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IDDBA Reveals Contestants for 2016 Cake Challenge

Nayeli Cruz of Vons, Paige Thornton of Green Valley Marketplace and Sara Vanderheyden of Hy-Vee Inc. will face off at the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association's (IDDBA) 21st annual Cake Decorating Challenge at the upcoming Dairy-Deli-Bake Seminar & Expo in Houston, Texas, June 5-7.

All three decorators will receive an all-expense paid trip to compete in the annual cake decorating competition, which features three phases. On Sunday, June 5, each contestant will decorate enough cakes to fill one multi-tiered, eight-foot bakery case. On Monday, June 6, each contestant will decorate a wedding cake, and on Tuesday, June 7, each contestant will decorate three cakes, one from each category: special occasion, show theme, and decorator’s choice.

Nayeli Cruz of Vons in Carlsbad, Calif., has been decorating for nine years.  She credits her mother for teaching her everything she knows and for passing on the passion for cakes.  Nayeli’s training continued during her time at Vons where her love of decorating can be seen in the cakes she makes for her customers.

Paige Thornton of Green Valley Marketplace in Elkridge, Md., is a self-taught decorator who has picked up tips and tricks during her seven years as a decorator.  She enjoys continuing to learn from others and sharing her knowledge with those just starting out in decorating.

Sara Vanderheyden of Hy-Vee in Ames, Iowa, never intended to be a cake decorator. What began as a “getting-through-college" job turned out to be her professional passion.  She works hard studying cake books, watching tutorials, and taking hands-on classes to make sure each and every customer walks away with a smile.  

The judges for the event will be: Luke Bender, manager of technical service, Maplehurst Bakeries, LLC, and Jim Caliendo, dessert training specialist, Rich Products Corp.

This year, attendees can also be a judge. Each day is open to voting for your favorite decorator, and each day will have a People’s Choice Award based on those votes. 

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