Once upon a time, in the sprinkle-coated lands of the Cakey Kingdom, a mysterious stranger came to town. The stranger was peddling a wondrous new kind of icing: an icing so pure, so heavenly, that only those of unimpeachable character could see or taste it.
Since most of the Cakey Kingdom citizens didn't know what "unimpeachable" meant, they all immediately pretended they could see the wondrous icing - when, in fact, they could not.
"Oh, yeah. I totally see it. Yup."
Soon all the Cakey Kingdom people were raving about the wondrous icing - though without ever agreeing on its exact color or flavor.
The Kingdom's food critic finally settled the matter by describing the icing as, "a sublime mix somewhere between a summer's sunset and the color of lullabies." Which everyone agreed was exactly right.
At their customers' insistence, all the bakers in the Kingdom gamely purchased great big barrels of the lighter-than-air icing from the mysterious stranger, slathering it on their cakes with gusto, and perfecting the art of keeping a straight face during deliveries:
Occasionally a small child would cry, "But, I want my cake FROSTED!" and the embarrassed parents would have to hogtie the toddler and shuffle home in shame. There they would have a stern talk about philosophy and keeping your head down.
Eventually the new icing craze began to take its toll: cakes drying out left and right, roving gangs of black market "frost-iteers" scalping canned frosting on the street, and the pie business booming with its new slogan, "You can really SEE the difference!"
Even so, the old Emperor himself requested the wondrous new icing for his royal birthday cake. So the palace bakers purchased gallons of the stuff, and on the big day all of the Emperor's subjects gathered round for the grand unveiling.
As the cake was slowly wheeled into the throne room, the aged Emperor peered down his jewel-encrusted spectacles, bushy brows furrowed. The court held its collective breath as he silently scrutinized every tier of his birthday cake.
After several long, breathless moments, the Emperor lowered his spectacles.
"That," he said gravely, "is the ugliest cake I have ever seen."
The courtiers gasped, the royal bakers cringed back in terror, and at least one sullen teenager snickered.
Then, to everyone's astonishment, the old Emperor began to laugh. And laugh. And laugh!
"Finally," he wheezed, dabbing at his eyes. "After all these years, and all these perfect, beautiful cakes, at long last I have something I can send to Cake Wrecks!"
** THE END **
Thanks to Miranda R. and Anony M. for the reminder that there is always a silver lining. And in the case of cake, it's a silver lining you can eat. (Also,"naked" wedding cakes are totally a thing now. It's like bakers WANT this blog to live forever.)