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Beverly Hills making epic $200,000, 15,000-slice birthday cake

April 26, 2014|By Martha Groves

Beverly Hills on Sunday will celebrate its 100th anniversary with an epic 15,000-slice cake marking a proud symbol of the city's excess. Its estimated cost? $200,000.

"We're about marketing this three-block-long street, Rodeo Drive, to the world," Efrem Harkham, owner of the Luxe Hotel, where the assembled cake will be on display, told The Times.  He said the dessert is also meant as a tribute to people who have served the city, including police officers and firefighters.

"We shouldn't be thinking about the Marie Antoinette equivalent," he said.

The ingredient list is impressive: 262 pounds of flour, 460 pounds of sugar, 900 eggs, 210 pounds of butter, a mammoth mountain of chocolate.

The city for months has been marking its 100th anniversary with a series of events. On Sunday afternoon, officials will close off Rodeo for a nearly five-hour party featuring Ferris wheels, a 20-piece dance band, fireworks and a performance by Martha Reeves of her and the Vandellas' Motown hit "Dancing in the Street."

Likely to steal many of the selfie moments will be the unfathomably caloric cake. It is intended to evoke Rodeo, if that street of splendor and spenders were adorned with sugary palm trees, spray-painted chocolate flowers dusted with "disco sparkle" and sumptuously decorated "boutiques" made to look like shopping bags, complete with edible "tissue paper" crinkled between the handles.

Once assembled and stationed under a white canopy in front of the Luxe, the cake will be part of a 9-foot-tall, 12-foot-wide and 24-foot-long sweet feat anchored by a miniature of the Spanish Renaissance-style 1932 City Hall, totally clad in theoretically edible substances.

Since last summer, celebrity pastry chef Donald Wressell has been designing and masterminding the colossal sweet.

To pull it off, he has enlisted the help of dozens of top hands who have flown in from Chicago and Florida to spin sugar into ribbons and fantasy flowers. He has built plywood platforms, calculated the amount of needed flour, sugar, butter and chocolate, and planned for contingencies including weather and traffic.

"The logistics are the No. 1 thing," Wressell said in his Culver City-adjacent Chocolate Studio earlier this week as he applied molded chocolate arches and window trim to a City Hall wall. "How are we going to get this cake baked, assembled, decorated and on the street?"

Read the full story here.


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