Crumby? No way! Food Network Hit with Shrek Cakes


Isabelle Aboaf writes, On February 23, 2009, I had a chance to go see a taping of Food Network Challenge: Ultimate Cakes.

On February 23, 2009, I had a chance to go see a taping of Food Network Challenge: Ultimate Cakes. The show is a competition to see who could design the best cake based on characters from “Shrek The Musical” The winner would win $10,000 and go to New York and make a replica of that cake for the 100th showing of the play on Broadway.First of all, there’s a lot I want to tell you about what it looks like in the filming studio. It was filmed at the Comcast Media Center in Centennial. If you have seen this show on TV before, the studio looks humongous. But really there were only a three rows for the audience It was a huge surprise. Also, there were many camera men. I was estimating about 16 men, but at the end, it seemed like more than 20. It was pretty busy The camera men taped a whole eight hours worth of cake time, yet they have to cut it into one hour. Can you believe it? If you watch these shows regularly (I don’t watch regularly, but often), you might have noticed that the “host” is walking around, and says things like “Five minutes left, competitors!” I got a chance to meet Keegan Gerhard , the announcer and host of the show. First, he explained to me which characters were being made into cakes. Lord Farquaad- the evil king , Shrek is the main character and is an ogre, and Fiona- also an ogre, but pretty, and falls in love with Shrek. Finally, my favorite character- Donkey- a funny and dumb donkey that gets in the way of Shrek, but is a great companion. The competitors drew their characters out of a hat, and had to design a cake to be judged on artistic value, technical merit, and representation of the theme (in this case, the musical.). Keegan said a few interesting things to me. He says his job is to make sure the audience understands and knows what’s going on. “It’s my job to keep a timeline of where they are for the audience,” Keegan says. “(The show) doesn’t really need a host, but it’s fun. The show pretty much moves itself.” The four competitors are were: Orlando Serrano, Chicago, IL: Shrek Ashley Vicos, Atlanta, GA: Donkey BethAnn Goldberg, Menlo Park, CA:Fiona Jorg Amsler, Saugus, MA: Lord Farquaad Each had a fabulous cake. At the beginning of each team’s competition, the were give big blocks of fondant and already-baked cakes. Then, they began. Overall, I think that Ashley Vicos had the best cake, but the show wasn’t over yet. I won’t reveal who won, at least not yet. Beth Ann’s cake: Beth Ann’s cake was mostly focused on Fiona, the largest element in the design, and yet a very complicated one. It showed Fiona in a wedding dress, with fabulous articulate (delicate?) frosting bead work over her arms and neck. There was a frame (not edible) around, and large sunflowers all over the cake. It looksed beautiful and I think it had a high chance of winning. Orlando’s cake: Orlando had a great cake too. He drew less attention to the almost perfect Shrek, and focused more on the beauty of the cake. There was the dragon, sunflowers ( a very important part in the musical), the castle, the swamp, and fields with colorful cake and fondant. He added some sound effect and lights, which in my opinion, is not necessarily a cake element and more of an artistic element. Ashley’s cake: From my perspective, her cake had a great amount of icons. She had donkey sitting on top of a crate and holding a “Broadway or Bust!” sign. I thought this was a great. It was a nice touch. There was a dragon’s tail sticking out of a packaging crate, as well as a claw, “fragile” signs and “danger: Live dragon inside” painted on the sides of the crate as well. The judges weren’t totally in love with all of these things which I could also see their point of view. There were some things that I think Ashley did that maybe I wouldn’t have. Since I hadn’t seen the musical, I didn’t know what donkey looked like, so I couldn’t tell whether or not it resembled the donkey in the movie or the musical. Jorg’s cake: Overall, Jorg’s cake seemed like the least “cake-like” cake, because there were walls and mirrors, and not enough cake. Yet again, I still think the elements, like the mirror made of sugar, added nice touches with the rest of the cake. He used different techniques in his cake compared to the other cakes. Lord Farquaad was presented in his bathtub. There were jewels made of sugar, a golden cross, but you couldn’t see the jewels since they were facing the wrong direction. Critique The critical part was at the “Face the Judges” time. Each cake decorator was given a few compliments and / or criticisms by the three judges. Below are some interviewing quotes. Interviewing Quotes Q: How did you feel during the competition? A: Ashley Vicos: “Mostly happy, a little behind. You know, up and down?” Q: What do you have to say to younger people who want to become cake decorators? A: Ashley Vicos: “I think it’s a great career, you can go to schools and culinary places. I started with an easy bake oven when I was 5 years old and then I knew it.” Q: Whether or not you won, are you proud of your work? A: Ashley Vicos: “Yes, I think it’s good. I’m tired a little.” So who won? You’ll have to watch the show. It will air this Sunday, June 7 on the Food Network. This was a great experience and it’s really fun meeting some chefs. You can call for free tickets by calling Food Network’s studios. Now, how about some cake?


  1. I love those shows!
    I love those shows! Great story! I love how you explained the cakes, and gave your point of view. I also liked how you didn’t give away the winner.

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