Young bakers win spot at Sweet Success baking competition and fundraiser

Jessica  Rodrigo By Jessica Rodrigo

March 27, 2012 at midnight
Updated March 26, 2012 at 10:27 p.m.

Ansliee Stehling, Ella Porr and Carly Oracion collectively made the winning  cake for the Best Cake Maker contest.

Ansliee Stehling, Ella Porr and Carly Oracion collectively made the winning cake for the Best Cake Maker contest.   Jonathan Hinderliter for The Victoria Advocate

After Ansliee Stehling's made it home from school and before she left for her afternoon karate class, she and her friend Ella Porr found out they were dubbed the winners of the Victoria Business and Education Coalition's cake-baker contest.

Together with Carly Oracion, the trio spent the better part of the weekend designing, baking and building for their winning "Spring Purse" cake.

"We each worked on our own designs, and put them together to make one design," Ansliee, 10, and Ella, 11, said over the telephone. Carly, 10, was unable to comment as she spent her afternoons with her brother Zackry.

The two girls described the process as being difficult, and said it took about eight to 10 hours to complete. Under the supervision of Ansliee's mother, Laura Stehling, the cake began to take form.

"They made the fondant with marshmallows and used a recipe they found online," the 47-year-old mom said. "They made the whole thing from scratch."

Their "Spring Purse" was decorated like a life-like ladies purse adorned with a handle and front-flap closure. It was painted with bright green, pink and purple colors, had bubbly, round purple flowers and was laid upon a racy zebra print cake board.

The body of the purse was sculpted from banana cake and the handle's beads were made from balls of purple fondant skewered on a wire.

"We had a few accidents," Ansliee and Ella said. "So we tried it, and it tasted good."

The competing cakes included a rum pecan caramel cheesecake made by Charles Knisley; a three-tiered Dreamsicle-flavored cake with a fiesta theme complete with sarape and margaritas made by Crystal Seaman; and a round layer cake with a raspberry cream filling made by Peggy Spaulding.

Tasters from the Victoria Advocate and members of Victoria Business and Education Coalition rated each cake on 1-to-5 scale for creativity, texture, flavor, moistness, difficulty and appearance.

The "Spring Purse" ranked high across the board of categories.

As winners of the contest, the three will host a booth at the upcoming Sweet Success cake competition and fundraiser on April 14. The event will help raise money for VBEC's mentor labs.

The coalition's executive director, Lanell Mantey, said the goal is to add to the program that is designed to help with at-risk students.

"I work with three students from Stroman Middle School," she said. "I help build confidence and time management along with other important skills they need to have."

Mantey explained that funds from the event's cake walk, cake judging and sale of sandwiches and other goods will cover expenses for teachers to participate in the program, and help pay for computers and various teaching supplies.

The cake competition, she said, was a good way to promote the Sweet Success baking competition and to promote baking in through the Victoria Independent School District Career and Technical Education program's new culinary arts courses. It is the first time for the high schools to have access to the certified program.

"The students are learning about the culinary arts and it's been very popular with them," she said.

She hopes the work between the mentors and students will benefit from the competition in years to come.

"We want to get the community aware of what is going on in our schools," she said. "We are building a relationship and this will bring the community closer as a family."

For the trio of bakers, they will have a booth to showcase their culinary skills.

"We'll wing it," the two girls said in speculation. "There is always time for something. We'll make creative cupcakes, like the high-heel cupcakes or Easter cupcakes. Bunny cupcakes, since it'll be close to Easter."



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