Sunday, July 26, 2009

Food Network Challenge Sesame Street Cakes

The begining of the day was wonderful. Here I am next to my Elmo armature getting ready to make the cutest cake I've ever made. My assistant, Heather, and I had all the kinks worked out during practice and nothing stood in our way of having a great day at Challenge...

...Until thirty minutes after the clock started, Heather severely burned her hand with sugar that was heated to 340 degrees. Our judge, Kerry Vincent, was the first one to come to our rescue. While the producers were bringing us bandages and burn ointment and calling the peremedics, Kerry and I were wrapping Heather's hand. I thought for sure that our day was over.

I don't know how she did it, but Heather kept working! I thought I could just get the muppets finished and submit them for judging. Heather was responsible for the two large cakes in our peice. I never imagined that she would be able to continue such a huge job with that hand in such pain. There was no stopping her.

My character was Elmo and I designed the cake as a Sesame Street parody of Food Network Challenge. Sesame Street has always used parodies on their show to entertain parents and older siblings. It's a great idea and I thought I would pull this parody idea into my cake.

Elmo is the star of my parody cake, as he has just been named the winner of the Monster Network Challenge. He is standing on top of the judges table holding his winning cake in the air. His assistant, Goldfish Dorothy, has her gold medal around her fish bowl. The host of the show, Cake'in Gerhard (Keegan Gerhard), holds Elmo's medal in his hand. The two judges, Cookie Vincent (Kerry Vincent) and Patrick Cakestand (Partick Coston), look on with excitement.

Here you see me talking to the third judge, Carol-Lynn Parente, executive producer of Sesame Street. At that point, she was sold on my idea.

The whole set is very calm and quite all day.

I made Elmo out of rice cereal treats and red modeling chocolate. The fur was modeling chocolate that I pulled through a pasta attatchement on the Kitchen Aid mixer. I think Elmo took me two hours to finish. We were so behind with Heather's burn.

There's Patrick looking over our judges' table cake. I try hard to read him when he comes around my kitchen.

Keegan is looking at the cake after I got Elmo and Cookie on. He gave me a big smile!

I'm starting to work on my third muppet, Patrick Cakestand. For some reason I was able to finish him in half the time which gave me some time to help Heather catch up.

The finishing touch on Patrick was his uni-brow. The real Patrick hated this, but I told him that I gave him the uni-brow because his eye brows are the only hair he has on his shaved head. Plus, the uni-brow is a classic muppet feature.

On to my fourth and final muppet, Cake'in Gerhard.

The chef's coats were made from a wonderful and unusual sugar product called Sugar Veil. It is pure white and very shiney. I was able to cut the pieces from large sheets that I had made.

Heather and her burned hand....Still working with a smile!

With thrity minutes left, all four muppets are up and ready. Now it's time for Elmo's cake and poured sugar fish bowl (the cause of Heather's burn).

Rush, rush, rush.... Getting little details finished as best we can.

I had to climb a ladder to get Elmo's cake up. The entire cake stood almost 5-feet tall.

Here's the winning cake. Mike McCarey's Big Bird. It was incredible. I've never seen a cake that perfect in person. He deserved his win!

Mariane Carroll's Cookie Monster cake. So cute! I loved the chef's hat and the smiling stick of butter.

Roland Winbeckler's Oscar The Grouch cake. It was great. The sugar "trash" he made at the bottom of the cake was fantastic!

So, by now you know that we didn't win. But we got the silver medal. We were both so proud to have finished the cake, especially under those circumstances.

Our cake still makes me laugh.

The judges, both sets, posing with the cake.... Classic!

Here's Mike McCarey. Check out his website. You won't believe his cakes.

Here are Marsha and Roland Winbeckler
Marianne Carroll and Lauren Bozich

Here are Kerry and Cookie. A match made in Heaven!

Ahhh, the silver medal. Next time gold....?

Food Network Challenge Sesame Street Cakes, original air July 26, 2009 on Food Network.


  1. Greetings from the island of Trinidad in the Caribbean.

    I loved this episode! All the cakes were incredible and I bet the judges had a hard time choosing a winner.

    I would have loved to visit Sesame Street and chat with the muppets especially Big Bird.

    Your cake was just fantastic! I loved the muppet judges. That idea was easily the best in the competition and the outcome made me laugh especially Kerry's headband.


  2. Hi Lauren!

    This is Kathryn's friend Carrie. Congratulations on another great challenge! I LOVED that cake. The parody idea was genius and super creative. You are so talented, and the camera loves you. It is fun watching you do these challenges, because you clearly love your work. I see a gold medal in your future. I can't wait to see your next challenge!

  3. we LOVED the show!!! you did such a fabulous job!!!! hope to see ya'll soon!!
    love you!!
    adelle & jeremy

  4. Hi Lauren! We just caught the episode on food network yesterday and we loved your cake to bits!

  5. Its 5:12 pm 8/9/09 I am watching this episode and I saw the outcome before I saw the ending... bummer! Well I thought your idea was the best and I was hoping you would get the Gold... sorry about your friend getting burned like that Ouch! A friend of mine spilled a pot of hot caramel on her food not too long ago also! I live in the Mesquite area and I love to bake I am a beginner I bake from the "3 instruction boxes" LOL! But my dream wedding cake is sketched into my brain... when I find the groom I would love for you to bake my cake!

  6. Your cake was fantastic. I hope that Heather's hand has healed. I watch Food Network Challenge regularly, and I have never seen a cake come out so exactly like the original sketch! The Muppetized judges were absolutely fantastic!! Kudos to you on completing such an ambitious cake! Well done.

  7. Lauren, what a wonderful cake. I had so hoped you would win when you muppetized the judges. I had paused the show to cook dinner, and lost the show right when the winner was to be announced because cable switched me over to House, which I had set to record. So, I just had to come looking to see who won. I am sorry you did not get gold - this time - but you did a fabulous job and in the face of such adversity! Congratulations!

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About Me

Lauren Kitchens, owner and executive chef of Fancy Cakes by Lauren, opened her bakery in 2000 and quickly became one of the premiere cake bakeries in the Dallas wedding and event industry. Lauren has her complete cake portfolio on-line at