The corner shop was a custom cake decorating place called A Masterpiece of Cake. “You know you’re in a certified megamall when they have a place like that,” laughed Merie.

“Ugh, look at all that buttercream icing,” groaned Saini, pointing at a cake that had a blue sports car sculpted on top by waves of flowery sugar. “So mercilessly sweet…makes my tongue burn just to look at it.”

“How about that one?” Merie said. She pointed to a nearby cake that, through prodigious amounts of food coloring and fondant icing, looked like a giant hamburger.

“Fondant? It tastes like modeling clay because that’s basically what it is. It sacrifices any kind of flavor at all for being moldable. It’s like eating cement straight from the mixing truck.” Saini paused. “And with about the same effect on your overall BMI.”

“There’s one in there that has that nice whipped frosting, probably,” said Merie. “It’s not a salad, but it’s better for you than sugar-cement or buttercrack.”

Saini rolled her dark eyes. “Whipped stuff can barely hold the shape of cake frosting lying flat on a cake, much less anything else.”

“So you’re saying that none of these professionally-made cakes matches up to your exacting personal standards, is that it?”

“I’m saying it’s my dream to create an ultimate cake frosting that combines the light sweetness of whipped frosting with the moldability of fondant,” Saini said with a faraway look in her eyes. “It’s the cake version of the moon landing, but it can be done if we pour enough resources into it.”