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Port Coquitlam custom cake baker wins huge Food Network prize with holiday confection

Port Coquitlam's Cassandra Curtis and her team Cake Magic took home the $10,000 top prize

A Port Coquitlam custom cake maker is now a national baking sensation — and $10,000 richer — after winning a Food Network Christmas baking show.

Cassandra Curtis and her teammates, Dalana Fleming and Emily Skazlic, won the The Big Bake competition on Monday (Nov. 1) in a fast-paced episode that showed three teams competing to make giant Christmas-themed cakes that could move, sing or light up.

Curtis was as cool as a cucumber through much of the contest, as she and her teammates created a three-tiered cake of three French hens, a take-off from the song the 12 Days of Christmas.

It wasn’t until she was told that her team won that Curtis’ calm demeanour gave way to tears.

“They were like, 'Cassandra, let’s go’ and I was still having a break down,” recalled the Terry Fox Secondary grad who entered the contest to fulfill a childhood dream.

The contest took place in a studio in Toronto in February and contestants had five hours to design, bake and put together a massive cake.

The round cake tiers were made of chocolate cake with layers of milk chocolate, orange ganache with salted caramel crisp pearls and layers of Swiss merengue, vanilla butter cream with candied pecans and candied orange peel.

The fondant-covered cake balls were joined by a wooden pole, with screws, nuts and bolts to keep them from sliding into one another.

All the materials — including motors, music, tools, cake ingredients — were provided on set.

Teammate Fleming knew how to use tools and put together the structure, which started to slip at one point until team members came to her aid.

However, for the most part, the cake elements, including the moving parts, came together with little difficulty.

“Ours was super clean and it was executed exactly how we wanted it. We didn’t have to take anything out,” Curtis said.

“All our dynamic elements were working. Our idea was pretty cute, and it all worked exactly how we wanted. We just nailed all of our points.”

If the competition wasn’t stressful enough, Curtis and her team had to wait several hours to find out who won.

During that time the contestants did voice-overs that were used later to create the final show.

It was a day of amazing experiences, Curtis remembered nine months after the episode was filmed.

In all that time, Curtis had to keep her win a secret.

Now she’s able to tell the world about the win and what she will do with the prize money.

Curtis, who watched Monday's episode with her family and served up the award-winning cake, told the Tri-City News she plans to open a bakery with her winnings.