Donald Trump's inaugural cake was commissioned to look exactly like Barack Obama's, baker says
Amid the glitz of President Donald Trump's inaugural festivities, one item stood out in particular late Friday night: a spectacular nine-tier cake that the new president and Vice President Mike Pence cut into with a sword.
To pastry chef Duff Goldman, the cake seemed a little too familiar - because it looked almost exactly like one he had made years earlier for Barack Obama's second inauguration as president.
Just after midnight, the Food Network personality posted a side-by-side comparison of two cakes on his Twitter account.
On the left, Goldman wrote in the caption, was the cake he had created for the "Commander-in-Chief" inaugural ball in 2013. The one on the right was the cake that had just appeared at Trump's "Salute Our Armed Services" ball.
The cake on the left is the one I made for President Obama's inauguration 4 years ago. The one on the right is Trumps. I didn't make it. 🤔 pic.twitter.com/qJXpCfPhii— Duff Goldman (@Duff_Goldman) January 21, 2017
It appeared nearly identical to Goldman's cake from four years ago, right down to the colors, the patriotic bunting, and the placement of several small silver stars and seals.
"I didn't make it," Goldman wrote about Trump's cake, adding a suspicious thinking-face emoji at the end.
Neither Goldman nor representatives from Trump's transition and inauguration teams responded to requests for comment Saturday morning.
On Saturday morning, Tiffany MacIsaac, owner of Washington's Buttercream Bakeshop, stepped forward to say she had been the one to create the much-talked-about cake.
She said that the order came in while she was out of town, and that the client had brought in a photo of the cake from Obama's inauguration asking her to recreate it.
"They came to us a couple of weeks ago, which is pretty last minute, and said, 'We have a photo that we would like to replicate,'" MacIsaac told The Washington Post by phone. Her bakery tried to encourage the client to use the photo as "inspiration," as they do with many others, she said.
"They said, 'Nope, they want this exact cake. It's perfect.' And we said, great," MacIsaac said.
Excited to share the cake we got to make for one of last night's inaugural balls. While we most love creating original designs, when we are asked to replicate someone else's work we are thrilled when it is a masterpiece like this one. @duff_goldman originally created this for Obama's inauguration 4 years ago and this years committee commissioned us to re-create it. Best part is all the profits are being donated to @humanrightscampaign, one of our favorite charities who we have loved working with over the years. Because basic human rights are something every man, woman and child~ straight, gay or the rainbow in between~ deserve!
Though MacIsaac declined to give her political affiliation, she said her bakery began planning how it would donate its proceeds from the Trump inaugural cake to charity. The baker and her staff chose the Human Rights Campaign, a nonprofit that advocates for equal treatment of the LGBT community - and that has declared Trump "unfit for the presidency."
"I'm a small-business owner and one of the things I'm very, very proud about is that I don't discriminate," MacIsaac said. "I would never turn someone away based on their age, their sex, their sexual orientation, their political views. It's just not the way we operate."
MacIsaac said the attention caught her by surprise partly because, per the order, the Trump cake was intended to be more of a prop: All but a three-inch slice at the bottom was inedible.
"It's just a Styrofoam cake. It's not for eating," she said. "I wasn't expecting it to be seen on TV."
As is customary with many of her creations, MacIsaac posted a photo of the recreated cake on Instagram the day after the event. By then, Goldman's tweet - and controversy over the cake - had found its way to her.
"Obviously, my intention was definitely not to upset him in any way," MacIsaac said of Goldman, whom she does not know personally. "I just wish that it had not been presented the way that it was."
Goldman, who founded Charm City Cakes in Baltimore and Los Angeles, is known for his showstopping cake creations. From 2006 to 2011, the Food Network reality show Ace of Cakes followed Goldman as he ran his bakery and pulled out all the stops to construct elaborate cakes. These days, the celebrity pastry chef is better known to pint-size bakers as "Chef Duff" as one of the judges on the network's Kids Baking Championship.
In 2013, Goldman told The Post's Tim Carman he wanted Obama's inaugural cake to be perfect.
"When you're doing a cake like this, you know that everybody is going to be looking at it," Goldman said. "It's a lot of pressure. The more recognition you get for something that you do, the greater the pressure becomes, because more people are looking for a mistake. So you really gotta make sure your work is top-notch."
Goldman described his cake for Obama to The Post in great detail then: The five-foot-tall, 50-pound cake was meant to pay special homage to the nation's armed forces, with seals of the five branches military. The different tiers would each be of different flavors, from red velvet to pumpkin-chocolate chip.
Though he expressed some anxiety about pulling off the cake in 2013, Goldman ultimately delivered on his vision.
"It was our honour to create this cake for last night's Commander-in-Chief Ball - an experience we will never forget," the Charm City Cakes Facebook page noted with a picture of the cake the day after Obama's 2013 inauguration. (For the record, Obama has said he is more of a pie person.)
- The Washington Post