Cake decorators rise to top at IBIE

Melissa Kroeger (left) and Kate White (right) of Honeymoon Bakery in Rome, Georgia, won the 15th annual Pillsbury Bakers’ Plus Creative Decorating Competition.
Kate White and Melissa Kroeger of Honeymoon Bakery in Rome, Georgia, won the 15th annual Pillsbury Bakers’ Plus Creative Decorating Competition on Tuesday, October 11, during the final day of the International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE) in Las Vegas. "We tried to go simple and elegant and stick with what we know," Kroeger said. Added White, "Melissa and I have worked together almost eight years, and we definitely practiced a lot. We have a wonderful boss and our team back home supported us all the way."

The competing cake decorators wowed the IBIE crowds with show-stopping designs during the Pillsbury Bakers’ Plus Creative Decorating Competition, in which six two-person teams of top decorators from across the country competed for the title of Pillsbury Bakers’ Plus Grand Champion, in addition to $14,000 in cash prizes.

Second place in the overall competition went to Christel Andrews and Tammy Montesinos, representing the Chicago Area Retail Bakers Association.

Third place overall went to Sarah Crews and Mark Shrewsbury, representing the Ohio Bakers Association.

Jamie VanderWoude and Erika Youndahl, representing the Upper Midwest Bakers Association, won the Satin Fine Foods challenge.
Creative cakes representing favorite children’s books like The Ugly Duckling were the story of the day on Saturday, when scores of IBIE attendees lined to take photos of these magical creations.In a special twist, the six teams were paired with a Satin Fine Foods Artist of Excellence to create these cakes. The winning team (Jamie VanderWoude and Erika Youndahl, representing the Upper Midwest Bakers Association) won a trip to the Satin Ice Cake Fair in 2017.

Each team competes in four categories: wedding cake (sponsored by Pfeil and Holing), rolled fondant (sponsored by Satin Fine Foods), tiered graduation (sponsored by DecoPac) and sculpted (sponsored by CSM Bakery Solutions).

The wedding cake category winner
First place in the wedding cake category went to Christel Andrews and Tammy Montesinos.

The fondant category winner
First place in the rolled fondant category went to Jennifer Claggett and Sabrina Fiffe of Love Cakes by Dorothy Lane Market in Dayton, Ohio.

The graduation category winner
First place in the tiered graduation category went to  Kate White and Melissa Kroeger.

The sculpted cake category winner
First place in the sculpted category went to Christel Andrews and Tammy Montesinos.

The prestigious competition involves professional cake decorators and pastry chefs working full- or part-time in a cake/cupcake shop, retail or supermarket bakery. The six teams were selected to compete at IBIE based on winning a regional competition or a portfolio submission.