Historically, the hat is a sign of achievement and authority. Hats are often worn to indicate a person's particular position or role in society. Think bishop's hat or sheriff's hat. A symbol of power.
Freud identified the hat as a symbol of repressed desire, and there are lots of interpretations of the meaning of hats in dreams.
Whatever. We get asked to make them often. But the symbolism and meanings are usually much simpler.
There is the magic hat, for a child's birthday party featuring a magician.
The witch's hat. For a halloween birthday.
And of course, the houndstooth hat. Here in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the houndstooth hat is a symbol of championship football teams and the legendary coach who made them happen, the late Paul W. "Bear" Bryant. Our houndstooth hat cookies are one of our best sellers. Before, during and after football season.
You might think it is "cheating," but this particular houndstooth hat on a cake is real, placed as a "topper" on two large square stacked cakes, with a houndstooth design piped on the sides of the cakes. This is one instance where the cost of creating a hat from cake exceeded the willingness to pay. Especially when a similar (and longer lasting) effect could be achieved with a real hat.
Then there is the straw hat. A "regular" straw hat gives us a chance to practice our basketweave piping skills. It looks best with a wide brim, but sometimes the number of servings needed dictates a smaller brim.
Then the straw hat worn by Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban, mainly during practice. We started making these last year when the team reached 5-0 for the season and rose in the AP ranking to #2 in the nation.
They are not yet as famous as the houndstooth hat, but in demand nonetheless. And with every win, more so.
Alabama is now 12-0 going in to the SEC championship game against Florida Saturday in Atlanta. Two more wins and these cookies will probably rise in popularity.
So whatever the symbolism of hats, and reasons for wanting hat cakes, if customers keep asking for them, we'll keep making them.