Fiberglass cakes celebrate WUSTL’s role in St. Louis history

Bon Appétit lead baker April Morrison decorated cakes at Francis Field, School of Medicine

Paying tribute to the 1904 Olympic Games, the Francis Field cake includes photographic transfers of images from WUSTL’s University Archives. (Credit: James Byard/WUSTL Photos)

Swapping her whisk for a paintbrush, Bon Appétit lead baker April Morrison created 10 of the 250 fiberglass cakes for “Cakeway to the West,” the public art project celebrating St. Louis’ 250th birthday.

Morrison painted both of Washington University in St. Louis’ cakes, now on view at Francis Field, on the Danforth Campus, and at the School of Medicine, outside the Farrell Learning and Teaching Center.

Morrison also created cakes for St. Louis Children’s Hospital, the Carondelet neighborhood and the LGBT Center on Manchester.

“Each one was a little history lesson,” Morrison said. “As a St. Louisan and part of Washington University, I really loved learning more about what makes this place special.”

Morrison said her experience in the Cherry Tree Cafe & Bakery gave her an advantage over some participants. Each of the cakes was 52 inches tall and 36 inches in diameter.

Inspired by 1950s medical textbooks, Bon Appétit lead baker April Morrison painted medical equipment on the School of Medicine’s cake. (Credit: Robert Boston/WUSTL Photos)

“It was like working with a real cake, but on steroids,” said Morrison, who majored in art as an undergraduate. “Some of the other artists just saw a giant cake, and they didn’t know what to do with it. The pastry chef in me was like, ‘Awesome, I’ve got a giant cake to decorate.’ For my first two cakes, I put caulk in pastry bags with tips and piped them like icing. It worked great.”

The 250 cakes are being installed across the region at historic landmarks, museums, parks, churches, business and various of sites. They are to remain on view through 2014.

Cakeway to the West is just one of dozens of birthday events planned for 2014.