ORLANDO, Fla. - Cake decorator Melissa Caville, representing Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle, took top honors at the 11th Annual Cake Decorating Challenge during the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association's seminar and expo.
Second-place honors went to Laurie Grissom, from a Wal-Mart Stores supercenter in Wilmington, N.C., and third place to Dorothy Trammel, from a Bashas' unit in Eager, Ariz. Caville works at a Giant Eagle in Bethel Park, Pa.
The finalists, chosen from 74 supermarket cake decorators who entered this year's contest, received all-expenses-paid trips here to compete in the three-day, on-site challenge held in the Show & Sell Merchandising Center on the show floor.
On the first day of the show, the finalists decorated a wedding cake.
On the second day, they were required to decorate enough cakes to fill an 8-foot bakery case and then merchandise the cakes in the case.
On the third day, they decorated three cakes of their own choosing, one from each of the following categories: special occasion, theme/event and decorator's choice.
Caville's wedding cake entry was three-tiered, with one deep, round tier set directly on top of another, frosted in contrasting shades of purple butter cream icing.
Grissom decorated her three-tier wedding cake completely in pastel fondant. Trammel's wedding cake was frosted in white butter cream with a pink lacy design in translucent frosting overlaid on it.
Luke Bender, technical sales representative for Maplehurst Bakeries, and Jim Caliendo, national training specialist for Rich Products, served as judges.
Earlier, IDDBA Executive Director Carol Christison commented on how difficult it was to select the finalists because of the high level of talent exhibited by all the decorators who submitted portfolios that were evaluated in a preliminary blind judging process.
"The level of expertise and creativity that individual decorators show is a joy to see," Christison said. "It has become increasingly difficult to choose just three finalists."