Tuesday, August 14, 2018

‘Sweetified’ Pastry Chef Wins Wedding Cake Competition


Lexie Verbruggen pitches her wedding cake idea on “Pickler & Ben,” a daytime television talk show.

An integral part of most weddings is the presentation of the cake. A wedding cake should be made with quality ingredients; it should look beautiful, taste good, and most importantly, offer guests an abundance of slices. 

Marco Island resident Lexie Verbruggen knows a thing or two about designing the perfect wedding cake. Verbruggen owns Sweetified, a custom cake making business that serves southwest Florida. The pastry chef recently took part in a nationally televised competition to create a wedding cake for Iron Chef Cat Cora and her bride Nicole Ehrlich.

“I submitted a video with what I would design for their wedding day if I was chosen,” Verbruggen said.

Photos by Meg Day Photography
Sweetified owner Lexie Verbruggen with her winning wedding cake design.

Her video and design concept impressed the judges and she was selected as a finalist. Verbruggen was flown to Nashville, Tennessee to appear on “Pickler and Ben,” a national daytime television talk show.

“I’ve never been on TV before so it was super nerve-wracking,” she said.

During the segment, Verbruggen presented her wedding cake design and explained her concept to the TV show hosts as well as Cat Cora and Nicole Ehrlich, who were there via satellite from California.

“We just had to bring a display of what we would make, kind of our recreation of our drawings and then we had to ship a cake to California for them to taste,” she said.

The cake Verbruggen created for the couple was symbolic in nature. She took into consideration their soon-to-be blended family—Cora has four boys and Ehrlich has two. The first layer of Verbruggen’s wedding cake design consisted of six mini cakes, representing each boy. Verbruggen deliberately left the six cakes bare, decorated with frosting alone. She explained that each boy would be given an edible marker to put his own personal spin on the cake.

“I thought I’d find a way to merge the families and combine them and make them all feel included on their big day,” Verbruggen said.

Cora and Ehrlich loved the concept, the design, and the flavor of the wedding cake (a white cake with white mousse filling and frosted in vanilla buttercream). They chose Verbruggen as the winner of the competition. As part of her win, Verbruggen was able to feature her cake at their wedding.

Verbruggen received an all-expense paid trip to Santa Barbara, California where she was put up in an oceanfront hotel for four days. She was compensated for her ingredient expenses and also received $1,000 for winning.

Cora and Ehrlich’s wedding took place last month in a 12,000 square foot villa in the mountains overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

“There were 170 guests, but we had enough cake for nearly 300,” Verbruggen said. “Leftover cake is always a good thing!”

For Verbruggen, an avid follower of Cora’s career, designing her wedding cake was a dream come true. 

“It was an amazing opportunity to make a cake for someone I’d admired so much in my career.”

Sweetified specializes in cakes, producing hundreds of wedding and birthday cakes each year. They do not have a storefront, but lease a commercial kitchen. For more information on Sweetified visit www.sweetified.com.

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