I Love Mom

Red Velvet Rum Cake ft. Cream Cheese Sea Salt Frosting

We're going a little off the beaten track for Mother's Day this year, eschewing the typical floral patterns that usually characterize this spring holiday. Aside from a beautiful flower arrangement and a delicious breakfast in bed, Slate says it best - "a tattoo dedicated to Mom is in fact one of the most iconic American maternal tributes."

When I thought of doing this graphic design for Mother's Day, I had no idea what flavor combinations were appropriate for a tattoo cake. Until I did my research: this cake is an ode to both mothers around the world and the man who is said to have originated the first Mom heart tattoo - a man named Norman Keith Collins but more famously known and remembered as Sailor Jerry.

He was born in California, enlisted in the merchant marines, and traveled through Southeast Asia, the Philippines, and Japan where he was influenced by several high-concept tattoo artists. Collins settled in Hawaii where he opened his own shop - an 'upscale operation somewhere between a hair stylist and a dentist.' By the 1960s, clients flew to Honolulu to acquire a 'Sailor Jerry' the way that they bought a 'Warhol."

Many of his tattoos played on nautical and Americana themes, including flags, ships, anchors, Civil War battles, and allegedly the famous ribbon-wrapped 'MOM' tattoo. These tattoos became popular with sailors during World War II as both trophies of achievements and travels, and also as momentos and keepsakes from home.

So this cake is flavored with rum and sea salt as an homage to the Sailor Jerry and the sailors that brought the MOM tattoo to life - and to the mothers that brought all of us into life as well.