Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

As a Baker, She Takes the Cake

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

As a Baker, She Takes the Cake

Article excerpt

Byline: SANDY STRICKLAND

Give them a knife and they'll give you a zoo.

Monkeys, polar bears and an alligator nest come to life in the skilled hands of Sandy Polletta and Margie Pillsbury - that's right, Pillsbury - of Edgewood Bakery.

In cake form, that is.

These confectionary wildlife sculptures so captivated judges at the recent Southeastern Retail Bakery Association convention that they won first-place trophies. The four-day event usually is held in Atlanta but was at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Jacksonville this year.

It featured 372 bakers, 72 vendor booths and a celebrated workshop participant - Collette Peters, renowned cake decorator and Food Network judge.

It was the convention's largest trade show ever and one of the best attended because of the high caliber of workshops and seminars, said Sandy Polletta, who owns Edgewood with her husband, Gary.

That meant the Murray Hill bakery was a hot spot, with 150 bakers touring the facility and six companies using its baking space at 1012 Edgewood Ave. S. to get ready for the show.

"We did our baking in the morning, starting at 3:30 until noon," Sandy Polletta said. "Then they took it over until 6:30 at night."

Edgewood took top honors in four categories in the baked foods competition.

Sandy Polletta's realistic interpretation of an American alligator with hatching babies, which took 10 hours to produce, scored in custom cakes. She used an electric knife to sculpt the sheet cake layers, which she frosted with mossy green buttercream icing.

The baby gators and their eggs were made of rolled fondant.

For her prize-winner in the patriotic theme category, she did cake sculptures of the Declaration of Independence, the Liberty Bell, the flag raising at Iwo Jima, the flag planting on the moon and the lower 48 states.

Edgewood's spicy firecracker jalapeno, pepperoni and cheese bread created by Cam Smith, Gary Polletta and the Pollettas' daughter, Krysti Bennett, took first in breads, while Pillsbury's whimsical "Swinging Monkeys" won novelty cakes. …

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