Recently, I did a set visit to TLC’s “Ultimate Cake-Off,” which involved lots of sugar and lots of firefighters. Needless to say, it was a good day. The episode airs in April, and watch this space for more pix and words as that date comes closer.

ultimate-cake-off-judge-leigh-grode-100.jpgOn the set, I met judge Leigh Grode (left) and her partner, Joan Spitler, who together operate Cake Divas in Culver City, Calif. Although I admitted to being almost entirely inexperienced in the art of cake decorating, Grode nevertheless invited me to visit their kitchen and try my hand at it.

Today was the day, and it wound up being the first time I’ve ever been accused of doing anything that Martha Stewart would be proud of. As today is St. Patrick’s Day, and I am three-quarters Irish, I suggested a design based on Belleek Pottery, famous for its motif of delicate shamrocks over a cream-colored basketweave-pattern background.

(Click on images for a larger version.)

The Divas were kind enough not to tell me that basketweaving was difficult. If they had, I might not have been able to do this…

StPatricksDayCakeBasketweaveDetail 3-17-2010 4-21-40 AM.JPG
…Or help out with the shamrocks (Spitler did the curving stems and helped pretty up my less-than-perfect leaf efforts)…

StPatricksDayCakeShamrockDetail 3-17-2010 4-21-56 AM.JPGWith the addition of a golden harp and “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” spelled out in Irish — Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig — plus a bit of glitter, all added by Spitler’s experienced hand, the cake was complete. Here’s a long shot…

StPatricksDayCake1.jpgAnd a close-up …
StPatricksDayCake2 3-17-2010 3-47-58 AM 3-17-2010 3-47-58 AM.JPGThanks, Cake Divas!
CakeDivas 3-17-2010 3-48-26 AM.JPGUPDATE: Tonight, I cut the cake with my newlywed neighbors. Inside, it was a moist white cake with a light chocolate mousse filling. Not too sweet, and absolutely delicious!