Colby College celebrated its 200th birthday on Feb. 27 with a 600-lb. cake prepared by dining services provider Sodexo. The company's master baker, Dave Okapal of Temple University and Colby Executive Chef Wendy Benney used 240 lbs. of butter, 240 lbs. of sugar, 95 lbs. of flour, 720 eggs and 120 lbs. of fondant to create a seven-foot cake replicating the college’s iconic Miller Library.
In 1813 Baptists had created the Maine Literary and Theological Institution. Eight years later it was renamed Waterville College. In 1867 trustees voted to call it Colby University in recognition of Gardner Colby, who made a $50,000 donation that saved the financially strapped institution at a critical time. Later renamed Colby College, it outgrew its downtown location and, in 1952, completed the move to its Mayflower Hill campus.
Okapal, known in the company as “Baker Dave,” is a silver medal winner of the “Extreme Wedding Cakes” competition on Food Network Challenge and designs cakes for Sodexo’s partner campuses throughout the country.
When Okapal and Benney were finished combining more than 600 pounds of ingredients, the cake measured seven feet long, two feet from front to back, and seven feet tall. The cake’s library tower even had a blue light, just like the actual 191-foot tower on Miller Library.
“A celebration of this importance is deserving of an impressive cake,” says Varun Avasthi, Sodexo district manager. “We knew Baker Dave and Chef Wendy could make that happen.”
Presentation of the cake was the culmination of a full day of events on campus, and President Adams served as master of ceremonies and cut the first piece.Sodexo also played a significant role in Colby’s bicentennial festivities, including a “fun foods" event featuring regional food delicacies. Students and faculty enjoyed Maine fries with local cheese curd and gravy in a bamboo cone, Acadian buckwheat ployes with Maine maple cream and local applesauce, Gifford's Lobster Tracks ice cream bites in a tuile cookie cone, Maine blueberry meatball skewers, and Maine rock-crab "Crabby Patties."
On Colby’s Bicentennial Day all three campus dining halls showcased a dinner open to students, faculty, and staff with a menu featuring local Maine products including family-style steamship rounds of beef.