An eye catching cake

On Friday Sept. 28, Katherine Hirsch showed her appreciation for Kerri Barnhouse on her birthday with a custom cake.

If you passed by Kerri Barnhouse before school on Friday Sept. 28, you may have thought the English and PALs teacher was carrying a stack of enormous books. However, as you approached you would see the books were covered in frosting. Barnhouse was carrying her birthday cake.

Natalie Dunlap
Kerri Barnhouse’s cake is made up of some of her favorite books, ‘Jane Eyre’, ‘Everything is Illuminated’ and ‘Frankenstein’.

“I don’t think a single person walked past me without commenting and saying either: ‘Are those books?’ ‘Is that a cake?’” said Barnhouse. “And then I’d go a little farther. ‘Are those books?’ and ‘That’s amazing’ and then, ‘Can I take a picture?’”

On Thursday, Hirsch questioned Barnhouse about her favorite books. The two had discussed movies, music and television before so Barnhouse assumed Hirsch was looking for books to read for herself.

“I gave her a couple of titles. I tried to narrow it down, and she was writing them down. I thought she was writing them down because she wanted to read them. And here she was doing it because she was making this cake.”

I was so stunned and surprised and impressed and touched and everything else … No one’s ever made anything like that for me.

— Kerri Barnhouse

The cake’s frosting covers have the titles ‘Jane Eyre’ and ‘Frankenstein’, some of Barnhouse’s favorite books to teach, as well as ‘Everything is Illuminated,’ which is not part of the curriculum.

Hirsch’s mom is a skilled baker and the mother-daughter pair have made cookies for her teachers in the past, but the cake for Barnhouse was a totally different task.

“My mom baked the cakes while I was at school and then I decorated them with her when I got back, so it took all day.”

To sculpt the desert, the cakes were stacked and carved to be different sizes. They had to be placed carefully so they wouldn’t bend and fall apart.

Hirsch was proud that her creation was so realistic to onlookers and Barnhouse was touched by the gesture. Though Barnhouse said turning 51 wasn’t a particularly exciting milestone, the cake made it special.

I was so stunned and surprised and impressed and touched and everything else …” Barnhouse said. “No one’s ever made anything like that for me.”