Baking for Love: A Brainy Idea
The Cake Boss and Chef Leah complete a delicate operation but will the operation be successful?
We’ve seen plenty of festive cakes, especially coming from the popular television show Cake Boss, but this may be the only cake ever topped with a bright pink brain.
So why, you may ask, is there a brain on top of a cake?
The story begins a few years ago when a family in Malaysia learned that their younger daughter, Adele, was severely brain-injured. They discovered The Institutes and wanted to bring Adele for treatment, but such a long trip for the family would be expensive. To defray the costs, their 4-year-old daughter, Leah, had a solution. She suggested that she and her mother learn to bake by watching YouTube, then bake cupcakes to raise money to help Adele.
Leah only had one goal
Before long, Leah and her cupcakes became a baking sensation. Known as “Chef Leah with the Big Heart,” she has been featured in newspapers and television, won awards, and hailed as an entrepreneur and “game changer.” But Leah had only one goal–to help her sister get better.
A dream come true – an invitation to meet Buddy Valastro
During one of their visits to The Institutes in Philadelphia, Leah and her mother were invited to visit Carlo’s Bake Shop in New Jersey, home of the Cake Boss show. Leah, with master baker Bartolo “Buddy” Valastro, designed and constructed a two-layer cake as a salute to The Institutes.
Buddy and Leah create a cake together on the show
Covered in white fondant, the cake was decorated with The Institutes name, a dark-blue Institutes logo, and a baby crawling, creeping, brachiating, and walking – and topped with that anatomically correct coral-colored brain. Representing the medical help that Adele received there, the cake also featured a stethoscope and scalpel, but Leah drew the line at depicting medications of any kind.
Not a “Cake Walk” – the Cake arrives at Clark Hall where crowds gather to admire it and perhaps get a taste.
Finally the day arrived when the Carlo’s Bake Shop truck pulled into The Institutes circular drive. With extreme care the large cake box was delivered to an eager crowd of students, staff, Adele, Leah, and their parents. After great fanfare and the cake’s presentation, Leah and her mother helped to cut and serve the cake to everyone present, which also included parents attending the What to Do About Your Brain-Injured Child course. For those parents, this was their first visit to The Institutes, and they were just beginning their journey on the pathway to wellness.
“I love her more than I love myself”
One question that didn’t need to be asked – “What happens to the siblings when the family undertakes the home treatment program?” The answer – they step up, get involved, and become part of the solution. As Leah says during the Cake Boss episode: “I want to help my sister, because she is my only sister and I love her more than I can love myself.”
Click here to view the episode of Cake Boss featuring Chef Leah: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-kQp_GYOBc
Read more about Leah and her mission to help her sister: https://iahp.org/cerebral-palsy-story-hope-love-malaysia/
Read about Chef Leah With a Big Heart on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chefleahwithabigheart