Culinary Class at OCC Gives Couples a Sweet Treat


FARMINGTON HILLS — Culinary students and instructors at the Orchard Ridge campus of Oakland Community College in Farmington Hills are giving a sweet treat to six couples celebrating vow renewal ceremonies next week.

The students, members of a wedding cake design class at the Oakland Community College’s Culinary Studies Institute, spent their last week of class making hand-made gum paste roses and fondant daisies that will be used for decorative cake toppers for six couples who are celebrating many decades together, including several celebrating more than 60 years.

The couples live at The Park At Trowbridge, a Southfield retirement community operated by Brookdale Senior Living, which is hosting the Monday through Thursday celebrations. Festivities include bachelor and bachelorette parties, couples’ showers, a rehearsal dinner, a vow renewal ceremony, and reception.

Lois Hennessey, an instructor in the cake design class, said she was tickled to receive the request for cakes as her own parents just celebrated 60 years of marriage.

“When we got the call, I thought ‘What are the chances?’ she said. “This celebration is so near and dear to my heart.”

The class will donate six cake toppers decorated with plaques bearing each couple’s name and a 100-piece cake to be enjoyed by friends, family, and residents of The Park At Trowbridge. The five-week class ended two weeks ago. Instructors froze the cake parts they could make ahead of time and students and instructors who could stick around will assemble the cakes on Tuesday for the Thursday reception.

In addition to the sugary flowers, the class used decorative jewels on the toppers to go with the ‘diamonds’ anniversary theme and glued them with piping gel.

“The toppers are keepsakes and not to be eaten,” class instructor Michaelle Stidham said. “They have wires and little gems in them.”

The cake portion — which is edible — will be raspberry and chocolate with butter cream frosting, she added.

 “It is really special that a senior living retirement community has that many residents celebrating 60 years plus around the same time,” Stidham said. “The students thought it was pretty cool.”

“We do these kinds of services and other charity events in our community, but we thought this was extra special,” said program coordinator chef Susan M. Baier, who helped coordinate the event for the senior living retirement community residents.

All events will be held at The Park At Trowbridge, 24111 Civic Center Drive in Southfield. They include a bachelor and bachelorette party at 7:15 p.m., June 24; a couples’ bridal shower at 3 p.m., June 25; a rehearsal dinner at 6 p.m., June 26; a renewal ceremony 2 p.m. – 4 p.m., June 27; and a reception at 7:15 p.m., June 27.

“We are very excited to be hosting such a meaningful event for our residents,” said Michael MacDonnell, executive director at The Park At Trowbridge. “It is our hope that this event will give hope, spread joy, and help others to remember their marriages with fondness.”