Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Food Network Challenge:Spongebob Cakes


When Food Network called me for this round of Challenges I told them I was most excited about Spongebob. Spongebob and Extreme Holiday Cakes were the two shows they offered.

I really wanted to make a cake of Mr. Krabs. I lobbied hard for this. I emailed the producers messages from Mr. Krabs begging them to "Let Lauren make a cake of me... ARGH!"

Then the call came. I got it!

Now I need an idea.

Krabs is an opportunist. He wouldn't celebrate anyone's birthday. He would find a way to make money from the birthday. So, I came up with a "Krabby Birthday Meal..only $9.95"

This idea had more to do with Mr. Krabs' personality and I thought the judge from Nickelodeon would appreciate it. Well, he didn't. In fact, he became aggitated by the McDonalds Happy Meal comparision and called Nickelodeon during the first hour of the competition to see if this was an issue. I think they would have asked me to take the Krabby Meal away if the Challenge producers hadn't have stepped in to save my concept. Drama!!
A requirement of all of our cakes was to include the character and their location in Bikini Bottom.

I represented the Krusty Krab restaurant in two ways. By making the green, wood-planked floor of the Krusty Krab as well as a table, this solved my issue of location. Also, each Krabby Meal box was a small replica of the Krusty Krab, inside and out. My husband's brilliant idea!

Another requirement we all had was to represent Spongebob in our cakes. Hmmmmm..... How to do that without making a full-scale Spongebob cake? The Krabby Birthday Meal action figure!! Easy!

Plankton is Mr. Krabs evil rival, and just as nasty as Krabs. So I made sure to pay tribute to him as well. In typical Plankon form, he is using a mechanical device to steel the Krabby patty.

Mr. Krabs' body was entirely sculpted out of cake....From the top of his open mouth to his bottom. I designed the structure and had my contractor weld the structure out of metal.

The eyes, claws, and legs were made from solid modeling chocolate.
Modeling chocolate is an incredible sugar medium that allows you to make super clean work very fast. Plankton, his mechanical arm, the table, floor and all the little elements were all made from modeling chocolate.

Kristen Davison's "Sandy Cheeks" cake.

This was Kristen's 6th Challenge, but it was her first as the lead of her team. She did a great job. She is known for her small-scale character work. She's fantastic!!! Kristen and her assistant, the grand Richard Ruskell, beat me at my first Challenge, Disney Classics Cakes.

It was great to see them again! She made the glass dome and helmut totally out of poured sugar! Amazing! And her character work was spot-on

The Great Bronwen Weber made the "Patrick Star" cake. I was horrified to go up against Bronwen. No one has done as many Challenges as her. She is well versed in this arena. Her ideas are great and she keeps calm and finishes her work. Not many cake artists are sculptors. She is a great sculptor!
She had to represent several acres of jelly fish fields. She did this in a great way. With the triangle composition she easily created depth. There was so much great detail in this cake. It was amazing to be competing in the same room with her.

Rick Reichart from Cake Lava in Hawaii came in as a close 2nd with his Spongebob cake. Rick is amazing and he has an incredible siginature style that he easily casts on every cake he makes. This cake was colorful and alive. It was so stylish and creative. I honestly thought he was going to win. In so many ways, he did! Great job, Rick!!!

Kerry's Comment and Salute....
At the end of the day at Face the Judges, Kerry stood up and saluted my work. She claims this cake was the best cake she has seen in Challenge.
For the record, I don't agree. But, it was the most moving statement I have ever heard from any cake authority and I was not expecting her to say anything close to this. It brought me to tears and I can only hope that my next Challenge cake will impress her all over again. The preasure is on!

My bakery girls....
Ashleigh Foster. My right hand man. At the time we shot this Challenge, Ashleigh had only worked for me for 2 months. After I hired her and saw her abilities, I asked her to come to Challenge with me. She did an amazing job! I was so proud.
Karie Snider (In the green hoodie). I love Karie. She was part of this Challenge team. The three of us worked constantly for 6 weeks straight tweeking and perfecting this cake. I work side by side with these two artists everyday. I love my cakey girls!!!!

The party.....
The day after we shot the episode the winning cake did actually go to a suprise birthday party for 7 year-old Demetrus.

So cute!!!! I love his mom, Mindy. She was our judge and so excited to see all the cakes and experience the procces of shooting the episode.
I wanted to please her just as much as Kerry and Keegan.

With an eaten head and half of a claw gone, Demetrus went straight to opening birthday gifts.
Happy Birthday, Demetrus!


  1. I was SO excited that you won this one, Lauren. You deserved it!!

  2. Wow! I saw this episode when I was on holiday in Vegas! Great job! I love the cake!!
    I was just doing a post on my little blog about the show!!!

  3. I was so glad you won! The challenge was so intence! Good job, and beautiful cake!!

  4. Wow.. I just saw your win on the Spongebob "Challenge," and I have to say I'm blown away! I just caught the show by happenstance, & I'm -so- glad I did. I'm nowhere near getting married, but I truly wish you and your shop were closer (I live in the East Coast, in VA), so I could get you to do my cake someday. ^_^ Your work is so clean and precise!! Love your draping and sense of meticulous detail, too. Love the -beautiful,- amazingly character-filled, incredibly detailed work that just can't help but make me smile! :D

    Many, May Cheers and Kudos,

  5. I just caught up on my DVR today and saw the Spongebob challenge. I am absolutely blown away by how incredible your cake was, and you truly did deserve to win. It was flawless, top to bottom.

  6. Lauren,

    I had the privilege of meeting you in Austin at That Takes the Cake. Just as I said, there, you and your work are amazing.

    Mr. Crab's is a new favorite and I can't wait to see more on the next Challenge.

    Way to go! Incredible!
    (I still believe you make Mike M. work hard for his wins! (He's great too.)


  7. Congratulations on the big win, Lauren! I thought Kerry's comments were very moving also. It's interesting to hear bout Nickelodeon's objections, how crazy s that!! I really love your work, it is top notch!!


  8. Congrats on winning! Your cake is stunning and incredible right down to every single details! I've yet to see this episode..hopefully i'll get a chance to see it soon! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Hi Lauren.

    I'm from the UK and was channel hopping and came across foodnetwork for the first time ever last night (didn't even know I had that channel lol). This episode happened to be on and I wanted to tell you how great I thought your cake was! Really enjoyed the show, haven't seen anything like it on TV over here before. x

  10. Wow those are some pretty realistic cakes! My daughter loves watching SpongeBob on Nickelodeon. We subscribe to DISH Network and we get DISH Online and can watch the latest episodes of SpongeBob whenever we would like. As a DISH employee I can tell you that DISH Online is a really cool site. Go to www.dishnetwork.com for more info.

  11. Substitute oil in the recipe for unsweetened applesauce or plain yogurt. Your measure can be 1:1 or 50/50. For example, if the recipe calls for 1 cup oil, use 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup applesauce. Different types of cakes will offer different results for texture and taste, but a good start would try the 50/50. Not only helps for moister cakes, also cuts fat.Bakery Equipment

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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 www.fancycakesbylauren.com