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But a recent wedding cake might take the cake for weirdest — and riskiest — says McKelven. That’s right, it’s Gritty.
McKelven, the owner of Kia’s Cakes & Cafe in Lansdowne, was recently commissioned to create a three-tier wedding cake for Catherine Coll and Michael Bair, but the groom had one strange request: To McKelven’s delight, he wanted a Gritty cake.
“It was added onto the couple’s order a week before the wedding,” she said. “They came in and asked if it would be too much trouble to add it — they’d already ordered a traditional wedding cake. I thought the idea was hilarious and it’s always so refreshing when a couple is willing to have fun with their wedding day.”
The cake took just under a half-hour to make, according to McKelven. It’s a chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream filling and vanilla frosting.
To McKelven’s surprise, photos of the cake have gone viral.
“I’m still in shock,” she said of the viral reaction to the cake. “We’d joked (the couple and I) about posting the pictures and how much the guests at the wedding would enjoy it but I had no idea it would get this much notice.”
And now everyone wants a cake of their favorite mascot.
“Yes, we are making Gritty cupcakes at the bakery all this week,” McKelven said. “We’ve also been getting lots of inquiries about Gritty cakes for birthdays and the upcoming holidays.”
But it’s not just customers that love Gritty. McKelven says the cake ranks at the top of her list of her favorite cakes she’s ever done.
“I have some designs that are still near and dear to my heart, but as far as cakes that were just fun to do, Gritty is right up there,” she said. “With the orders coming in, I feel I’ll be able to really explore getting just the right amount of crazy to shine through his eyes.”
The Flyers unveiled their crazy-eyed mascot in late September. In the weeks since, Gritty has become a viral sensation, a meme and even a favorite among protesters.
Even outside of Philadelphia, Gritty is an internet celebrity. He transcends sports. He’s silly and lovable, but most of all, he’s someone people of all walks of life can connect with, believes McKelven.
“I’m not into sports at all, but I think that’s why I like Gritty so much,” she said. “Without knowing about teams or scores, I knew about him because he’s someone I could connect with and a way to be part of something I normally wouldn’t.
“I live in Delco now but I grew up in Philly,” she continued. “I love all things silly, offbeat, daring and risky. So, for me, Gritty represents stepping off the beaten path and appealing to the side of all of us that wants to show up in sweats and house shoes and wild out like nobody’s looking. Plus, I just think he’s brilliant.”