Friday, February 12, 2010

Kelly Ripa's Cake-Off for ovarian cancer research: How you can help

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Ovarian cancer research is about to get a big boost from Kelly Ripa and Electrolux, and you and I are going to help at Watch the video below, then see the end of this post for details.

This week I was one of 15 lucky Foodbuzz food bloggers to participate in Kelly Ripa's Cake-Off for a Cause, a cake decorating event with Buddy "the Cake Boss" Valastro, to benefit the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. Electrolux, the very generous sponsor of this fantastic event, brought us all together in New York. 

We gathered the night before the Cake-Off at a private dinner with chef April Bloomfield at The Spotted Pig, a gastropub in the West Village. On the third floor, there's a private room with a demo kitchen, outfitted with Electrolux professional-grade appliances. So what was the first thing our food blogger group did when we got there? Whipped out our cameras, of course, and took pictures of all the food.

Chef Bloomfield and her crew made some delicious things that night, but my favorites were a rustic root vegetable soup and duck leg confit with cabbage:


The next morning we got up bright and early and headed to the ABC studios for the broadcast of Live! with Regis and Kelly. It's been a long time since I was on a TV set, and I was struck by how much smaller the whole thing looked in real life. We didn't get on TV, but even so it was fun to be in the audience.

A few hours later, we met on the top floor of Chelsea Market, which houses several studios. The area for the Cake-Off was curtained off, but there were so many lights that it was positively glowing through the door opening. When we went inside we saw why: white set, gleaming stainless Electrolux appliances at one end, and more lights than I've ever seen in one room. It was like an operating room times 100. (In a good way, I mean.) When we went in, Kelly Ripa and Buddy "the Cake Boss" Valastro were posing for a group of photographers who were there to get publicity shots for online news sites and wire services.

Then it was time to get to work. We were divided into teams; my team included Jessie of Cakespy and Kelly of Evil Shenanigans. There were five cake themes. We were assigned the Snow Day cake, which was covered in blue fondant, dusted with coarse sparkling sugar, and decorated with embossed snowflakes cut out of white fondant. If you've never worked with fondant, here's a hint: It's edible Play-doh, and it's fun. You can roll it, cut shapes out of it, sculpt it, and then pop it in your mouth. Except you probably don't want to eat it straight, because it tastes like pure corn syrup. Sure is pretty, though.

Chris, one of the guys in Buddy's bake shop (in the black shirt, below), helped us with our fondant rolling and draping techniques - he was a sweetheart. While we worked, Kelly and Buddy wandered around, chatting and giving advice. Oh, and posing for pictures, of course.

I've decided that if I ever become a famous food personality (or, I guess, a famous anything), the part I will hate the most is posing for all the pictures. Buddy looks gorgeous, and pretty much the same, in every single one. How does he do that without looking totally plastic? I'm in awe.

Here's our team with our finished Snow Day cake:

And a close-up of our masterpiece:

All in all, a really spectacular day I'll remember for a long time. Meeting the other bloggers, chatting with Kelly Ripa and the Cake Boss, getting to know the Electrolux team - the whole experience was really special, and I feel lucky to have been part of it.

So now we're down to the important bit, raising money to beat ovarian cancer. I need you to do two things:

First, go to and vote for our Snow Day cake. You can vote once a day until the end of February. Next, on the same site, click on the "Cakery" and send an e-cake to a friend. For every vote you cast and e-cake you send, Electrolux will donate $1 to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. That's a really painless way to raise money for an important cause, don't you agree? What's more, you'll be entered into a drawing for a fantastic Electrolux induction range. I saw it in action. It's incredible: energy-efficient, easy to use, and beautiful to boot.

What are you waiting for? Go vote!

Note: Thanks to Electrolux for paying my way to New York, and to Foodbuzz for giving me the opportunity to participate in this fantastic event!


Sarah said...

Fantastic. Your team is the triple threat of awesome! You guys look like you had a blast!

Rita Anne Smith said...

Thanks for sharing your trip with us. What a great cake. Reminds me very much of a crisp winter's day in the mountains - clear blue sky and snow. have voted and hope your cake wins.

Baking is my Zen...sweet nibbles for the soul said...

A great time for a great cause!
I've voted!

Joanne said...

Wow, what an amazing experience!!!

Erika Kerekes said...

@Joanne - yes, indeed, it was truly amazing. One of the best things that's happened to me yet as a result of writing this blog. AND I got to raise money for a good cause. What could be better?

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