The idea was daunting: Create a special birthday tribute for a friend in the likeness of a famous Frank Lloyd Wright house.
It was no cakewalk for Cissy Bates, but she pulled it off.
Bates, a recent graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., baked a re-creation of Fallingwater, the home in Pennsylvania that Wright designed. She made the cake for a surprise birthday party Thursday for her friend Jennifer Ingram, an architecture student who admires Wright’s work.
“He’s one of her favorites, and this is one of his most famous works,” Bates said. “It took about 20 hours to complete.”
Bates was inspired to create the cake after family friend Stacy Ingram, Jennifer’s mom, put in the request.
The cake, made entirely from scratch, incorporated gingerbread, chocolate chip cookies and vanilla butter cake, along with butter cream icing. She mixed in royal icing to ensure a better structure.
“I’ve done plenty of gingerbread houses before, which is easier because gingerbread is stable and has royal icing,” she said. “This has been really tough to do because, for one thing, it’s been really humid, and the moisture doesn’t really allow for structure.”
Thayer Bates, Cissy’s mother, said her daughter tried to stay as true to the home’s original design as possible.
“She was really detailed-oriented, even though I tried to discourage her from that,” she said.
Bates said her prior projects consisted mainly of cookies and petits fours. She said she’s always trying new recipes and experiments, though.
“Basically, when a client asks me to make something, I will never say no,” Bates said. “My family and friends will just call me and ask me to make something, and I do.”
Bates plans to move to Charleston, S.C., at the end of the year. She wants to become a private chef, cooking for one or two families.
“I love cooking in the home as opposed to in the restaurant,” she said. “I have a good number of family friends that are in the area, but I don’t have any clients as of yet.”
Now, Bates does freelance work for the Tic Toc Room in Macon. And she’s keeping her skills sharp by cooking most of the meals at her home.
“We are probably her biggest clients right now,” Thayer Bates said. “We’re getting our money’s worth out of that tuition.”
To contact writer Tiffany Stevens, call 744-4213.