Carey Iennaccaro walked through a small room as a half dozen people hurried with their final touches on Sunday and confided in partner Mike Elder that she was a little nervous.
In just about an hour, she would climb into the car made especially for this day, settle into the snug seat with her helmet secure and roll down Kansas City’s Wyandotte Street. Hundreds of onlookers would cheer her down the street, knowing a Guinness world record was on the line.
They’ve worked too hard, for too long, not to make it, she thought.
“I don’t want to let anyone down,” Iennaccaro said.
Did we mention that the black seat Iennaccaro sat on is made of cake, the speedometer is just a sweet imitation made of icing, and her helmet is crafted with molding chocolate and melted sugar? And, oh yeah, that car, the one modeled to look like a 1933 Marmon race car and meant to set a land speed record, is made mostly of cake and other confections.
In fact, you could eat just about everything but the tires, aluminum chassis and brakes.
The car and the attempt at a Guinness record were all part of KC CakeFest, a charity event created by Elder, owner of Black Sheep Custom Cakes in Clinton, Mo. All proceeds benefit The Whole Person, a nonprofit center for independent living that connects people with disabilities to the resources they need.
To reach the record, the car had to be 95 percent edible. (After taking into account how much the chassis and other equipment weighed, the car needed to come in at 711 pounds or more.) It would have to get up to at least 10 mph and at least some of it had to be able to be served at the end.
“The biggest concern is the wheels giving out,” Elder said before the attempt. “We have to hit 10 mph.”
Iennaccaro and Elder had crucial help from area car experts. Jason Slover, manager of Pete & Jake’s Hot Rod Parts in Peculiar, and Bob Schumacher, owner of Vintage Fabrication in Independence, designed the car’s chassis. They drew inspiration from a 1933 Marmon race car.
Record or not, the goal was to come together for a good cause, entertain people and show the softer side of cake decorating and creating. Not the nasty side that is often shown on reality cake shows.
“We’re all a little fed up with how the world thinks we are cutthroat and negative,” said Iennaccaro, assistant cake artist for the project and owner of Sprinkled With Sugar in Olathe. “We’re all about having fun.”
The weekend was all about fun for a cause. At CakeFest, people could buy tickets to sample cupcakes, watch professionals at work, cruise by crazy good designer cakes, decorate their own cupcake and even chuck one at somebody.
Cupcake sampling was one of the biggest draws.
“People would be lined up for tickets,” said Christi Campos, director of development for The Whole Person. “It was like they were lined up for a rock star or something.”
Same went for the car of cake. Although the show on Wyandotte Street was a little late — organizers had to wait a while for the scales to arrive and weigh the car — people didn’t seem to mind.
It was all part of the fun.
When onlookers finally got a look at the car, many ran up to get a picture of something they soon hoped to help eat. Others waited on the sidewalk, eager to see Iennaccaro climb in.
“I want to be her,” Northlander Joy Decker, 14, told friend Megan Slaggie.
“She’s going to get hurt,” said Megan, also 14.
But Joy reassured: “She has a helmet.”
Yeah, but one made by a New Jersey cake artist that you can eat.
Joy and Megan watched as the car, with one strong shove, cruised past them down Wyandotte.
So far, so good. No flying cake. No wheels falling off.
A few seconds later, the car of cake stopped. Iennaccaro never even applied the brakes.
Elder ran down to congratulate her.
Was the car heavy enough?
“We beat it by five pounds,” Elder said, grinning.
How about speed?
“It got up to 28 mph.”
Elder’s grin got bigger as he looked over at his partner, the chocolate helmet already off and onlookers lined up for a handful of cake.
So about that record? Do they think they’ll get it?
Said Elder: “We’re sure of it.”
Next year the crew plans to go for another record. They just haven’t decided which one.