Reading is ever-so-sweet at The Great Cake Bake

Calvin and Hobbes top Tammy Jo Gleckler's award-winning cake, What Will You Do With Your Imagination?

Calvin and Hobbes top Tammy Jo Gleckler’s award-winning cake, What Will You Do With Your Imagination?

Imagine this: You walk into the Tennessee Terrace concourse at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville greeted by long tables filled with children’s books and colorful, creative companion cakes! And then you know:  Reading really is in a sweet spot!

Cassie Pruitt's cake Reading Is Fundamental: 2nd Place for All-Occasion Fondant, Intermediate Division

Cassie Pruitt’s cake Reading Is Fundamental: 2nd Place for All-Occasion Fondant, Intermediate Division

It’s all part of a major fundraiser for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, a program that provides new books to children under the age of six in Knox County, Tennessee.  And with over 3,000 people in attendance, the net estimate of $25,000 by Mary Pom Claiborne (marketing director for Knox County Public Library) may be low since cakes, donated baked goods, and t-shirts were on sale, too. (Click here: News-Sentinel: Cake Bake a sweet event to benefit Imagination Library.)

Detail from Skyla Shealy's cake Ladybug which took 2nd Place in All-Occasion Fondant, Junior Division

Detail from Skyla Shealy’s cake Ladybug which took 2nd Place in All-Occasion Fondant, Junior Division

 

The main goal, of course, is to encourage reading at a young age, and, judging from the kids and grown-ups we saw, children (of all ages) were eager to dig into books as well as cupcakes, cookies, and cakes.

Year Shah's Dr. Seuss:  3rd Place in All-Occasion Fondant, Beginner Division

Year Shah’s Dr. Seuss: 3rd Place in All-Occasion Fondant, Beginner Division

We were also anxious to see what this year’s competition would bring since our blog post Books and Buttercream at The Great Cake Bake (Click herenabbed the highest views of any post in 2013.  And, this year, we were definitely not disappointed.  In fact, if you had followed us around, you would have heard How’d they do that? multiple times since the mysteries of fondant, frosting, and flourishes escape us.  Here are our favorites, but who’s to say, right? Thank goodness we weren’t asked to judge.

Haley McManigal's train loaded with books took 2nd Place in the All-Occasion Fondant category, Professional Division

Haley McManigal’s train loaded with books took 2nd Place in the All-Occasion Fondant category, Professional Division

Wedding Cakes

Ranging from average size to toweringly tall, wedding cakes were judged in two categories:  buttercream and fondant.

Chocolate on Amaretto Wedding Cake by Melissa Pendleton

Chocolate on Amaretto Wedding Cake by Melissa Pendleton

Tammy Owenby, 1st Place Wedding Cake

Tammy Owenby, 1st Place Wedding Cake

Close-up, Tammy Owenby's Wedding Cake

Close-up, Tammy Owenby’s Wedding Cake

Fleur de lis base supports the tallest entry in the Wedding Cake category

Fleur de lis base supports the tallest entry in the Wedding Cake category

All-Occasion Cakes

Cakes could be submitted in four categories:  Professional, Intermediate, Beginner, and Junior.

Detailed storybook characters populate the entry "Dr. Seuss" by Maria Pannala

Detailed storybook characters populate the entry “Dr. Seuss” by Maria Pannala

Sarah Hicks' entry The Hobbit took First Place in the Junior division.

Sarah Hicks’ entry The Hobbit took First Place in the Junior division.

Robin Middlebrook's floral creation came in 1st in the Junior Division of All-Occasion Buttercream

Robin Middlebrook’s floral creation came in 1st in the Junior Division of All-Occasion Buttercream

Stacey Kolopus's detail on her steam-punk themed cake merited 1st Place in the Beginner division of Fondant All-Occasion cakes.

Stacey Kolopus’s detail on her steam-punk themed cake merited 1st Place in the Beginner division of Fondant All-Occasion cakes.

We loved the characters on this Wonka cake by Whitney Roberson who was awarded 3rd Place in the Beginner Division for All-Occasion Fondant.

We loved the characters on this Wonka cake by Whitney Roberson who was awarded 3rd Place in the Beginner Division for All-Occasion Fondant.

With so many people voting for Tammy Jo Geckler's Calvin & Hobbes cake, we knew it would win, and it did: 1st Place, Intermediate Division, All-Occasion - Fondant.

With so many people voting for Tammy Jo Geckler’s Calvin & Hobbes cake, we knew it would win, and it did: 1st Place, Intermediate Division, All-Occasion – Fondant.

Close-up of melting snowmen on Tammy Jo Geckler's cake, What Will You Do With Your Imagination?

Close-up of melting snowmen on Tammy Jo Geckler’s cake, What Will You Do With Your Imagination?

A dark background contrasts nicely with the figures on Julia Hammer's entry "Granny's Dragon"

A dark background contrasts nicely with the figures on Julia Hammer’s entry “Granny’s Dragon”

 

 

Another popular cake was this UT Cornhole look-alike by Kathy Macourek!

Another popular cake was this UT Cornhole look-alike by Kathy Macourek!

Cupcakes

The tiniest creations in the show were submitted in the Cupcake category with these divisions:  Cake Pops, Intermediate, Beginner, and Junior

Hannah Southall's entry entitled "Starbucks"

Hannah Southall’s entry entitled “Starbucks”

Winning 1st Place in the Junior Division was Rachel Hicks' elephant cupcake

Winning 1st Place in the Junior Division was Rachel Hicks’ elephant cupcake

Donovan Scott created an almost look-alike llama to win 2nd Place, Junior Division for Cupcakes

Donovan Scott created an almost look-alike llama to win 2nd Place, Junior Division for Cupcakes

Donovan Scott, proud winner of 2nd Place, Junior Division for his Llama Llama Red Pajama cupcake!

Donovan Scott, proud winner of 2nd Place, Junior Division for his Llama Llama Red Pajama cupcake!

Debra Correa's Catching Fire cupcake won 3rd Place, Intermediate Division

Debra Correa’s Catching Fire cupcake won 3rd Place, Intermediate Division

Diaper Cakes

A new category this year, Diaper Cakes, first involved supporters who donated $150.00 so that volunteers could create “cakes” out of diapers.  Yes, diapers.  After being carefully rolled and stacked to form “layer cakes,” diaper cakes were decorated based upon the theme of a beloved children’s book.

Little Owl's Night

Little Owl’s Night

 

Zinnia's Flower Garden

Zinnia’s Flower Garden

Good Night, Gorilla

Good Night, Gorilla

Ladybug Girl and Bingo

Ladybug Girl and Bingo

All of Baby Nose to Toes

All of Baby Nose to Toes

T-shirts were everywhere — on volunteers, Cake Bake attendees, etc. Parker Foppiano manned the table full of t-shirts (royal purple this year!) emblazoned with the Great Cake Bake logo.

Great t-shirts for a Great Cake Bake!

Great t-shirts for a Great Cake Bake!

And baked goods were on sale for grown-ups who couldn’t pass up a bargain at the end of the day.  Like husband Bert who toted home cookies, oatmeal bread and a carrot cake at the insistence of long-time supporter of Friends of the Library, Bonnie Naugher.

Bert was easily persuaded by volunteer Bonnie Naugher to take home the goods at the end of the day!

Bert was easily persuaded by volunteer Bonnie Naugher to take home the goods at the end of the day!

Thanks to sponsors Sugarbakers and Food City and the many volunteers and Friends of the Library, the fifth annual Great Cake Bake is history — and a profitable one for a good cause, too.

Melissa Pendleton's Green Eggs and Ham

Melissa Pendleton’s Green Eggs and Ham

If you missed this year’s Cake Bake, make a note for next year.  After all, who doesn’t like to have their cake and reading, too?

Close-up from Cassie Pruitt's Reading Is Fundamental

Close-up from Cassie Pruitt’s Reading Is Fundamental

For more information and pictures:

Check out my Pinterest Board: Fancy Cakes for pictures from The Great Cake Bake as well as other creative cakes I’ve found on the Web: http://www.pinterest.com/rushasams/fancy-cakes/

For the News-Sentinel article by Mike Blackerby “Cake Bake a sweet event to benefit Imagination Library,” click here.

For more on Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, click here.

For more on Friends of the Knox County Library, click here.

About Oh, the Places We See

Met at University of Tennessee, been married for 47 years, and still passionate about travel whether we're volunteering with Habitat Global Village, combining work at Discovery with pleasure, or just seeing the world. Hope you'll join us as we try to see it all while we can!
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26 Responses to Reading is ever-so-sweet at The Great Cake Bake

  1. Wow! Those are some pretty detailed cakes! The Calvin and Hobbes one is definitely deserving.

    • Rusha Sams says:

      Thanks for taking a look. I loved the cakes, too! And I really didn’t have a favorite this time — many good features on several of the cakes. You’ve mentioned one of them!

  2. Su Leslie says:

    These are just wonderful – and I’m with the majority on the Calvin and Hobbes cake. My favourite too. 🙂

    • Rusha Sams says:

      So glad you commented on the Calvin and Hobbes cake — one of my favorites. But so many cakes, so little time!! I loved a lot of them. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

      • Su Leslie says:

        Thanks Rusha. I was thinking about your post the other day when I baked a cake for my partner’s birthday. It tasted pretty good (banana cake with salted caramel frosting and walnut praline), but looked pretty lame – especially alongside those wonderful, whimsical masterpieces you photographed. 🙂

      • Rusha Sams says:

        I only wish I could roll a flat square of fondant out on a table just so I could say I did! I don’t make fancy cakes, but really love looking at them. So much creativity. But now that you mention it, I think I’d rather eat a banana cake with salted caramel frosting!!! Happy baking!

      • Su Leslie says:

        I know what you mean; I’ve only once managed to ice a Christmas cake with marzipan and fondant in such a way that it didn’t look like I’d dropped it in gravel first. And according to my boys, the banana cake was pretty good (though my son pointed out that those from the cafe it was modelled on are waaay better). Hope you have a great weekend. 🙂

  3. Piggletino says:

    They look so good that I wouldn’t bear to see them eaten! Guess if Piggletino had seen these, he would’ve taken so many photos!

  4. annetbell says:

    What fun . . . .and those yummy cakes.. . . .

  5. Mayra Rivera says:

    I enjoyed looking through all your images of the event. So many wonderful entries! I have pinned to our Great Cake Bake board on pinterest! http://www.pinterest.com/greatcakebake/great-cake-bake/

    • Rusha Sams says:

      Thanks so much for looking through the pictures and then adding them to the Great Cake Bake board! It was a wonderful show, and a great event to promote reading. Thanks for all you do!

  6. WOW!! So many beautiful cakes and cupcakes. I think it’s cool that diaper cakes were also represented. Looks like it was a very fun day. You took great photos. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Amy says:

    Beautiful cakes! So very creative. Love the idea of reading.
    The first one is really cute! Thank you for sharing, Rusha!

  8. Beautiful cakes! I really love the connection to reading. I’m an author and I work in a library 🙂

  9. lesleycarter says:

    I love that last wedding cake. Makes me want to get married again, to my husband, just to celebrate like this 🙂

    • Rusha Sams says:

      Well, you don’t have to have a fancy wedding cake to get married all over again to the man who makes you happy. But this would be a nice cake to share with everyone! I loved it, too!

  10. FreeRangeCow says:

    Oh, Rusha! Amazing! You photographed them so very well!

    • Rusha Sams says:

      Thanks, but it wasn’t easy. So many cakes line the tables that it’s hard to focus on just one. Plus, the light was streaming in through big windows causing shadows or washing out the colors. Oh, well. It was fun getting up close to these cute cakes. Thanks for reading!

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