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Winners Named in CalJava-Sponsored Cake Contest

Kristan N. Kessler, of Elysburg, and her grand-prize-winning entry.Judges have announced winners for the recent CalJava International student cake contest at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

Kristan N. Kessler, of Elysburg, who earned an associate degree in baking and pastry arts May 17 and is continuing her education toward a degree in hospitality management at Penn College, was named the grand-prize winner of the CalJava Wedding Cake Contest, earning an all-expense paid trip to California to attend a hands-on course at the CalJava International School of Cake Decorating and Sugarcrafts. The prize is valued at more than $2,000.

The May 5 contest and its prizes were sponsored by CalJava International, of Northridge, Calif., whose founder and CEO, Daniel Budiman, conceived the idea for the contest after twice visiting the college to offer demonstrations and work with students. He saw it as an opportunity for a business to encourage students to continue developing their budding talents.

This marks the third year for the annual contest, which challenged students to design cakes based on a wedding gift bag.

First place was awarded to Laura B. Immel, of Muncy. The honor was accompanied by a $300 cash prize. Jessica A. Miller, a nursing student from Cogan Station, earned second place and a $200 cash prize. Brian D. Cascio, of Nashua, N.H., earned third place and $100.

Immel’s design was additionally awarded the People’s Choice Award, which was determined by cash votes cast by visitors to the display. The money donated by voters will be given to the Williamsport YWCA’s Liberty House, which provides rooms for homeless women (and women with children) and programs to assist them in becoming self-sufficient.

The CalJava Wedding Cake Contest was held in conjunction with the School of Hospitality’s Cakes and Pastry Display, which also featured chocolate buildings, sugar art and cakes by students in an introductory cake-decorating course. From these entries, judges awarded prizes in each category.

Winners for the chocolate buildings were Trevor A. Mincemoyer, of Milton, first place; Carrie L. Taylor, of Hughesville, second; Amanda H. Shughart, of Mechanicsburg, third; and Roseanna L. Fagnano, Williamsport, honorable mention.

Sugar art winners were Amanda H. Shughart, of Mechanicsburg, first place; Deandra M. Lupacckino, of Douglassville, second place; Brian D. Cascio, of Nashua, N.H., third place; and Laura B. Immel, Muncy, honorable mention.

Winners in the beginning cakes category were Allyson J. Roan, of Pennsylvania Furnace, first place; Akacia Klick, of Kingston, second place; Ashley M. Wolfe, of South Williamsport, third place; and Skylar D. Kline, of McClure, honorable mention.

Judges for the event were Kim Morrison, two-time winner and now a judge of the National Wedding Cake Competitions held at the Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show and owner of Cakes for Occasions in Spring Mills; Jennifer Eckert, who earned degrees in baking and pastry arts and technology management from Penn College; and Tammy Hulsinger, owner of Cove Party Supplies in Roaring Branch and host of her own cake-decorating competition.

Before founding CalJava International, which distributes cake-decorating supplies worldwide, Budiman gained fame for his unique wedding-cake designs. He is also editor of Here Comes the Cake magazine.

For more information about the academic programs offered by the School of Hospitality at Penn College, visit online , e-mail or call (570) 327-4505.

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