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Rome bakers win national competition

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Kate White and Melissa Kroeger, winners of first place in the 15th annual Pillsbury Bakers’ Plus Creative Decorating Competition on Tuesday, Oct. 11, during the final day of the International Baking Industry Exposition in Las Vegas. (Doug Walker, RN-T)

Kate White and Melissa Kroeger are Rome’s new queens of the commercial baking kitchen, after winning first place in the Pillsbury Bakers’ Plus Creative Decorating Competition organized by the Retail Bakers of America.

The duo is back on the job at Honeymoon Bakery, 228 Broad St., after returning from the two-day competition in Las Vegas on Sunday.

“We’ve worked together for eight years so this proves that what we do collectively works,” White said. “It validates what we do.”

Six two-person teams competed in the event at the International Baking Industry Exposition.

Kroeger said that she saw a flier promoting the competition several months ago and it didn’t take much to convince White to join her.

White said they won a southeastern regional event in Gadsden to qualify for the trip to Las Vegas.

In Las Vegas, White said the first day they were required to bake a Satin Ice Fondant cake.

Kroeger said that on the second day of the competition they had to bake a wedding cake, which incorporated an antique clock in its design as a tribute to a wedding couple. They also had to bake a two-tiered Fondant cake with a baby shower theme for twins.

The final day they had to bake a groom’s cake that required moving parts.

“That was something we had never done before,” Kroeger said.

They created a pop-up book that had the bride and groom dancing on a pier, White added.

“We had them spinning really slowly and then we had orca whales diving in and out of the water as part of the cake,” Kroeger said.

The cake was designed for a couple getting married on a pier overlooking the Puget Sound, near Seattle, and they wanted to incorporate elements of the surrounding area, White said.

They haven’t asked for a raise since they got back, Kroeger laughed. However, they did share a $5,000 first prize award for winning the competition against baking teams from Ohio, Arizona, Illinois and Minnesota.