UMass Amherst to Celebrate Sesquicentennial on Monday With 150-pound Old Chapel Birthday Cake


DATE:           Monday, April 29
TIME:            11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
WHAT:          Founders Day Festivities, Lunch and Birthday Cake
WHERE:       Goodell Hall lawn across from Old Chapel
Thousands of guests are expected on the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus on Monday, April 29 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the signing of the campus charter. Befitting the occasion, there will be a birthday cake-cutting ceremony with Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy, a group sing of “Happy Birthday” with the Minuteman Marching Band, T-shirt giveaway, Sam the Minuteman and football team members, plus a “green” lunch featuring locally produced foods such as cole slaw, free-range chicken, veggie burgers and roasted vegetables.
It was on April 29, 1863 that Governor John Andrews signed the charter to form Massachusetts Agricultural College, creating the first Board of Trustees for what would become Massachusetts State College in 1931 and the University of Massachusetts in 1947.
Four UMass Amherst Dining Services bakers have been working more than a week to create a 150-pound birthday cake in the shape of the Old Chapel to be unveiled at the outdoor picnic. Head pastry chef Simon Stevenson says that about 10 sheet cakes will form the base for a three-foot rendering of the chapel carved from Styrofoam and decorated with frosting. The edible base cakes, frosted to look like grass, will be served to party guests.
“Making sure it’s a good rendition of the chapel is a challenge,” says the chef. “We used a lot of photos to get the proportions right.” He and assistant pastry chef Pamela Adams, with bakers April Bent and Shannon Santangelo, will carefully shepherd the cake in the back of a truck from their kitchen to the Goodell Hall lawn at about three miles per hour on Monday, to deliver intact the biggest cake they have ever made.