Two months into Donald J. Trump’s presidency, as new reasons to gather in solidarity and resistance arise almost daily, the sight of people carrying protest signs verges on the status quo. What you see less often on the way to a rally is someone carrying a cake.
The idea for Protest Cakes came to Illinois-based Tess Wilson, a former Blue Bottle pastry chef, in mid-air. En route to San Francisco on Jan. 28, the same weekend crowds of people gathered at airports across the country to protest President Trump’s first travel ban, Wilson wondered if she could bring her particular skills -- making inventive thematic desserts -- to the protest movement.
“It came in a flash,” Wilson says. “We could make cakes to serve at protests and express our displeasure in the best way we know how, while also nourishing the people fighting the good fight.” She just had to convince her old coworker and frequent collaborator, artist Leah Rosenberg, to join her.
Rosenberg’s answer was an immediate yes. “There was no time to spare,” she says.
Protest Cakes made its debut a week later at the “No Ban, No Wall” rally at San Francisco's Civic Center with the “Seven Nations Cake,” featuring ingredients from the countries subject to the initial travel ban. In one Instagram post, the round cake (absent a hefty slice), sits on a table with a pastel-hued City Hall in the background. “Democracy is hungry work!” reads the caption.