The Miami Herald reports that Boca Raton baker Alethea Hickman had received a frantic, all-caps e-mail requesting a cake two days before James' birthday party, to be held at the Shelbourne South Beach hotel. The hotel staff asked Hickman to waive the cost of the cake in exchange for the free publicity. After all, she'd be making the birthday cake for the most talented basketball player on the planet. But when Hickman checked online the day after hand-delivering her cake to the party, she saw that the cake featured in photos with James was ivory, decorated with sparklers and it definitely wasn't hers.
As it turned out, the Heat had commissioned their own cake through a Miami bakery called Divine Delicacies. Once James' team saw Hickman's cake, they decided to use their own instead. (Editor's note: Something Kobe and the Lakers would never ever do. With or without Lamar. With or without Bynum. Especially since Gasol would have had José Andrés make them all paella anyway.)
Hickman had hired extra staff during the busy holiday season to rush the cake; she painted it red to match the colors of James' team; she covered it in 18 carat cold; and she finished the five-tiered, three-foot-tall cake with an edible gold crown. But it went unseen and uneaten.
Now without the publicity she was promised, she also won't get paid the $3,000 sticker price. In the aftermath, the hotel's managing principle Jared Galbut said, "That cake couldn't be worth more than $600. It's flour, eggs and water."