Editor’s note: Nour H. is a reader with a talent for sweets. It’s good that she chose to user her powers for good, treating rookie John Carlson to a tasty cake for his 21st birthday. Here is Nour’s story.
There’s something cool about meeting someone you admire. Getting an autograph is nice, but sometimes you have to give back. A while ago I had a silly idea while watching the Caps practice with my friend Lindsey. John Carlson‘s birthday was coming up, his 21st, and I thought to make him a birthday cake. I was half joking. I mean, how could I even get it to him? I thought I would give it a shot anyway and asked an acquaintance if he could make it happen. The worst he could say was “no”.
It made my night when I got the official “OK.” He told me that he couldn’t promise a meeting, but that he could definitely give it to him. Didn’t matter to me. I just thought it would be cool to give him a cake. I had about a week to plan it out, and I didn’t want to waste any time. I wanted this to be one of the best cakes ever.
For the next few days, Lindsey and I tried to come up with ideas. I really wanted it to be something associated with turning 21 and the Caps. I asked my friends for their thoughts. Ian suggested making the cake in the shape of New Jersey with beer cans around it. But we settled on using the back of his Winter Classic jersey. I thought it was genius and had some potential. I had recently purchased that precise jersey anyway and could imagine how it’d make for a good cake.
We set a date to make the cake on the 9th, so everything could be fresh in time for Monday morning practice. In the meantime, I sketched a doodle of the cake’s layout and collected all the fun supplies like tons of frosting and food coloring.
I started off with making my marshmallow fondant on Saturday, that way it could cool overnight. I needed this for the letters and numbers on the jersey cake. It was my first time ever making it, and it went pretty well. Dying it was a lot harder than I thought it would be, and by the end of the night, my hands were stained fuchsia (blue and red fondant). My sister thought I was wearing gloves when we went to get more coloring. After about 3 hours of kneading the fondant and adding gallons of dye, it was finally done. (Don’t worry, it still tasted beast.)
On Sunday, Lindsey came over with a finished tray of cupcakes we made for Coach Boudreau’s birthday. We started with just a few cupcakes for Coach, but ended up with 38 for the entire team. Enthusiasm! Each was carefully decorated by Lindsey, and each had a player’s number written on it.
John’s cake ended up being a two-layer yellow cake with chocolate frosting in the middle coated with chocolate chips. Vanilla frosting covered the outside with marshmallow fondant for the numbers and letters. I even made the Reebok logo! After about 16 man-hours over two days, we were finally finished. I taped the box up tightly, and awaited Monday morning.
Anxiety, nervousness, and excitement. I bet all chefs feel it. When practice finally finished, it was go-time. I was just going to hand the cake over through my friend. But luck was on my side that morning, and I was told that I actually would be able to give it to John personally. They let me in through the media room along with my sidekicks, Lindsey and Suzanne, and I sat next to all the cameras and microphones where they tape interviews. John came off the ice and took some time to sign autographs and take pictures by the media gate, while I sat nearby fidgeting with my phone. Once he walked over to me, we exchanged hello’s and some quick small talk, and then he looked down at the box. I think I even asked him if he was ready to see what was inside. The look on his face when he saw the cake was priceless. “Whoa! How’d you make that?” My anxiety became relief. He loved the cake, and seeing his reaction paid off the whole experience together so perfectly. After taking a couple pictures together, we bid farewell, and John took the cake inside. Channel 9 was floating around as well, taping the whole thing. You might catch me on the news, waving to the camera like my arm is on fire.
I caught word later on that the team devoured the cake and all the cupcakes Lindsey had made. John thought it was delicious, and there were full and happy hockey players on the plane ride down to Florida. For those who reasoned with me, advised me, and helped me during conception and cooking, I thank you a ton. And thanks so much to my friend who let me do this, it meant the world! Happy 21st to Captain America.
Video via WUSA9