Last week, Cake & Loaf Bakery did what they do every single day. They made a custom cake for a client. This particular cake however, happens to have gone viral and has been named “The Gayest Cake In The World”! In fact, the cake has earned itself the top spot on Google Images’ search for “Gay Cake”. Huffpost, Buzzfeed, PinkNews and Out Magazine have all featured this work of art and helped share it with the world.
In case you somehow missed it, I present to you the GAYEST CAKE IN THE WORLD.
This cake was created for Chris Farias and Jared Lenover to celebrate their anniversary. When Chris called in the order, his instructions were specific: a cake so gay that anyone who didn’t support same-sex marriage would throw it in a trash can and set in on fire. Cake and Loaf’s response: We’re on it!
There’s so much right in this story. The cake, the fact that a couple can get a gay cake without discrimination, the fact that over 4,000 people (and counting) have shared the story of the “Gayest Cake In The World”, the fact that the cake decorator (can we just call her “The Artist” already?) Quinn Pallister has two moms and of course, the tens of thousands of well-wishes that Chris and Jared have received.
It’s no great surprise to me that Chris and Jared’s cake has gone viral. It is truly exceptional, gorgeous and about so much more than just a cake. This beautiful story has lessons for all of us as we navigate our relationships, both business and personal. Here are just 5 of them:
1. SEEK TO REALLY UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER (LIKE, REALLY).
Chris asked for the GAYEST cake they could make. The person on the other end of the line asked a simple-but-crucial question: “How gay are we talking?” By asking a clarifying question, Cake & Loaf ensured that they were getting to the heart of exactly what Chris was looking for.
How often do we take surface level answers and avoid going deeper with the people around us? Be honest with this question because your answer will ultimately affect the quality of the relationships you make and keep. By asking the other person to elaborate, we are showing a genuine interest in what they have to say and are ultimately building more trust with them while we get to learn about their needs and wants.
2. FIND YOUR PEOPLE (AS IN, NO FAKERS).
Imagine if Chris had called a different bakery – one where the artist didn’t have two Moms or wasn’t as deeply connected to the meaning behind this cake. Imagine if the artist didn’t share a deeply human connection to Chris and Jared’s purpose and the importance of their RIGHT to order a gay cake.
When articulate our why, we give others the opportunity to connect to it. Unfortunately, too many of us don’t take the time to find share our purpose – to let others know what matters most. The most creative results are born when we collaborate with people who understand and share our why.
3. REFLECT PEOPLE BACK TO THEMSELVES (ALL OF THEM).
Before I explain, let me share this photo from Chris’ Facebook profile:
Full disclosure, Chris and I are personal friends. And, if I had to draw a picture of him, in cake form, this would be EXACTLY what it would look like.
In this interview with Huffpost, Quinn said that he she was inspired by Chris’ warm personality when deciding how to pull the elements of the cake together. I’m not sure if she took the time to check out his Facebook photos in advance but she personified him… in cake form.
So often, we don’t consider all of the pieces of the person we are trying to connect with and sometimes, we miss so many little things that it becomes a big thing. People want to be seen. They want to know that they belong just as they are, with all of their pieces.
4. CHOOSE YOUR POSSE (IT CAN’T BE “EVERYONE”).
The Gayest Cake In The World is most certainly not for everyone. In fact, we all know that there is a whole segment of the population who would want to throw it in a garbage can and set it on fire. But, by Chris, Jared and Quinn working together to bring it to life and subsequently sharing it with the world, they’re creating psychological safety for their community – their posse.
By leading and putting your whole self out in the world, you show your community that they are not alone. You show your community that they matter. You show them that they can stand up and be seen, in spite of any potential haters.
5. LOVE > HATE.
As Chris said in a follow-up post, where he shared a t-shirt he designed, it’s not about a cake. It’s about so much more. Instead of fighting AGAINST anyone, commissioning and sharing the cake was only an act of positivity. Of love.
When we disagree with each other, it is so easy to dehumanize the other person and point out the ways in which they are wrong. The thing is, if your goal is to affect change, you’re not going to get anywhere with this approach. By leading with positivity and love, we create a safe space for people to learn and grow (and maybe even see your point of view).
If you love this story - if you're Chris & Jared's people - consider purchasing Chris' shirt design! All of the proceeds are going to support LBGTQ charity organizations.