Do you have a special go-to cake recipe for special occasions? We’re looking for a cake that literally hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world might taste, and one with a tasty story behind it, too. We’ll be presenting this cake to Silver Dollar City in honor of the theme park’s sixtieth anniversary in May 2020.

If we choose your cake, you’ll win several prizes, including an extended stay in Branson for six, and the fine chefs at Silver Dollar City will make your cake into a giant multi-layer creation for the special day that they kick-off their sixtieth celebration. You’ll help us present the cake, too, and it will also be featured in the magazine, of course.

Here’s the full scoop.

I’ve had a special fondness for Silver Dollar City since I first visited as an impressionable seventh-grader, during a school trip. We toured the cave, went on rides, and visited the unique shops. The magnificent cave, with water sparkling like diamonds off stalactites and stalagmites, bedazzled me. The rides, many of which are still there, thrilled me. I laughed at skits along the Frisco Silver Dollar Line, and on the town square, and in the Silver Dollar Saloon.

When my children were small, I loved going to Branson to spend three or four days, and taking them to other attractions, but always, always one day to Silver Dollar City, where they enjoyed the petting pen farm animals and the kiddie rides before they graduated to the big kid coasters and water rides. On hot days, we did those over and over, screaming like we hadn’t known we would get wet.

I also made a lifelong friend, Lisa Rau, there in those early years. She’s one of those very special women I have connected with on levels beyond our professions.

I’ve met both Pete and Jack Herschend, and I became enamored of their family’s story. I never met their mother, Mary, but I know I would have liked her. She fired people for cutting trees (that just meant they had to stay out of her sight for a few days), and she started bringing in Ozark craftsmen and women to the theme park to entertain people awaiting a cave tour but also to help preserve those disappearing crafts, like blacksmithing, shingle-making, and glass-blowing.

I did a story on Silver Dollar City back in 2003, and I got an interview with Pete. I think I was supposed to have an hour interview, but we ended up talking for almost three hours. Again, I was enchanted hearing the stories of the early days. One in particular sticks in my mind: Pete told me he and his brother Jack would hold “board meetings,” literally sitting on a board bench enjoying a view of the hills, behind the Wilderness Church, an 1800s log church, which they’d salvaged and moved to the City.

I do not believe it’s an exaggeration to say Missouri Life might not have survived our early days without support from Silver Dollar City and a handful of other stable supporters. At the time, only about one in five new magazines made it to their fifth birthday, and Silver Dollar City’s belief in us made a huge difference. Without them, I don’t know if we’d be here, a magazine with the most paid circulation in the state, today.

We’ve had a special relationship ever since, with us doing stories we think you’ll love and also creating the occasional special publication for Silver Dollar City.

In honor of Silver Dollar City’s sixtieth anniversary, we want to bake them an anniversary cake. Since over the years, I’ve spent more time on a computer than cooking in the kitchen, I’m counting on your help! Won’t you send me your great cake recipes?

Cake Contest Details

We’re not looking solely for a cake. Because our whole mission is to tell stories, we want to give Silver Dollar City a cake with a story, perhaps relating to:

• anniversaries, your own or others’
• a family recipe dating back to the 1880s, as Silver Dollar City’s theme is a mining town from that era
• the Ozarks, where Silver Dollar City is
• a recipe related to 1960, when Silver Dollar City began
• a special family story, as Silver Dollar City is a family theme park
• diamonds, as the sixtieth anniversary is a Diamond Jubilee (and yes, we thought about carrots/carats, too, and are open to carrot cakes)
• almost anything, as you can see from those examples.

To enter your story, a recipe, and a photograph, please submit it above by January 15. I’ll read every story and pass the recipes along to our panel of bakers, who will help me select a winner. The top three cakes and stories will be featured in the magazine, and the grand prize winner will get five nights of lodging in Branson and tickets to Silver Dollar City for six people, and will help present the cake the first weekend of May 2020 at the Diamond Jubilee celebration. See the website for other prizes for second and third place winners. It will be fun, I promise! Let’s have our cake and eat it, too!