With most of the country still shut down, more and more people have turned to baking as a form of entertainment and comfort. That does not exclude Eater staffers, who decided to make their new hobby into a competition via a cake bake off.
Five staffers had three hours to make their cakes, and had to film the entire process themselves. With no way to taste the cakes, judges — Eater editor-in-chief Amanda Kludt, Eater’s restaurant editor Hillary Dixler Canavan, and expert baker and Eater Young Gun ‘19 Zoe Kanan — rated the cakes based on ambition and appearance.
Eater Travel Editor Lesley Suter chose to make a twist on a pineapple upside down cake, incorporating additional Mai Tai elements since, as she puts it “it’s the closest thing I can get to a vacation right now.” Director of Audience Development Milly McGuinnes took on Maialino’s olive oil cake, stating: “I truly believe the best types of cakes are the simplest ones.” Eater Boston Editor Rachel Blumenthal decided to pay tribute to her city with a Boston cream pie-inspired cake with passion fruit caramel popcorn garnish, while Eater LA Editor Matthew Kang took on a Southern-style coconut carrot cake, and Eater NY Reporter Tanay Warerkar made a pavlova, despite never attempting to make one before.
Some staffers seem more confident than others. “This particular recipe I’ve been working and testing, and I can tell you it looks pretty good,” Matt says confidently. “I’m making something that I’ve never made before, so I’m extremely nervous about the challenge. I may end up regretting this,” confessed Tanay. “I can’t decorate a cake to save my life, so I don’t know why I’m here, but I think it’s going to be fun,” Rachel said with optimism. And it’s important to consider Milly’s disclaimer: “I would just like to point out that we all work at Eater, and Eater hires people that like to eat out at restaurants. We like to have things made for us.”
Different techniques were attempted, and many mishaps were made as a number of our staffers seem to have difficulty cracking eggs without getting shells in the bowl, or producing anything other than an extremely lopsided-looking dessert. In once instance, the vanilla was left out of the batter by accident. The judges began their commentary based on how each cake looked, ranking them from worst to best. Watch to see who is crowned the winner of Eater Bakes.