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Posted at 8:00 AM ET, 02/ 3/2011

Centennial cake is a monument to Reagan, chocolate

By Kelly DiNardo

Ronald Reagan’s sweet tooth is well documented; the 40th president even has a portrait made out of his favorite candy – Jelly Belly jelly beans – hanging in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library. So the six-foot-by-six-foot birthday cake that will be unveiled at the library on Sunday for the centennial of his birth is not just celebratory but also a monument to, well, chocolate.

Admittedly, not all of the five-layer concoction is cake. The first layer, fondant-covered Styrofoam, serves as a base for a layer of fondant-covered Rice Krispies treats, which supports a massive chocolate cake. A second fondant-covered Styrofoam layer buttresses another, smaller chocolate cake. The whole thing is then topped with a chocolate bald eagle.

Over the last three weeks, chef David Laufer, who designed the cake, has been working in the basement kitchen of the Four Seasons at Westlake Village with a team to create the various segments, including edible portraits of Reagan and the Presidential Seal. The result will be brought over to the library in pieces and assembled there.

So what exactly does it take to create a six-foot high birthday cake? Laufer and nine other cooks worked more than 160 hours for the Ronald Reagan centennial cake, which will include 25 sheets of edible rice paper, 90 pounds of chocolate, 100 pounds of flour, 200 pounds each of butter and fondant, 400 eggs and a staggering 20,000 Jelly Bellys.

Kelly DiNardo's work has appeared in USA Today, The Washington Post, Glamour, Redbook and others. Her first book, "Gilded Lili: Lili St. Cyr and the Striptease Mystique," was released in 2007.

By Kelly DiNardo  | February 3, 2011; 8:00 AM ET
Tags:  Kelly DiNardo  
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