TABLE TOPPER Behold, the star of the recent ‘Art of Dessert’ fundraising event at the Luther Burbank Center. (Photo by Pierre Ratte)

By Pierre Ratte

The Luther Burbank Center for the Arts (LBC) featured swan cake, not Swan Lake, this past weekend at its annual fund-raising gala: The Art of Dessert. Table centerpieces are designer cakes from local bakeries. This swan cake with feathers of white chocolate was the grand prize winner.

Maria de Los Angeles, a local artist, was honored for her artwork and mural installation at LBC, along with her painting workshop for LBC youth. Attending Santa Rosa Junior College, then graduating from the Pratt Institute, then earning a masters of fine arts from Yale, she’s currently assistant director of painting and printmaking at the Yale School of Art. Locally, her painting and mural artwork can be seen at Santa Rosa Junior College and at LBC.

Fun facts: LBC reportedly had its best fundraising evening ever. Programmed entertainment was provided by a mariachi band, an LBC program of cultural enrichment for young musicians. 

Unprogrammed entertainment provided by Mark Stark and Charlie Palmer encouraged the crowd with enticements for their auction items—very successful encouragement, it should be added. 

Susan Preston, LBC Board Chair and master of ceremonies, was a spark plug of energy throughout. This is her swan song as chairwoman of the board, so it was fitting that the winning swan cake was at her table. She is a winning presence on LBC’s board.

The first tiered cake, a form later embraced as a wedding cake, was reportedly made in 1858 for the marriage of Queen Victoria’s daughter. Queen Victoria popularized white icing, hence the name “royal icing.” Icing on a cake used to be spread with feathers. Cake stacking was once a thing; each guest brought a layer, the higher the cake the more popular the couple.

The largest wedding cake, made by chefs at Mohegan Sun Hotel in February 2004, weighed 15,032 pounds. The tallest cake, made in Luoyang, China, stood 25 feet tall.

National Cake Day is Nov. 26.

Swan Lake, the ballet, will come to LBC on Oct. 1 and 2.

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  1. Costeaux French bakery’s creation is a true masterpiece! The intricate details of the cake, from the delicate frosting to the exquisite decorations, showcase the skill and artistry of their bakers. Bravo to the talented team at Costeaux for their dedication to crafting such beauty in every slice!

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