The owner of my local bakery, Cheryl Lew of Montclair Baking, took home a $10,000 prize for winning the Food Network Challenge for Spooky and Scary Cakes. I stopped by her bakery today hoping for a peek at her prize winning Haunted Harbor Cake. But not a crumb of the prize winner was in evidence.
I've long admired her cakes which not only look good but taste great. So the visit wouldn't be a total loss, I did have a berry scone, the kind that is all crunchy with sugar on top.
I do wonder if all this emphasis on elaborately decorated cakes is bad for us. Not just the sugar issue, but to me it kind of feels a bit like our society's current emphasis on thinness and beauty. These kinds of role models set up impossible standards for those of us who are not genetically blessed while diminishing the value of what's inside. Or in terms of cake, how it looks versus how it tastes. There are those of us who can bake a delicious cake but achieving a smooth crumb coat, never mind sugar roses, is beyond our ability or time constraints.
In terms of the Food Network cake challenge, what was inside was plain, dense, sponge cake. These cakes are made for viewing, not eating. (A beauty pageant for pastry? As long as my cupcakes don't have to measure up, I can live with it, I guess.)
In the case of the very talented Cheryl Lew, I can speak from happy experience that her cakes are beautiful inside and out.
To see the schedule for the spooky cake challenge, go to
and click on TV and then look for the episode and schedule.