Miles James and Cake Monster: Heritage Hunters – St. Charles County Heritage Museum at Heritage Park

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Cake #56 at St. Charles County Heritage Museum at Heritage Park

Cake #56 at St. Charles County Heritage Museum at Heritage Park

The next stop on our journey was at the St. Charles County Heritage Museum at Heritage Park. As our feet touched dusty ground in the parking lot just in front the of the cake, I felt a cool breeze and paused for a moment to take a deep breath. And in that moment, Miles and I could both feel our cake hunting heritage – from the voters who decided to make this location the home of a cake, to the artist who designed and painted it, to the mysterious cake placer people who carried this beast to it’s final resting place and finally to the other cake hunters like myself who had visited this cake before me and those that would visit it after we had left.

Best ear itch ever!

Best ear itch ever!

All of this was part of our cake hunting heritage, and the gravity of this realization was not lost on Miles as he walked right up to the cake and had the best ear itch of his life using the base of the cake as a resting post.

An integral part of our cake hunting heritage is the St. Charles County Museum itself which is dedicated to educating the public about the history of St. Charles County through interactive displays and different exhibits. The location of the museum is unique as well as the land on which it sits was a popular recreation area for local St. Charles County residents for many, many years.

So with the dust of our heritage on our flip flops and paws and a little more knowledge in our heads, Miles and I bid farewell to this cake location and continued our journey into the wilds of St. Charles.

Getting Historical With It – Fort Zumwalt Park #55

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Cake #55 at Fort Zumwalt Park

Cake #55 at Fort Zumwalt Park

With visions of the delicious fruit and vegetables I saw at the Soulard Farmers Market still dancing through my mind, and a lingering sugar rush from the cupcakes I sampled at the Sweet Divine, I decided to spend the rest of the afternoon exploring some awesomely historical cake locations with Mr. Miles James. (And I guess I can almost admit getting up early sometimes does have it’s perks…)

Our first stop was at Fort Zumwalt Park in O’Fallon, MO, and I don’t say this often, but the cake placer people were pretty clever in their placement of this cake. Fort Zumwalt Park is huge, like enormous, with plenty of ways for this cake monster to get lost. And, of course, by this time in my cake hunting adventure, my trusty phone navigation system was beginning to fail me, so once we entered the Park, it pretty much told me I was at my destination and gave up on me.

So I took this as a sign and decided that I was meant to find this cake like the ancient settlers – with intuition and a blind, if perhaps ridiculous, faith that everything will just kind of work itself out.

Cake #55 at Fort Zumwalt Park

Cake #55 at Fort Zumwalt Park

As we drove around the Park, we did see some amazing architecture and later I learned that in around 1798 Jacob Zumwalt, a contemporary and kind of neighbor of Daniel Boone, settled his family into a large log cabin on the property now known as Fort Zumwalt Park. When the War of 1812 began, local families took shelter at his home which he fortified against attacks from Native Americans. They even used the large lake, Lake Whetsel, that’s still used for fishing and recreation today, for water.

So as I drove around the lake and other buildings, taking in the scenery and feeling historical, I finally came back around to the exit for the park and lo and behold, the lovely cake that we had set out to find. And so like the settlers of yore, Miles and I took a moment to admire our find, pausing only to rest a bit and gather our strength before looking to the horizon and continuing our adventure.

How Sweet It Is to Find Other Cake Enthusiasts – The Sweet Divine #54

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Cake #54 at the Sweet Divine

Cake #54 at the Sweet Divine

What’s the perfect thing to do after walking around the Soulard Famers Market all morning? Why just moseying down the street a little to the Sweet Divine to sample some of their delicious treats!

The Sweet Divine is a cute little bakery in Soulard owned by husband and wife Jenna and Jason. It was chosen as a cake location by public vote and although they’ve only been around since 2011, this little shop has seen some great accomplishments!

Cake #54 at the Sweet Divine

Cake #54 at the Sweet Divine

Probably the most exciting of these is the fact that the Sweet Divine crew competed on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars and won! :)

I definitely support any local business that represents St. Louis on a national level, but when I tried their cupcakes, I was hooked…seriously try the cupcakes, you will thank me!

2014-04-12 11.29.43AND as if I wasn’t in love with this new sweet spot already, they even had their own little mini cake inside that of course I had to add to my collection of cake pictures.

So even though getting up early is definitely not my style, this part of the day turned out pretty good. In fact, getting up so early to hunt these two cakes gave me a great idea about how I would spend the rest of my day…to be continued!

Breaking Rules and Buying Local – Soulard Farmers Market #53

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In my regular, non-cake hunting life, I live by 3 simple rules:

1. I do not get up early, especially on weekends.

2. I do not run even when crossing the street.

3. I stay away from sketchy people, places and things.

However, for the sake of cake hunting, I have been known to break Rules #1 and #2 when the situation calls for it. And for Rule #3, well, I usually don’t have a choice about breaking that one.

Cake #53 at the Soulard Farmer's Market

Cake #53 at the Soulard Farmers Market

For Cake #53, at the Soulard Farmers Market, I decided to break Rule #1 and get up far earlier than I normally would on a Saturday morning to join my parents and family friends for a little cake hunting and Farmers Market shopping.

Now you may have been to the Farmers Market to check out their goods and buy some fresh produce, however, I bet you didn’t know that the Soulard Farmers Market has some pretty deep origins in St. Louis.

Cake #53 at the Soulard Farmer's Market

Cake #53 at the Soulard Farmers Market

In 1779 the land that is now the Farmers Market was a simple meadow where local farmers would go to sell their crops and livestock. Antoine Soulard was given the land that included what is now the Farmers Market in 1795, but it wasn’t until after several legal battles and his death that his widow Julia Soulard (girl power!) officially obtained the deed to the land and set aside two blocks for the Farmers Market. And I, for one, am pretty thankful she did.

Now every Wednesday through Saturday you can pop by the Farmers Market and take advantage of locally grown fruits, veggies and other delicious foods.

2014-04-12 11.05.42You can even pick up some cute little chickadees like the ones I saw when I went to the Market that Saturday.

So I suppose the lesson I learned that day is that if you’re going to break Rule #1 and get up early, at the very least there better be a cake involved…or pretzels or chocolate or any of the other awesome “breakfast” foods I got to try that morning :)

Cake #53 at the Soulard Farmer's Market

Cake #53 at the Soulard Farmers Market

Supporting Local Artists and Cake Hunters Everywhere – The Regional Arts Commission #52

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Cake #52 at the Regional Arts Commission

Cake #52 at the Regional Arts Commission

Over the course of my cake hunt, Miles and I made many trips to the Delmar Loop to see different cakes. So even though Mercutio and I had only recently been in the Loop to see a movie and the cake at COCA, a few days later Miles and I made a quick trip down to the Loop to see the cake at the Regional Arts Commission.

Before I was a cake hunter, I didn’t know much about the Regional Arts Commission. But after seeing the cake there and learning more about them, I started seeing their influence and support throughout different cultural events in St. Louis.

Cake #52 at the Regional Arts Commission

Cake #52 at the Regional Arts Commission

Plus the Regional Arts Commission was founded in 1985 just like me, so we were already meant to form a bond :)

The Regional Arts Commission is many things, but I think they say it best on their website, “…we are proud of our St. Louis cultural identity and want to do whatever we can to grow, sustain and promote that identity in the future.”

Back of the cake

Back of the cake

One of the ways that they did this around Halloween in 2014 was to have local artists carve and decorate seven pumpkins then hide them around St. Louis in different cultural spots. Then they released clues as to where these pumpkins were hidden and created a sort of a scavenger hunt for people like me who love that kind of stuff.

IMG_3696While most of the pumpkins were at locations that also had cakes, one of the pumpkins was at the Contemporary Arts Museum, and Mercutio and I took a night off from cake hunting to and see that pumpkin for ourselves.

IMG_3695And as if I didn’t love this organization enough, the Regional Arts Commission is also a sponsor of the Cakeway to the West cake hunt. The cool points are definitely out the window for this place!

Cake Monster, Pumpkin Hunter, All Around Scavenger Hunter – COCA #51

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Cake #51 at COCA

Cake #51 at COCA

For the next cake on the list, Mercutio and I had just finished seeing a movie at the Tivoli Theater in the Delmar Loop when I slyly suggested that before we go our separate ways, we take a quick moment to see the cake at COCA (the Center Of Creative Arts). And being the Mercutio Krispytreats that he is, he decided this was an excellent idea!

The Center for the Creative Arts is a nonprofit organization that helps to bring art to the community through educational classes, performances and other programs that bring people together through art.

Cake #51 at COCA

Cake #51 at COCA

Plus the building that is now COCA started out as a synagogue built by famous architect Eric Mendelsohn. In 1985 the owners of the congregation using the synagogue sold it to Richard Baron who took advantage of its already incredible design and created an accessible space for fostering and creating art. The building is also on the National Register of Historic Places, which seems to be a theme for several of the cake locations (yay St. Louis history!).

While I’ve never been to a performance at COCA, the Center does hold a special place in my heart because in October 2014 the Regional Arts Commission had a carved pumpkin scavenger hunt across St. Louis and one of the pumpkins on their hunt was at COCA. So for a little while in October, this cake monster became a pumpkin hunter and spent her lunch breaks driving around hunting pumpkins.

Regional Arts Commission Pumpkin Scavenger Hunt

Regional Arts Commission Pumpkin Scavenger Hunt

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Cake Monster Tries to Get Haunted – Payne Gentry House #50

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Cake #50 at the Payne Gentry House

Cake #50 at the Payne Gentry House

Ah, here we are at cake #50! It’s been a crazy journey so far to say the least, and with about 200 cakes to go, we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of all the sketchy things I’ve seen!

The cake that will forever have the honor of being #50 was at the Payne Gentry House in Bridgeton.

You may remember that the Payne Gentry House was a previous cake fail on an earlier cake-venture (read about it here). And even though it hadn’t been that long since Miles and I had experienced that cake-failure, we still decided to head out (or rather, I decided, and he can’t resist a car ride) to try to see this cake.

2014-04-08 18.37.30Now I knew a little bit about the Payne Gentry House before we began our adventure…mainly just the fact that it’s one of the most haunted locations in Missouri. And on a previous cake hunt when Mercutio and I had seen the cake at the Lemp Mansion – also known to be highly haunted – I made the declaration that of all the things I wanted to see over the course of my cake hunt, the thing I wanted to see the most was a ghost (dare to dream, right? It’s ok, Mercutio didn’t take my declaration seriously either).

So when I set out to see the cake at the Payne Gentry House, I was pretty excited to get to go to a second location where seeing a ghost was a possibility.

Back of the cake

Back of the cake

Ok, ghosts aside, let’s talk history: The Payne Gentry House is on the National Register of Historic Places which is a pretty big deal. Originally it was the summer home of Elbridge Payne and his family until they eventually moved into it full time. William Payne, Elbridge’s son, became the town doctor and had his office in the basement of the house. Personally I don’t know if I’d go to a Dr. Payne…but anyway…

Apparently some of William’s original tools and office furnishings are still in the house, which may contribute to the rumors that it is haunted.

Cake #50 at the Payne Gentry House

Cake #50 at the Payne Gentry House

But sadly, although Miles and I walked around the property a few times,and cautiously looked in a few windows – you have no idea how many times I’ve looked in historic buildings’ windows and seen a mannequin or two, so I only advise doing this with extreme caution! – we didn’t see any unusual activity or movements, but I did take lots of pictures just to be sure.

And even though it was a failed ghost hunt, it was still a successful cake hunt and the Payne Gentry House – as the 50th cake – could finally be crossed off the list!

Here's the sign in front of the house letting you know you're in the right place

Here’s the sign in front of the house letting you know you’re in the right place

This was in the yard?

This was in the yard?