Got Cake? Bakers Needed for Revival of a Super Sweet Tradition

Cake Race Table of Cakes

The Cake Race is a voluntary part of the first-year experience at Davidson with a sweet reward at the end: a homemade cake of students' own choosing.

Hey Wildcat family and friends: We know you baked a lot over the past 17 months—so let’s see what you got.

Davidson College’s annual Cake Race will be on Wednesday, Aug. 25 and we welcome your sweet contributions. The COVID-19 pandemic cancelled last year’s race, so the college will hold two separate competitions, starting first with the class of 2024, and then, the class of 2025. Each class will have a separate race for men and women.

The cake race started in the 1930s as a way for Davidson’s track coach to spot talent among first year students. Winners took home cakes baked by faculty members’ wives. Over the years, the cakes have become more elaborate, and competitive bakers more determined to have their confections picked first.

It’s one of the college’s favorite traditions and brings students, faculty, staff and locals out to welcome and cheer on Davidson’s newest students. Many provide cakes and treats that the runners select in the order they cross the finish line.

The pandemic joined World War II as one of the rare times the college cancelled the race. This year, with more than 96 percent of Davidson students vaccinated, the race will go on.

It begins at 5 p.m. in the Baker Sports Complex parking lot. Please drop off cakes and treats on the lower level of the Vance Athletic Center before 3 p.m. Wednesday. Let us know if you have a preference for which class you want your cake to go to—or feel free to bake one for each. Please specify if your cake contains peanuts or peanut butter. And unless you’re bashful, please tape your name to the bottom of your cake so we can thank you.

Not a cake baker? No worries. Bakery and store-bought cakes can be delicious, and runners also love brownies, cupcakes and gift certificates.

“We always need cakes,” said Cake Race Guardian and the college’s Director of Physical Education, Recreation and Wellness Sandy Helfgott. “You can never have enough cakes. And now with two classes running—after what we’ve been through in the past year—the support of the community is more appreciated than ever.”