She Let Me Eat Cake

Debbie Pagel loves to make a fish dinner, pizza, sushi rolls, hot dog and fries, and a whole roast pig… out of cake. The fact that she tells me this while I’m eating coconut cake with curry frosting makes it clear Debbie is not your average baker. She is the owner of Eat Cake, the place folks go when they want an out-of-the-ordinary way to celebrate a special occasion.

Debbie Pagel serendipitously sporting the team colors

Debbie Pagel serendipitously sporting the team colors

Confession: I usually pass on cake. However, if the cake is from Eat Cake, you’ll have to watch your fingers I’ll be grabbing it up so fast. Debbie’s cakes are so delicate they barely have the weight to stay on the fork, luckily there is frosting to help with that. This is not just whipped up sugar glopped on top, but subtly and beautifully flavored buttercream and cream cheese frostings.  Of course she makes the standard white, yellow and chocolate cakes. The chocolate in particular brings out the yummy noises, with a flavor that is more deep coco than “chocolaty.” The day I was there, a couple had been in to talk wedding cake. They make their own honey mead, and Debbie worked it into a cake and frosting. It is divine. A little sweet, a little yeasty, like sour dough bread and cake had a baby. Her lavender cake with passion fruit frosting is a lovely pairing. The way both flavors are just hinted at make it somehow refreshing. The coconut and curry combo is a perfect sweet and savory balance that you may have to taste to believe, and you just may have the chance as Debbie is considering it for the Food Slam. She likes playing around with the savory/sweet combo and once made a ginger cake with wasabi frosting in the shape of a blue fin tuna.

chocolate, white, coconut curry, lavender & passionfruit, and honey mead. Oh my!

chocolate, white, coconut curry, lavender & passionfruit, and honey mead. Oh my!

When I say “in the shape of” a blue fin tuna, I don’t mean the outline, I mean 3-D, just like the sushi roll, pizza, hot dog and fries, whole roast pig, etc.  “I love recreating food items,” Debbie said. “I once recreated some man’s favorite fish dinner from his favorite restaurant. It looked like a piece of salmon, red beans and rice and mixed vegetables in a Styrofoam container.”

You might think making cakes almost every day for ten years, Debbie would be sick of eating it. You’d be wrong. “I eat it every day. If I’m away I start to crave it after a day.” Her favorites: Chocolate with peanut butter frosting, yellow with fruity frosting and banana cake. “When I make banana, I always have to have some,” she said. Proving that indeed, you can make your cake and eat it too.

My musical pairing: Dead or Alive – “Cake and Eat It” Obviously, there’s the title, but there’s something about the rhythm that makes me think of stirring cake batter and anything Dead or Alive is so…sprinkly. Plus, during my musical awakening, I would call WMSE and request Dead or Alive and I couldn’t believe there was a station that would actually play it.

by Food Slam blogger Steph Kilen


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