You won't find inanimate recreations of dungeon flogging scenes or the bucolic ribaldry of leatherfolk at the Olympia campsite on display at the Madame Tussauds wax museum downtown. It is, however, exactly the sort of fare on offer at the annual Scarlet's Bake Sale, marking its 37th year Feb. 7. And the bake sale takes the cake, in that flour, eggs and sugar come out tasting an awful lot better than wax.
Among the stars of this charity event, with this year's proceeds benefiting GLOV (Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence, the GLBT anti-violence task force), is Tim Woody. This former Mr. D.C. Bear has repeatedly won kudos for his bake-sale creations, particularly in the "most creative" and "best individual" categories.
Cake ideas for Scarlet's Bake Sale
Photo by Todd Franson
"People keep asking me, 'What are you doing this year? What are you making?'" Woody says with a laugh. "But you'll just have to wait and see."
While the thought of baking a cake from scratch may leave culinary novices scratching their heads, Woody attests that aside from the right equipment -- cake pans, for example -- some patience and attention, baking from scratch is within the grasp of most wannabe chefs. Despite his many bake-sale victories, Woody doesn't consider himself an expert baker. Apart from learning the cake basics from his mother when he was growing up, he says he's simply relied on an innate sense of how things should taste. The secret to his Scarlet's success, however, is flair.
"It's more of a production, not just a cake," he says, giving credit for his bake-sale wins to off-the-wall concepts and creative execution. A playful concept, says Woody, can go further in this context than a perfectly executed recipe.
There is one element, however, he insists cannot be abandoned or imitated: love.
"You can't find love in a box. You can't find a sick and twisted sense of humor in a box, either."
With generic recipes for cake and frosting, there's really no limit to what you might create, from a basic layer cake to a sweet reproduction of the Stonewall riots. The cake becomes your building blocks, while a white frosting becomes your palette, thanks to the miracle of food coloring.
Scarlet's Bake Sale will be accepting cake donations at the bake-sale site, the D.C. Eagle, 639 New York Ave. NW, from 2 to 4 p.m. the day of the sale, Saturday, Feb. 7. Cakes will be auctioned from 5 to 9 p.m. For more information, call Stephen Decker at 202-210-7553, or Patrick Grady at 703-863-7295.