Pittsburgh-area friends bake top dessert on Food Network’s ‘Winner Cake All’
Winner Cake All winners
This story had a fairy-tale ending for Western Pennsylvania friends Cathy Lucas Burnheimer and Lesley Polinko Wasielewski.
The pair conquered the Food Network’s “Winner Cake All” on Monday and claimed a $10,000 prize.
Their masterpiece was chosen as the sweetest, tastiest and prettiest winner.
Burnheimer and Wasielewski created cake fashioned as a princess on a Broadway stage in a baby blue gown crowned with a sparking tiara, gems and lace holding a figurine.
“We had to be very careful bringing the cake out at the end of the show,” Wasielewski said. “We were both holding onto it because we didn’t want it to fall. And you have to accept you can’t control the outcome. You just have to stick to what you know, and Cathy and I work well together. And I wanted to win for her. This was on her bucket list.”
Their work brought three princess judges to tears when they saw the dessert that would be served at their upcoming party.
“It was really hard not say something that we won before the show aired,” Burnheimer said from her Buffalo Township home, who knew they won after the filming in October. “It was surreal watching it because it was such a blur that day of filming. But we did get the fairy-tale ending we wanted.”
“It was so hard not to say anything about us winning,” said Wasielewski, after the show from her Pittsburgh house. “When you see yourself on camera all of the memories of that day come back. And the time frame they give you is real. You only have five hours to make a cake. You have to stay focused and forget about all of the cameras in your face. It’s a little bit hilarious how we were, but that’s us.”
This new series, which premiered Jan. 7, brings together four, two-person baking teams each week in a series of challenges.
Food Network favorite Giada De Laurentiis oversees the themed competitions, in which contestants must create cake toppers as well as a massive themed cake display. They are inspired by personalities in television, sports and restaurants.
Bakers must show their mastery of cake flavors and textures, as well as their ability to bring concepts to life in edible form.
The show theme was the performance of “Broadway Princess Party.” Three women from the production, which is led by musical director Benjamin Rauhala, were judges.
A rotating panel of judges decides the contestants’ fate each week.
Monday night’s show was taped in October in Los Angeles.
Burnheimer was contacted by the Food Network last year and immediately wanted to be a part of the show. As a cake designer, this was her Super Bowl. Her business Frosted Envy (she also owns Popped Envy, a pop-corn company used for fundraisers and other events), was inspired by making desserts for the oldest of her three daughters, who has food allergies. The goodies became such favorites of friends and families that Burnheimer eventually decided to turn her passion into a profession. She watched the show with her family.
Burnheimer has fashioned cakes for weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and all occasions in between. But she hadn’t done anything like this before. She knew she didn’t want to do it without Wasielewski, who has a studio in Swissvale where she’s a polymer clay sculptor. The two met through a friend and originally offered keepsake toppers for wedding cakes. They teamed up to make Wasielewski’s wedding cake.
Her sculptures have appeared at the annual Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival and the Three Rivers Arts Festival. She hadn’t worked with modeling chocolate in the past, so she studied videos and read all the information she could find about the ingredient they would need to work with as part of the Food Network competition.
Both are self-taught.
JoAnne Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 724-853-5062 or email@example.com or via Twitter @Jharrop_Trib.
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 412-320-7889, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .