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Atlantic bakers turn up the heat on 'Cross Country Cake Off '

Turning up the heat in the kitchen, eight bakers are representing Atlantic Canada in the "Cross Country Cake Off."

“It was really just an amazing experience for me,” said Denice MacDonald from Piper Cakes in Amherst, N.S.

“It’s been very fun. So many great people in the Maritimes anyways, we know this, but it’s just been a really positive experience and so cool to see our region being showcased.”

From Newfoundland to New Brunswick, the regional episode had eight bakers present a cake they made at home in hopes of securing a spot in the next round.

“We were asked to make a cake that described us, or that was part of us and I really had to think about that,” said Vicki Naylor, who owns Vicki’s Cake Craft in Moncton, N.B.

Eventually she decided to bake the journey of moving to New Brunswick.

“My cake was the cake of our log home that we lost in a fire and the things that I had to do afterwards or that I did to kind of help me get through that time and the flavours that I chose were I chose an apple crumble pie,” she said.

“So it has some whip cream flavours and apple crumble, fruits… I think it’s pretty tasty.”

The qualifier round took place in Halifax last summer and with it encouraging each baker to bring a cake that represented themselves, Judges Andrew Han and Mary Berg got a variety.

“The base of the cake is the background of the Nova Scotia flag,” said MacDonald, who presented a pumpkin spice cake with a Nova Scotia maple buttercream icing.

“It has the crosses of the Nova Scotia flag and then it’s all about horsey things. I have made a plaque of my horse, my horse Daisy, and because her names daisy I’ve also got daisies on the cake. I just love feathers and western things so that’s what I designed the cake around.”

Both Naylor and MacDonald says one of the biggest obstacles was actually getting their cakes from their homes to Halifax for judging.

However, travel wasn’t the only challenge that they’ve faced in their baking careers.

“My first few cakes were pretty rough,” said Naylor.

“They were just for family and although they tasted pretty good, they didn’t look so great. So I kind of fine tuned my craft after that, trying to make things look really clean and I like sort of a realistic style.”

She adds that she got inspired by watching baking competitions on TV and now has had the chance to test her own skills. 

Meantime, MacDonald says she was pushed into a career of baking after watching her mom and aunt growing up and a gentle nudge from a friend.

“My best friend when I was in my 20s, she wanted me to make her wedding cake for her and I said ‘I don’t make wedding cakes’ and she said ‘yes you do,’” she said.

“So from then on I have now learned how to make wedding cakes and special occasion cakes.”

Currently, the "Cross Country Cake Off" airs Fridays at 8 p.m. on CTV Atlantic, and the CTV app as they compete to move through the rounds and win the $50,000 prize.

“I’ve seen Mary on TV before and I was so excited that she’d be actually judging my cake and Andrew Han is a great chef,” said Naylor.

Even with the winner still a secret, both Naylor and MacDonald say they’d jump at the chance to compete again. Top Stories

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