In all our years of having a custom cake business, Rick has made only a handful of cakes for people celebrating their 90th birthday. It seems the older someone gets, the less likely they will have a custom cake made, at least that has been the case with our company. I would be curious to know if it is the same is true for you. We've made more birthday cakes for people turning 70 or 80 than 90, and even more common are birthday cakes for the big 5-0 or 6-0. I haven't kept track of which decade is the most celebrated with a custom cake, but if I had to guess, I would say the 40-year olds would probably be the winner in the most celebrated decade category. For us, the age that really takes the cake are the 1-year olds. The first birthday celebration is a huge deal in Hawaii. Parents often begin planning the baby's first birthday party way in advance, and we've had clients contact us within days of the baby's birth to order their first birthday cake. It's clear people think turning 1 is extremely important, and it is, but I also think that people who have lived long enough to reach a milestone like 90 - just 10 years shy of 100 years old - deserve to be celebrated as much as those with a whole life ahead of them.
I remember the joy I felt when we were hired by the company's president to make a 95th birthday cake for Lex Brodie of Lex Brodie's, a well known tire company who prides themselves on service, "Thank You, Very Much!", with a long history in Hawaii. Rick sculpted a cake in the shape of a tire, complete with a real rim, provided by Lex Brodie's, of course! Since Lex Brodie was a household name when I was growing up, I felt honored and excited when my husband was hired to make his cake. Lex was a hugely accomplished businessman who lived a very long life and deserved to have an amazing cake! I recall during the time when Rick was working on Lex's cake our client said we'll have to do something special for his 100th birthday, and we all looked forward to it. Sadly, Lex passed away last year at the age of 98 and the custom tire cake was the last cake we would make for him.
Our most recent 90th birthday cake was requested by our client, who is one of the sweetest people we know, and we have made many cakes for over the years. She wanted to honor her mother with a special 90th birthday cake. I thought of the 95th birthday cake we made for Lex Brodie and the 90th birthday Sun Conure bird cake for "Granny" and how honored we felt to be included in their milestone celebrations. It is truly special to create for someone who has lived life for a decade (or less) shy of a century. The request alone was worth getting excited about, but then we heard what our client wanted and we were ecstatic to make it!
The cake would be based on vintage postcard photos of her mother shown in her youth. In one of the postcards she gathers ferns and in another one, sitting on a wall. Our client asked Rick if he could make a cake with her mother sitting on a rock wall surrounded by the foliage. We were immediately smitten with the idea and proposed a design, which she loved! We thought the postcard images were so beautiful. It was classic Hawaii in all its natural beauty and we knew this cake would be very special, both to our client and her mother. We couldn't wait to get started!
Every decoration was important because we had to convey a specific location, but the most important component was the custom figurine of our client's mother. When modeling a 3D figure, you need many photos to work from. In addition to photos taken during that same time period, Rick studied photos of her mother taken at a later age so she would be recognizable at any age. When archiving photos from 60 to 70 years earlier, there isn't the convenience of the digital family archives so common in today's world, so we had fewer references to look at. Our client spent time researching the photos, which we are grateful for, and sent us whatever she could find of her mother back then and current phtotos.
When the cake was delivered, our client and her family loved the cake and couldn't wait to show it to the guest of honor. The family couldn't have chosen a more appropriate venue for the party, which was at a well-known restaurant with a lush tropical setting that feels like you stepped into old Hawaii. After the party, we were told the cake was a big hit and her mother said "that's me" and instantly recognized herself at the location she was photographed for the postcard. We were so happy to hear that. Those words meant Everything!