SINGAPORE: As US President Donald Trump's third and last inauguration ball drew to a close on Friday (Jan 20), he took part in a traditional cake-cutting ceremony along with first lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and the latter's wife, Karen Pence.
The cake-cutting at the Salute To Our Armed Services Inaugural Ball was meant to honour the sacrifice and service of the military's members.
But the seemingly harmless formality drew attention online after celebrity baker Duff Goldman noticed similarities between the nine-tiered cake featured at Trump's ball and the one he created for one of former president Barack Obama's inauguration balls in 2013.
In a tweet that has since been shared almost 125,000 times, the pastry chef and television personality showed side-by-side photos of his cake for Obama's Commander-in-Chief Inauguration Ball in 2013 and Trump and Pence slicing a very similar-looking cake with a sword at Friday's event.
The cake on the left is the one I made for President Obama's inauguration 4 years ago. The one on the right is Trumps. I didn't make it. 🤔 pic.twitter.com/qJXpCfPhii— Duff Goldman (@Duff_Goldman) January 21, 2017
"The cake on the left is the one I made for President Obama's inauguration 4 years ago. The one on the right is Trumps (sic). I didn't make it," the pastry chef and television personality wrote in a post on Twitter, adding a thinking face emoji.
In an interview with The Washington Post in 2013, Goldman described the confection he had designed for Obama's ball in great detail: It would have a silver, 18-inch base that became light blue, then navy blue, as it tapered to the top. The bottom layer will boast red stripes, while another layer would feature red, white and blue bunting. The cake would include not just the presidential seal, but also the seals of the five branches of the military. And stars attached to wires would appear to burst from the creation "like fireworks".
The dessert presented at Trump's military ball, meanwhile, bore more than a passing resemblance to Goldman's work - down to the five military seals and the placement of the stars.
A few hours after Goldman's tweet, DC-based bakery Buttercream Bakeshop came forward to say it had been commissioned by Trump's inauguration committee to recreate the cake from Obama's inauguration ball.
Sharing a photo of their cake on Instagram, Buttercream Bakeshop credited Goldman with the original and said they were "thrilled" to be asked to replicate "a masterpiece" despite preferring to create their own designs.
The shop also said that the profits would be donated to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) "because basic human rights are something every man, woman and child~ straight, gay or the rainbow in between~ deserve!"
HRC, a US-based civil rights organisation, has been heavily critical of Trump in the lead-up to his presidency, not sugar-coating its disapproval of his position on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer (LGBTQ) issues.
Excited to share the cake we got to make for one of last night's inaugural balls. While we most love creating original designs, when we are asked to replicate someone else's work we are thrilled when it is a masterpiece like this one. @duff_goldman originally created this for Obama's inauguration 4 years ago and this years committee commissioned us to re-create it. Best part is all the profits are being donated to @humanrightscampaign, one of our favorite charities who we have loved working with over the years. Because basic human rights are something every man, woman and child~ straight, gay or the rainbow in between~ deserve!
Goldman later posted another tweet on a conciliatory note: "Remembering a fantastic cake I made is awesome and the chef that re-created it for @POTUS Trump did a fantastic job," he wrote. "Group hug, y'all."