Chicago Flower Show



Congratulations to Emily Pille for taking home the crown at the 14th annual Pillsbury National Cake Decorating Competition!


Competitors          Guidelines


The Retail Bakers of America (RBA) are breaking the mold to introduce some fantastic changes to their annual National Cake Decorating Competition. New location, new focus, new technology and over $7,000 in prize money!

In partnership with Pillsbury, the RBA is pleased to announce that the 14th annual National Bakers Plus Creative Decorating Competition will be held on March 21-22, 2015 at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show at Navy Pier. This amazing venue allows the RBA and Pillsbury the opportunity to show case to both industry and consumer audiences.

The Chicago Flower & Garden Show welcomes over 40,000 visitors to Navy Pier during the week long event. The Cake Decorating Competition will be center stage over two days allowing guests and fans to watch their favorite decorators at work.

The Cake Decorating Competition committee is working diligently to give the 2015 contest a new look. The focus has shifted to the decorators completing only 3 spectacular cakes during the two day competition. The competition will require decorators to complete a  themed wedding cake, a sculpted cake, and a “creative” cake in which the decorators will learn the theme the day the competition begins.

2015 Competitors



Christel Andrews

Kirsten's Danish Bakery 

1057 N Oakley Dr W Bldg110

Westmont, IL 60559

Quote:  “I'm excited about this competing with talent from other regions. Also looking forward to see family and friends attending as my cheerleaders in my 3rd national competition."


Bio: Chris Andrews is a self-taught decorator with a background in graphic arts. She has been playing with cake for the community and local celebrities for 18 years at Kirsten's Danish Bakery.



Emma Mcadow

Fantasy in Frosting

826 Monmouth St.

Newport, KY 41071  

Quote:  “I expect some very tough competition! Every year it is very impressive to see what contestants can get together in the hours we're given.  Good luck all!”

          Bio:  Emma started working for Busken when she turned 16.  She became interested in cakes and joined the decorating team.  Emma loved her work so much, she decided to major in Pastry at Cincinnati State prior to pursuing my Bachelor's. Her style is a compilation of techniques she’s learned from other award-winning decorators.  Emma has worked side-by-side with many talented people at Busken and chose her favorite techniques and highly requested decorations and made them her own.  She stayed for 10 years and left a member of the leadership team.  Emma made the decision recently to branch out and expand her skills. She wanted to get into fondant work and spent time with Robert Ayres, Moe Thie and Nancy Snodgrass in effort to learn everything I could.  She loves the work she does and feels competing is a thrill.  This will be her third year in a row at Nationals and she is grateful to have the support of my family.



LeeAnn Parsons

810 Dixie Drive

West Carrollton,Oh 45449

Quote: “I truly love what I do, being creative and letting my artistic talents flow. I love making people smile and I have fun while I am doing it! I grow more every day with every cake!  With this competition I hope to achieve the best. I am extremely excited about the competition. I have not ever made it to this level but know that I am going in guns blazing and ready to rock it!”

          Bio:  Lee Ann has been decorating for 19 years, 12 of them professionally.  She got her start with a job frying donuts and chicken at a bakery/deli in a grocery store.  She would fry the donuts and chicken while intensely watching the cake decorator do the cakes. After taking a break from the industry for several years, LeeAnn continued to do a lot of cakes from home for all her family and friends. When her family decided to move back to Ohio she turned to her two true loves…people and cake. She applied at a local bakery in Dayton and has enjoyed the ride ever since.



Tamatha Cain

Choux Cake Studio

4458 Marquette Ave

Jacksonville, FL 32210

Quote:  The regional SRBA competition was my first cake competition ever, and I'm so excited for the LIVE nationals. I can't stop smiling! :)))))


Bio:  Tamatha Cain is the owner of Choux Cake Studio in Jacksonville, Florida, and she loves cake! She has been decorating professionally for 9 years, with the last 7 as the owner of Choux Cake Studio. As a mostly-self-taught decorator, she teases that she owns way too many cake decorating and sugar art books. She does love to take classes with experts when time permits. She is the mom of three 'kids": two girls who will both graduate from college this year and one son who is in high school. Her and her husband will celebrate their 25th anniversary this year, and she is looking forward to designing a cake for the RBA!



Robyn Hanisch

Hanisch Bakery & Coffee Shop

Red Wing, MN


More Info Coming Soon!


Video Portfolio

Emily Pille

Karen's Bakery Café

705 Gold Lake Road

Folsom, CA 95630

Quote: Love what you do, work hard, and opportunities will come your way, and whatever the outcome be glad the journey led you there!


Bio: Emily Pille was born and raised in southern California. Attended culinary school in San Diego, where she first started baking and decorating. She loves the creativity freedom that her job has allowed and it never tends to be too boring.  She believes in always learning about the new trends and improving old techniques. Emily have been cake decorating for almost 13 years now and currently has made her home at Karen's Bakery and Cafe where each year they continue to grow. She consider herself very blessed to have a career, a wonderful husband, and three amazing kids who support her and are so excited to see mommy compete in Chicago's RBA competition! 


Video Portfolio

Krystina Gianaris     

Cake & Co.

1378 Queen Anne Rd

Teaneck, NJ 07666


More Info Coming Soon!


Video Portfolio

Nancy Vendetti Sepe

Quote:  I love the thrill of competition! I have won many awards but never the Grand Prize.  I’ve got my eye on the prize this year. Good Luck to everyone!

Bio:  Nancy Vendetti Sepe has been a cake artist for over 30 years. She is the owner of Nancy’s Fancies Custom Cakes and Cupcakes.  She was a 2nd place winner in the Food Network, Cupcake Wars in 2011.  Nancy is also the America’s National Raisin Bread Contest, Idea Prize Winner in 2012.   


Cake Decorating Competition Categories


Wedding Category

Emily & Peter

Contestants will be given a choice of wedding cake size layers. Their cake must be at least 4 tiers and no more than 5 tiers of cake. The wedding cake may be stacked or separated. The layers may be cut or shaped. Non-edible and/or manufactured decorations may not be used. The only exceptions are the use of separators or stands.


This year’s competition will require contestants to create a wedding cake with the theme of a Spring Garden Wedding for Emily and Peter. They will be married in a botanical garden in May at sunset. Emily is a photographer and Peter is a computer programmer. They love the outdoors and are avid hikers. Emily will be wearing an off the shoulder dress in white and the bridesmaids will be dressed in mint green. The flowers will include assorted wildflowers and spring flowers in assorted pinks, yellows, coral and mint.


The evening reception will be in the botanical gardens wild flower area exhibit area. Emily and Peter are looking to add a touch of bling and lots of lights to the reception.


Sculpted Cake

“Surprise Theme”

Contestants must prepare a 2-tiered fondant cake using a 6” tier and a 10” tier for a theme that will be given to them at the beginning of competition. They must use 2 or more of the following fondant techniques-quilting, embossing, painting, brush embroidery, crimping, fondant bows, fondant flowers, fondant swags, molded figures, or fondant appliqués.


Contestant may use buttercream or royal icing to finish their design or create the appropriate techniques. Non-edible decorations will not be allowed. Judging for this category will be for fine detailed work as shown in traditional rolled fondant and this should not become another sculpted piece.



Rolled Fondant Cake

“A Walk in the Woods”

Contestants will be provided with up to three full sheet cakes. This cake is meant to be a grooms cake and will be based on the theme of “A Walk in the Woods”.


Using creativity and artistic talent, contestants may decorate, sculpt or cut-out the cake in any design. They are encouraged to add an element of movement to this cake and may use electric or battery operated devices. The design must be 3-dimensional. Structural supports and plates should be used but all supports must be covered with icing. The sculpture may be made covered with either buttercream or fondant icing. Rice Krispy sheets, brownies or modeling chocolate may be used for up to 10% of the structures of the cake. The cake must be at least 12” tall. If any non-edible surface shows (other than the base board that the cake is sitting on) they will receive penalty points.


The judges are looking for the “wow” factor.


Penalty points will be given for cakes that are not standing or have fallen apart before the award ceremony on Sunday.





Thank you to all of the bakeries and decorators that participated in the 2015 Pillsbury Cake Decorating Competition!  Check back frequently for updates regarding the 2016 competition!

For high lights from previous years, click here.


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