The PUZLCAKE: Solve before slicing

Photograph by Bob Rozycki

First you solve it, then you savor it.

PUZLCAKE, a sweet concept created by Stefan Lonce, is a unique culinary offering that expands the traditional party favorite into a play-along game.

“It makes the cake the party,” the Croton-on-Hudson entrepreneur says of his trademark design.

In short, a PUZLCAKE is a traditional sheet cake decorated with a puzzle that consists of two adjacent – and edible – graphic or photographic images. And within those dueling elements is the heart of the challenge: Lonce custom designs 10 ½ differences between the two images.

So before the knife is lowered to the cake, the puzzle must be solved.

Anyone who likes those “find-the-difference” features found in magazines will love Lonce’s sweet twist on the mind game.

“It really makes people look at the cake,” Lonce says.

Those who play along will delight in spotting a just-slightly-off mirror image or perhaps a numeral 2 where a “to” should be. And if the challenge is too daunting – it is a game so the cakes are not designed to be too tough – the answers are provided on the flyer handed out with each creation. The key also provides a reproduction of the cake so those who can’t gather up close can also participate. And it also makes for a memorable party favor.

To date, versions of the PUZLCAKE have been created as promotional items, a natural since they lend themselves to reproducing items such as business cards.

“We’re trying to show when you can use a cake to promote your business, as an ad,” Lonce says.

And indeed, a wonderfully dense carrot cake brought to WAG’s offices on a recent morning featured a likeness of the business card of his business partner, White Plains attorney M.H. Fryburg.

Staffers gathered around to play along before tasting the creation baked by Homestyle Desserts Bakery in Peekskill. Lonce has now teamed up with owner Rose Sanca to create editions of the PUZLCAKE, which Sanca says really is something unique.

And she should know, with 40-plus years in the business that includes baking treats for celebrities and organizations, including the New York Yankees.

“I just thought it was like a real cute idea,” Sanca says. “It’s so festive for parties.”

She sees its popularity only growing, the perfect campaign tool or shower centerpiece. Designs and sizes – as well as flavors and fillings – can all be customized, though Lonce says he’s working on a template that would make the design marketable to a larger audience, perhaps online.

The PUZLCAKE – invented by both Fryburg and Lonce and designed by Lonce – is one part of their many business enterprises, with Lonce also editing and designing The Montauk Sun.

Together, they began LCNS2ROM Inc., a New York corporation for their books, greeting cards, calendars, posters, photographs and cake decorations, all having some tie to a favorite icon, the vanity license plate, which gives a glimpse into one’s personality, likes or causes.

Books in progress include a business memoir, “LCNS2ROM: License to Roam,” and another on Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who Fryburg says had the first vanity plate.

For the past couple of years, Lonce and Fryburg produced “Driving With FDR,” a “biographical/collectible” wall calendar filled with facts.

As Fryburg says, the calendar’s purchasers receive something both practical and instructive as it “focuses on the individual dates in a subject’s life and tells them why it matters.”

The first PUZLCAKE was designed for FDR’s 131st birthday festivities, held in January in Hyde Park. Lonce and Fryburg will create another PUZLCAKE for the National Birthday Party for Social Security, which Lonce will lead Aug. 14 at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library in Hyde Park.

As Fryburg says, “You’re always welcome when you bring cake.”

They will also feature “Driving with FDR,” their 2014 biographical/collectible calendar during a reading July 27 at the 2013 Roosevelt Reading Festival at the Hyde Park library.

For now, though, there is a push to get the PUZLCAKE to become what they hope will be “America’s favorite new dessert.”

And Sanca, who has known Lonce for a number of years, says the PUZLCAKE has the one important ingredient that just may make that happen – Lonce’s dedication.

“He’s putting his heart and soul into it,” she says. “People who succeed don’t give up.”

Custom-designed cakes start at $40, plus design fee, which starts at $25. For more details, visit PUZLCAKE.com or call Lonce at (914) 629-4580.

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