Pastry Arts students to provide “landmark” cakes for 200th celebration
Tommy Tucker, owner of Babycakes bakery, discusses his bicentennial birthday cake
project in class.
You could call it the icing on the cake for some baking and pastry arts students at
Columbus State who are taking part in a very unique cake competition. It’s all tied
to the 200Columbus Bicentennial Birthday Celebration.
The dilemma for organizers was how to make - and pay for - birthday cakes for the
estimated 3,000 guests expected at the birthday celebration February 10. Columbus
State had an educational solution: Students would come to the rescue! 200Columbus
organizers ate it up.
Thirty-one students will each design and craft replicas of 31 Columbus landmarks.
From LeVeque Tower to the Statehouse and beyond, the edible entries will be iced and
decorated, allowing each students’ artistic and pastry skills to be showcased.
Giant Eagle will donate more than 150 pre-baked sheet cakes, 500 pounds of icing and
other decorations for students to use on the project. Entries, such as the statehouse
that are only a few stories high will only need one or two sheet cakes. Taller entries,
such as LeVeque Tower will need several more. Some of the finished cakes will be up
to six feet long!
Considering most students have never crafted extensive cake art pieces, the students
have their work cut out for them! With this tall order of 31 cakes to feed 3000 people,
the current students in this quarter’s Principles of Baking Operations class (Hospitality 111) will be joined by additional
Pastry Arts students, who are excited to have been chosen to be on the official 200Columbus
Bicentennial Cake Team.
Tommy Tucker, 37, is one of the students competing. He was a nursing student at Columbus State
back in the 1990s, but ended up in the food service business and found he enjoyed
baking for family and friends. That eventually led Tucker back to the college for
a degree in Hospitality Management, majoring in the Baking & Pastry Arts Track. He
recently opened his own business – Babykakes – and is “thrilled” about the upcoming competition.
This competition affords me the opportunity to showcase my talent and show the skills
that I’ve learned over the years, says Tucker. “It’s exciting and fun. This opportunity doesn’t come around too often where you can visualize a project, design it on paper and
then do it.”
With only 17 days left to go before the competition, much detail and student coordination
is required. The actual competition begins Thursday, February 9 at The Convention
Center – the day before the birthday celebration. When the grand party begins the following
night, the students' cakes will be showcased front and center throughout the ballroom. For their student
careers, that will be the icing on the cake.