Sadly, we must accept the fact that there is no baking version of Les Amis de Paris-Roubaix. That volunteer organization works hard all year round to repair and maintain the cobblestone tracks that make the Hell of the North so Hellish.
However, there was no such cobblestones expertise on display with the Thank You Tom cake presented to Boonen before his final race, this weekend’s Paris-Roubaix.
The cake decoration shows a peloton chasing the three riders ahead on a road of light brown icing meant to look like a cobbled road. However, the sugary cobblestones are far too large to accurately portray the famous stones.
The second, and perhaps more grave error, is the generic quality of the cake cobblestone sector. No effort was made to represent such dramatic sectors as Carrefour de l’Arbre, the Forest of Arenberg or the fearsomeMons-en-Pévèle.
Baker Serge Leflour insisted that he was given no specific direction other than make a road of brown icing that appears to be stone-like. “I’m a baker. To expect some sort of perfect reproduction of a cobblestone road in Paris-Roubaix is asking too much. Really, we’re just trying to make the cake look nice” said Leflour.
However, critics were quick to point out that the cake failed to capture the chaos and carnage of L’enfer du Nord. “Where’s the blood, broken bikes and broken bikes? Why are all the little figurines upright? It’s ridiculous,” said Philippe Boué, a TV commentator for France2. “Really, if the cake is supposed to be Paris-Roubaix, it should be all smashed. This is just a cute dessert.”
Other experts also found the cake to be counter to the spirit of Paris-Roubaix. “Super and butter and flour. Does that sound like Hell to you? asked Michel Sucré, a retired rider who finished the legendary race seven times. “Paris-Roubaix is a kick in the face. So perhaps we should throw the cake at Boonen. That would make more sense.”
However, Leflour the baker refused to engage in any polemic over how to best portray the cobblestones with cake icing. “It’s just a cake, okay? It could be Paris-Roubaix or it could be the Tour of Flanders. People are getting too obsessed with this,” he said. “I worked for an hour making the little lines for the cobblestones. It looks just fine to me,”
Tom Boonen reportedly took a slice of the cake, pronounced it delicious, said thank you to all involved and made no mention of the inaccurately sculpted cobblestones. Thus proving once again that Boonen is a man of class and style.