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Published: Tuesday, 11/11/2003

Baker, 10, cooks in the Big Apple Very Berry Cake

Brandon Wesley, 10, of Sylvania, won a trip to the Big Apple using the Easy-Bake Oven that was a birthday present.

In August, Brandon was given a boy-friendly version of the ever-popular oven called a Queasy Bake Cookerator by his aunt, Jennifer Mahlman of New York City.

Within a week, he had created three recipes to enter Hasbro s Easy-Bake Baker of the Year 2003 contest for children ages 8 to 12. One recipe, Very Berry Cake, was selected as a finalist. (Recipe is on Page 2.)

Made with four layers of Easy-Bake brand yellow cake mixes layered with fresh blueberries and heavy whipping cream, decorated with whipping cream, and garnished with strawberries, the recipe placed Brandon among five finalists from hundreds of entries nationwide.

On Oct. 28, the finalists, ages 9 and 10, each accompanied by an adult, were flown to New York City to create their recipes for judging at the Four Seasons Hotel.

Brandon, the son of Janetta Wesley, was accompanied on the three-day trip by his grandfather, Leonard Mahlman.

On the evening of their arrival, Brandon met the other four budding bakers at a pizza party. The next morning, the competition began at 6:30. Aided by Erin Radden, Four Seasons assistant pastry chef, the finalists spent the morning baking their creations, the best of which were submitted to a panel of judges.

Brandon Wesley, 10, left, with his Very Berry Cake.

Brandon Wesley, 10, left, with his Very Berry Cake.
RAY STUBBLEBINE / ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge

“Each participant had their own table and supplies,” said Mr. Mahlman. He and Brandon s aunt were among the spectators.

“I made 10 different layers of cake and then decided which of them to use for the cake that was judged,” said Brandon.

By midmorning, the prizes had been awarded. Afterward, Brandon and his grandfather went sightseeing in New York City. The next day, they returned home.

“The contest was the most fun,” said Brandon. Under the glare of television cameras, he said he was a little nervous.

The winning entry was a butterscotch lover s delight from the blend of butterscotch chip cookie mix and marshmallows made by Olia Wall, 9, of Chapel Hill, N.C. She received a $5,000 savings bond and a two-year supply of Easy-Bake mixes and bake sets.

Brandon and the other finalists received a $1,000 savings bond and a one-year supply of mixes and bake sets. Other finalists were Hunter Hubbs, 10, of Colorado Springs, Colo., with Easy-Bake Banana Split Cake; Lorena Schmidt, 10, of Punxsutawney, Pa., with Chocolate Chip Pudding Pie, and Elizabeth McLoud, 10, of Siloam Springs, Ark., with Patriotic Trifle Tower.

Brandon, a fifth-grader at Hillview Elementary School, says he has been using the new Easy-Bake Real Meal Oven, which he was awarded. “It has no light bulb and plugs in. It s twice as fast as the old one,” he says. He has been making sugar cookies and chocolate chip cookies using the bake sets.

Brandon plans to enter the contest next year. He said that when he grows up, he wants to be a police officer or a chef.



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