extra about St. Louis history after seeing this one, which is probably the most fun part of this project (for me, anyway)!

IMG_4503_2

The cake at St. Louis City Hall does a great job of showing what’s important in St. Louis. Notice all the fleurs-de-lis? Each one is painted in a specific way. My favorite, of course, is the baseball fleur-de-lis!

IMG_4409_2

The Post-Dispatch cake gets points because it’s Weatherbird. Really, what else could it be? For those not in the know, Weatherbird is the oldest continuous cartoon in the United States…it’s been around since 1901! More history…

IMG_4447

The Drury Hotel cake is another “what’s what in St. Louis” masterpiece. You’ve got the city flag, you’ve got the skyline, and in the letters of the city’s name, you have tributes to the Arch, King Louis, Lewis and Clark, the Cardinals, the Zoo, and the Blues. Plus, more fleurs-de-lis. Love!

IMG_4367_2

The Gaslight Square cake gets retro points from me, for being placed in a historic spot. Plus this is another great past and present cake, showcasing the importance of Laclede Gas back in the days of, well, gaslights, and its importance today. The lamp bases in the background are an added bonus!

IMG_6219_2

The cake that sits where the old St Louis Arena used to be is also cool, mainly because of the ticket stubs affixed to the top. You get a good idea of who performed there, and there are some impressive names listed!

IMG_5269

The West Alton cake was an unanticipated favorite for me. It recognizes the major natural disasters in St. Louis history: earthquakes, storms, floods, and the terrible drought we had a few summers ago. It’s not only the pleasant events that shape a city, and I’m glad these were included.

IMG_6400

The cake at the original Imo’s location looked boring when we first drove up to it, but once I looked at it, I realized how cool it is. The base is pizza boxes, while the top is decorated to look like the famous “square beyond compare” pizza. Perfectly awesome!

IMG_6908

The Ferguson Station Depot cake is the one cake that recognizes St. Louis’ contribution to the space race. It also focuses on other forms of transportation, and is wonderfully brightly colored. Plus, there’s a great ice cream shop just up the hill from it that we discovered and enjoyed…total win!

IMG_7455

The Old Cathedral cake is just beautiful. Covered in flowers and other images such as King Louis and religious and local symbols, it’s beautiful and peaceful. It’s just what you would expect at the site of the first cathedral west of the Mississippi!

IMG_9533

The Warren County Courthouse cake is a favorite for several reasons. It’s a tribute to all four seasons, which is fun. I enjoyed seeing a snow scene on the July day we visited it. It also has the Halloween scene from Meet Me in St. Louis…a perfect tribute to a great movie!

IMG_9993_2

The Greenville Public Library cake is decorated to look like Busch Stadium. I have no idea why this cake is so far away from the Cardinals home base, but it’s completely awesome…the Rally Squirrel even makes an appearance!

IMG_0047

The cake at Francis Field is a tribute to the 1904 Olympics. There was just no doubt that this would be on my list…history plus Olympics for the win! It even tells what sports competed in 1904, and it’s a very different list from the Olympics games of today!

IMG_5889

I really tried to limit myself to 10% of the total cakes, or 25 cakes, when compiling this list. I was right on target, too. But this cake, at the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle, kept coming to mind. I love all the old signs, many of which are neon, that are painted on it.

IMG_3189

The cake at the Shrine of St. Joseph was another that kept coming to mind. The cake is beautifully decorated, and the church is so beautiful, and I wouldn’t have even known it was there if it wasn’t for Cakeway to the West. So I’m allowing myself a second bonus cake. And since Stl250 ended up placing a few bonus cakes, I guess it’s OK that I have bonus favorites, too!

IMG_4460

All of the Stl250 cakes are beautiful and tell great stories that share the history and culture of our city. It was really hard to narrow down my favorites, because I really love them all. These are the cream of the crop for me, though, and really define what this city is all about.

(Another) Facebook Friday

Fredbird was back in Belleville today, at the Qdoba that’s in the same shopping center as the AT&T Store we saw him at last time. Of course we had to stop by and say “hi!”

IMG_0801

IMG_0806

My children were epically photobombed by Fredbird in a series of hilarious poses.

But eventually, everyone got more or less organized for a picture:

IMG_0823

Before we left, Turkey got beaked:

IMG_0825

And Moose received a giant Fredbird hug!

IMG_0827

But nobody was as thrilled as Chickadee, who got picked right up by the big guy!

IMG_0830

This was our third Facebook Friday of the year…I think we’re officially Fredbird groupies now!