NRV teen decorates cake with ‘Ace of Cakes’
Graison Blankenship, a 10-year-old from Giles, had the chance of a lifetime to learn how to decorate cakes from arguably one of the most recognizable faces in the cake business – Duff Goldman.
Goldman, also known as the “Ace of Cakes,” was a guest speaker at “Mixed” a food blogger conference held at Mountain Lake Hotel Nov. 30 to Dec. 2. Goldman owns Charm City Cakes in Baltimore.
The conference was co-sponsored by Susan Whetzel, of Pearisburg, who has developed recipes for Nestle and Johnsonville. Last year, Whetzel won a trip to the Rose Bowl for an avocado recipe and has won a large cake decorating, pie baking and cupcake competitions.
Whetzel blogs at www.doughmesstic.com and has been featured in “Taste of Home” magazine and is a featured cook on Betty Crocker. Whetzel is a cake decorator and sells high end cupcakes.
The conference featured several speakers and classes. During the conference, Goldman hosted a cake decorating class with several participants including Blankenship.
Blankenship attends Giles Health and Family Center’s (GHFC) “Kids & Co. Child Development Center” and was accompanied by the center’s director, Kaye Johnson, for the Mixed Conference.
GHFC is an intergernerational day care center serving anyone over the age of 16-months-old, Johnson wrote in an email. GHFC also provides a nonemergency medical transportation program for residents of Giles County making an average of 50-60 trips per day throughout the New River Valley, she added.
“Chef Duff spent about an hour with Graison teaching her all about cake decorating and giving her the opportunity to decorate her own cake,” Johnson said. “Graison decided on a winter-themed cake and learned about stencils and piping and making icing balls.”
Goldman gave Blankenship a signed apron and a gift bag worth over $250 in Duff-branded cake decorating products, Johnson said. Goldman also signed an apron for GHFC for all they do, she added.
Johnson said 20 of the class’ participants were unable to take their cakes home, so they decided to donate them to GHFC and to people who needed Christmas cheer during the holiday season.
Whetzel, Johnson added, donated cookie cutters and cake decorating products to GHFC.
The conference attendees, along with sponsor OXO, raised almost $3,000 for Cookies for Kids Cancer, an organization that funds research for pediatric cancer, Johnson said.
For more information about GHFC, visit www.gilesfamilyservices.wordpress.com.
–Mike Shaw, The Burgs
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