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St. Albert baker aims to win a pile of dough with designer cakes

Greatest Baker Competition features $10K prize, chance to meet the 'Cake Boss'

A St. Albert health care aide has entered the 2023 Greatest Baker competition in hopes of taking home the title, winning a $10,000 prize and participating in a workshop under TV personality Buddy Valastro, also known as the “Cake Boss.” 

Belkys Serrano, originally from Venezuela, calls herself a “home baker.” However, modesty is a natural trait that envelopes the soft-spoken, self-taught hobby baker. Her one-of-a-kind designer cakes, whether a dinosaur, running shoe, Lego building, swan or purse, are architecturally impressive works of edible art. 

“When you have a passion, you develop things and techniques nobody teaches you. You go with the flow,” said Serrano. 

The Greatest Baker is a free-to-enter, tournament-style competition where participants go through a series of rounds voted on by the public. To obtain public votes, Serrano must leverage the power of social media and word-of-mouth advertising. 

Through the competition, Valastro is not only hoping to discover the next great baker. He is also using the influence of his position to raise money to fight children's cancer. The Cake Boss is partnering with Colossal, an agency that supports the B+ Foundation, the largest provider of financial assistance to families of children with cancer in the United States. 

Everyone who logs onto the competition website is entitled to give their baker of choice a free vote. In addition to voting once a day, the public can donate to B+ Foundation, which in turn wins points for the competitors. In 2022, Colossal raised $1.5 million from The Greatest Baker Competition. 

Serrano immigrated to Canada 16 years ago, leaving her young daughter in Venezuela to live with Serrano's mother. Once settled and financially secure, the single mother brought her daughter to Canada. Serrano decided to celebrate with a special cake, not realizing it would lead to a new creative path.

“My daughter was 12, turning 13. We looked for a bakery to make a birthday cake. We asked a friend to make the cake, but it was so sweet we couldn’t eat it. I then asked my grandmother and my aunt for recipes. They were all baking, but I never paid attention when I was back home.” 

When asked about the secret to creating such detailed confections, she replies, “When I see something, I can reproduce it with my hands. If you show me a picture, I can make it into a cake.” 

If Serrano, who currently works at Youville Home, wins the $10,000 prize, she will invest it toward a nursing degree. 

“I like to help people," she said. "You have to have a purpose in life. It’s not just the money. You need money to survive. But living life is different.” 

Equally important to winning $10,000, Serrano is eager to attend a one-week workshop taught by Valastro. 

“He can teach me things I don’t know how to do. He’s a chef and has chemical knowledge – the way ingredients go together. I would like to meet him not because he’s famous, but because he’s knowledgeable.” 

As part of the prize package, the competition winner shares their work in Bake from Scratch. The bi-monthly magazine showcases the world’s best bakeries and the movers and shakers who shape the baking industry. 

To date, Serrano’s family and friends from Venezuela, Costa Rica, Peru, Colombia and the United States are voting daily for her success. 

“It’s really good to know people are supporting me," she said. "It moves me; just to get this kind of support is amazing. You feel it.” 

To cast a vote, follow the link at 

Anna Borowiecki

About the Author: Anna Borowiecki

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