Food for male thought

Amateur baker and cake decorator, Nelson Mora, poses with a few of his baking utensils in his kitchen.

AARON DAYE/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Tuesday, May 1, 2007 at 1:14 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, May 1, 2007 at 1:19 p.m.

Being a man in the kitchen doesn't always get a great reaction.

Just ask Nelson Mora. A 21-year-old civil engineering senior at the University of Florida, Mora said he recently became passionate about cake-making and decorating.

"It's like I love this stuff — no joke," said Mora, who came with his parents to Florida from Cuba when he was 12.

In fact, Mora loves it so much that he has decided to change his career focus after graduation. He ultimately hopes to open his own creative cake shop.

Some of Mora's male acquaintances give him a hard time, he said, explaining that many young men don't regard baking as a macho profession. “You like fast cars and I like baking cakes,” he said he tells them.

Mora carves his cakes and coats them with bright-colored, marshmallow-powdered sugar fondants that feel like Play-Doh. He has sculpted a soccer ball, a pink bed with a teddy bear on top, a platform shoe on a pillow, even two globes connected by a bridge to symbolize his grandmother's visit to Florida from Cuba.

Maybe more surprising than the designs themselves, though, is how Mora actually acquired his cake-decorating skills.

"My TV," he said. "I pay for cable and pretty much the only thing I (watch) is the Food Network."

For more on this story, see tomorrow's Daybreak section

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