‘Macy’s Thanksgiving Cake Spectacular’ – Baking competition marches into view
Maureen McCormick has never been to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade but this week she will get to preside over a cake version of it in a competition special on Food Network.
In “Macy’s Thanksgiving Cake Spectacular,” airing Sunday, Nov. 17, the former “Brady Bunch” actress is the host as four top bakers create cake sculptures of balloons and floats that pay tribute to the venerable New York City procession, to be evaluated by a judging panel of “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro; Susan Tercero, the parade’s executive producer; and last season’s winner, Timbo Sullivan. The victor takes home a $10,000 grand prize and tickets to the parade, and will have their work featured in the Macy’s flagship store in New York.
The competition has two rounds. In the first, the “Cake Pop Challenge,” the bakers are tasked with creating a cake pop inspired by their own childhood memories of the holiday. Then in the main event, the “Cake Challenge,” they construct or decorate a cake based on a float or balloon. For inspiration, the artists even visited the Macy’s parade warehouse in New Jersey to see some of the genuine articles.
McCormick was impressed by what they came up with.
“Some of them were huge,” she reports of the cake sculptures that can reach upward of four feet in height, such as one Cat in the Hat creation.
“I was blown away by what they were making,” McCormick continues. “They, of course, were not as big as the float but I’m telling you, some of the pieces that these people did were huge. I can’t even imagine making a cake that big but they were doing it. … You know, you’re seeing everything, the mistakes, the things that they have to change as they go along and all the different things that can come into play when you’re baking (in front of a studio audience) on TV.”
But despite the gaffes, McCormick says all the bakers responded to the pressure of competition and represented themselves quite capably.
“They all stepped up to the cake – not the plate but the cake,” she quips. “They were amazing and it was so fun to watch, very inspirational.
“There were a couple that I kind of saw as we were going along, thinking, ‘I think this is going to take the cake,’ (compared to) in the beginning when I thought it was going to be someone else. So it’s amazing how it can change from minute to minute.”