Food Network Lets Them Eat Cake

The Food Network is an American cable network that airs series and specials about one of our most beloved subjects - food. The Network is viewed in 80 million households and by half a million people per day. It's seen in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Monaco, Andorra, France, and the French-speaking territories in the Caribbean and Polynesia. Canadians now have their own version, Food Network Canada.

Every Sunday night, the Food Network Challenge (which has reached franchise status and offers cash prizes big enough to remodel your kitchen) hosts the largest and most memorable food competitions around the world.

Here's a sampling of the competitions for the world's best cakes:

Wedding Cake Challenge - Teams vie for the bragging rights (and $10 grand) for creating the world's most spectacular wedding cake.

Spatulas and pastry tubes are augmented by high tech weapons such as Homaro Cantu's Class IV laser that sears edibles at 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit and ink-jet printer that prints photographs on soy-based edible paper.

Disney Dream Desserts - Student pastry chefs create four desserts and a three-foot tall chocolate and sugar centerpiece as they compete at the Happiest Place on Earth for a $14,000 scholarship and an internship in the Disney kitchens.

Mystery Birthday Cake - Five top-notch cake designers are challenged by a client from hell whose identity and criteria for the birthday cake will not be revealed until minutes before the six-hour competition begins. (Colette Peters took home the $10,000 first prize in 2005.)

Birthday Cake Competition - An edible, rotating Ferris wheel is one of the memorable cakes created in this competition where six of the nation's top cake designers unleash their imaginations and test their skills as they compete to create the world's most outrageous birthday cake (and a $10,000 first place prize).

Cookies, Fire and Ice (pastry and ice sculpture), Wedding Cake Classic and Ultimate Wedding Cakes are just a few more of the dozens of pastry and cake competitions hosted by the Food Network Challenge.

Other challenges bring together top-notch barbecue chefs, pizza makers, and more in a quest for the world's best culinary creations.

Celebrity chef hosts include famous restaurateurs Emeril and Wolfgang Puck.

Many of the Food Network's personalities have become quite famous, such as home cooking diva Rachael Ray (the star of the Network and host of 30-Minute Meals, sort of an antithesis to Martha Stewart). And, then there's Duff Goldman.

Shaping cakes with drill saws and blow torches, Goldman is known as the "Bad Boy" of the Food Network.

He hosts the network's latest creation (as of January 16, 2007), Ace of Cakes. And as one of the most sought after cake decorators in the nation, he blows away cake decorator stereotypes.

A former graffiti artist, Duff holds degrees in philosophy and physics, plays bass in an indie band, and studied pastries at the Culinary Institute of America before going on to the prestigious position of executive pastry chef at the Vail Cascade Hotel and Resort in Colorado. He now owns and operates Charm City Cakes in Baltimore.

His cake creations are as diverse as his talents and include a Harry Potter quidditch arena, a piece of rare black Wedgwood china made for Hillary Clinton in 2002, and many family dog tribute cakes.

Clients have paid $175 for a simple square to $20,000 for a massive, mechanized cake with edible moving parts.

Many of the Food Network personalities have interesting and surprising career stories.

Sugar Rush host, Warren Brown, left a career in law to open Cakelove, his specialty cake and pastry business in Washington D.C. (You may have seen him on Oprah or in Time magazine.)

Sugar Rush follows Brown as he visits restaurants, pastry shops and bakeries around the country, and then returns to his kitchen to cook a recipe he's learned.

Warren's own most popular cake is a three-layer buttercream with fresh strawberries, and his cupcakes are the all-around best sellers at Cakelove.

Every Sunday night, the Food Network Challenge (which has reached franchise status and offers cash prizes big enough to remodel your kitchen) hosts the largest and most memorable food competitions around the world. And they post the recipes on their Website!

Here's a sampling of the competitions for the world's best cakes:

Wedding Cake Challenge - Teams vie for the bragging rights (and $10 grand) for creating the world's most spectacular wedding cake. Spatulas and pastry tubes are augmented by high tech weapons such as Homaro Cantu's Class IV laser that sears edibles at 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit and ink-jet printer that prints photographs on soy-based edible paper.

Disney Dream Desserts - Student pastry chefs create four desserts and a three-foot tall chocolate and sugar centerpiece as they compete at the Happiest Place on Earth for a $14,000 scholarship and an internship in the Disney kitchens.

Mystery Birthday Cake - Five top-notch cake designers are challenged by a client from hell whose identity and criteria for the birthday cake will not be revealed until minutes before the six-hour competition begins. (Colette Peters took home the $10,000 first prize in 2005.)

Birthday Cake Competition - An edible, rotating Ferris wheel is one of the memorable cakes created in this competition where six of the nation's top cake designers unleash their imaginations and test their skills as they compete to create the world's most outrageous birthday cake (and a $10,000 first place prize).

Cookies, Fire and Ice (pastry and ice sculpture), Wedding Cake Classic and Ultimate Wedding Cakes are just a few more of the dozens of pastry and cake competitions hosted by the Food Network Challenge. Other challenges bring together top-notch barbecue chefs, pizza makers, and more in a quest for the world's best culinary creations.

Food Network, founded in 1993 and more popular than ever, boasts record-setting ratings in primetime and a top food Website. Celebrity chef hosts include famous restaurateurs Emeril and Wolfgang Puck. Many of the Food Network's personalities have become quite famous, such as home cooking diva Rachael Ray (the star of the Network and host of 30-Minute Meals, sort of an antithesis to Martha Stewart). And, then there's Duff Goldman.

Shaping cakes with drill saws and blow torches, Goldman is known as the "Bad Boy" of the Food Network. He hosts the network's latest creation (as of January 16, 2007), Ace of Cakes. And as one of the most sought after cake decorators in the nation, he blows away cake decorator stereotypes.

A former graffiti artist, Duff holds degrees in philosophy and physics, plays bass in an indie band, and studied pastries at the Culinary Institute of America before going on to the prestigious position of executive pastry chef at the Vail Cascade Hotel and Resort in Colorado. He now owns and operates Charm City Cakes in Baltimore,

His cake creations are as diverse as his talents and include a Harry Potter quidditch arena, a piece of rare black Wedgwood china made for Hillary Clinton in 2002, and many family dog tribute cakes. Clients have paid $175 for a simple square to $20,000 for a massive, mechanized cake with edible moving parts.

Many of the Food Network personalities have interesting and surprising career stories. Sugar Rush host, Warren Brown, left a career in law to open Cakelove, his specialty cake and pastry business in Washington D.C. (You may have seen him on Oprah or in Time magazine.)

Sugar Rush follows Brown as he visits restaurants, pastry shops and bakeries around the country, and then returns to his kitchen to cook a recipe he's learned.

Warren's own most popular cake is a three-layer buttercream with fresh strawberries, and his cupcakes are the all-around best sellers at Cakelove.

To check the viewing times for these and many more shows, visit the Food Network online at www.foodnetwork.com.