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SHERMAN OAKS : You Get to Eat Cake and Help Out Too

You’ve heard about Movie Star Barbie and Gymnast Barbie, but what about Chocolate Cake Barbie?

Next week, a Sherman Oaks bakery will hold the first in a series of cake-decorating classes in an effort to collect donated goods for the Union Rescue Mission, a charity that provides meals and services to Los Angeles’ Skid Row population.

Jaleh Sagheb, head cake chef at SolleysRestaurant, Delicatessen and Bakery, will demonstrate how to decorate a Barbie doll cake, in which Barbie is placed waist-deep in four layers of cake that are contoured to form a bell-like skirt.

Students will be asked to contribute 13--a baker’s dozen--dollars, canned goods or packages of disposable diapers. The first class will be next Thursday, and on the last Thursday of every month thereafter.

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“We’re very grateful because the need is great,” said Cori Barron, public relations coordinator for Union Rescue. “We see it as an innovative way for the business community to get involved in making some positive change in Los Angeles.”

The Barbie doll cake was chosen for the first class because it is the most popular of the specialty cakes offered by Solleys, according to the bakery’s namesake and owner, Sol Zide.

“Barbie is an ageless thing,” Zide said. “I recently had a 50-year-old woman come in and say, ‘I want a Barbie doll cake.’ ”

Real Barbies are used, and Solleys offers a wide variety of races and hair color--as well as cake type and icing color--to meet the specifications of the customer.

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At a recent demonstration, Sagheb made it look easy as she decorated a Barbie doll cake to fill an order. Using a pastry bag and pink icing, the decorator added ruffles, streamers and bows to gussy up Barbie’s ball gown. Still using icing, she fashioned a top for the doll with puffy sleeves and a plunging neckline in back.

When she was finished, she pulled out the toothpick that had been holding Barbie’s hair back in a bun, arranged the golden locks and placed a dainty icing rosebud in her hair.

The benefit series is Zide’s second effort in support of Union Rescue. The first was last Christmas Day, when Zide dropped off a truckload of surplus Christmas cakes and cookies at the mission.

“The line was around the block. The fact that they were there on Christmas Day--it just grabbed me,” Zide recalled. “It just felt good to help them out.” Solleys also donates day-old bread to the Salvation Army.

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Future classes will give pointers on decorating Halloween cupcakes, balloon birthday cakes, and Christmas and Hanukkah cakes.

For the first class, students are asked to BYOB--bring your own Barbie. To sweeten the deal, students get to take home their creations--not inconsequential when you consider that Barbie doll cakes cost from $49.50 to $62.50.


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