How to celebrate publication with cake

I thought I’d re-enter blogging with a storified version of how we celebrated the first peer-review publication of my labmate/roommate Kate Willis. I chose the celebratory medium of CAKE.

The paper (here) is in Biological Conservation, and it’s a review of ecological monitoring (mostly vegetation) in U.S. protected areas (e.g National Park Service, BLM-managed land, etc.) Kate is a single author, and B.C. has a respectable impact factor. In short, this is a B.F.D.!

We decided to host a manuscript party. The cake was intended as an homage to the paper. Since coastal sage scrub is so prevalent ’round here — especially in the Santa Monica Mountains and Channel Islands where Kate largely works — the cake recipe had to have fresh sage. I chose this apple-sage cake recipe. Turbinado as sweetener gave it a nice flavor.


Beautiful fresh sage

I had never shredded Granny Smith apples before, but even at the batter stage, results looked promising.


Cake batter, before cooking. Chopped sage, shredded apple, and turbinado yield a great flavor.

I baked, and waited. While waiting, an amazing smell began to permeate the apartment. I happily browsed and chose chapters for my spring seminar class “Fueling the Future” on energy resources. Evaluations from last year actually complained there was not enough reading assigned. So, we’ll be delving into Yergin this year.


The cat looks skeptical.

At last, we had a perfect bake! Kate had made cream cheese frosting the day before. I made sure it underwent multiple taste tests and trials (like a good scientist). After confirming its tastiness under various conditions, I applied it to the cake. The turbinado-sage-apple-cream cheese was shaping up to be an awesome mix of complimentary flavors. I began to grow even more excited for the final reveal and tasting.


Cartoon by Allie Brosh

Earlier in the week, I had invited people to our place Saturday night, promising other food, and the cake as the Main Event. I got a little slap-happy in the course of writing the email:

“There will be a celebratory cake, decorated according to the keywords of Kate’s paper. I’m not revealing more in the hopes this will entice you to come. Rest assured it will be awesome. In fact, it will have it’s own DOI.

“This will be followed by a dramatic reading of the paper.”

I definitely got a few “Dude r u joking” replies to this.

So now we had sage cake. I added other elements to deliver on my promise of themed decorations:


The cake was well-received, and a hit. Hopefully Kate’s paper will similarly disseminate, get cited, and we have thus marked the start of a promising h-index.

2 thoughts on “How to celebrate publication with cake

  1. Wow, this is great. I am inspired to make a theme cake. It’s easier than publishing a paper and more delicious to boot. I did’t know you had a blog, a great read, funny.

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