Sisters give Wylie some sugar

Date: Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Food Network appearance slated for March 21

By Judy Truesdell
Staff Writer

Monica Whitaker does the decorating, her sister Melanie Borges handles the business, and her husband Treg does the baking. Together they’ve created a trifecta of cake-baking success that has garnered three appearances on the Food Network and prize money in excess of $10,000.

Their business is Say it with Sugar. It opened at 106 N. Ballard Ave. at the end of last year.

Borges has lived in Wylie for eight years. When her cake-decorating sister moved here from Arkansas, they started the family business, a cake shop specializing in cakes for all occasions, petit fours, cupcakes, pies, brownies, decorated cookies, drop cookies and cup-of-cakes, all with a variety of flavors and filings. “And if you have anything we didn’t mention, we are willing to try other ideas,” Borges said.

Whitaker said she has been decorating cakes for 15 years. She got her start in high school, when a boyfriend’s mom worked in the bakery in a grocery store deli and needed someone to take over when she became pregnant. Whitaker had a knack for it and has worked for a variety of bakeries in Arkansas and Texas.

Her stuff isn’t just yummy. It’s the stuff that wins competitions.

She competed in the Retail Bakers Association Regional contest in Galveston and won the grand prize, then second prize at Nationals, held in Orlando, Fla. She’s aced two Food Network Challenges – Blind Date Cakes and Ultimate Vacation Cakes.

“The Blind Date competition was set up like ‘The Dating Game’ or ‘The Bachelor’ – there’s a bachelorette and three guys competing for a date with her,” Whitaker explained. “They ask her what her dream date would be, we listen, then we decorate a cake with her favorite date things. For instance, she said she loves pizza, hot wings, football and basketball games, so we put little pizza slices, footballs and basketballs on the cake.”

They don’t completely start from scratch – they arrive in Denver, where the show is usually shot, with the cake they’ll decorate, supplies and icing. Then, when the bachelorette has described her fantasy date, they rush around, decorating the cake to reflect her favorites.

“Each team got a bachelor, and we got the most stubborn one, which was good because we ended up winning. There was a hippie guy who really didn’t seem to care that much, but ours was a muscle guy who wanted to win the date – and he was the one she picked.”

Whitaker also won the Ultimate Vacation Cake contest and, on March 21, all of America will see whether or not she brings home the gold in the Ultimate Anniversary Cake challenge. By contract, she can’t reveal any details about the competition. The program will air at 7 p.m. March 21 on the Food Network.

Say it with Sugar specializes in cakes that are a little bit out of the ordinary, and they’ll make one to fit any occasion. They use fondant designs – fondant is an edible cake-decorating substance the consistency, Whitaker said, of Play-Doh. It’s rolled out like cookie dough, then formed into designs, such as a waving flag, and it holds its shape.

They also make “topsy-turvy” cakes – the sides are cut in a little bit crooked. “The top layer looks like it’s going to fall off, but it doesn’t, because it has structure in it.” The result is whimsical, definitely event specific, and lots of fun to look at – and to eat.

A visit to their Web site at reveals cakes in the shape of Hello Kitty, Dora the Explorer, a fairy castle, piano and stool, champagne bottle, a Harley-Davidson logo, and a blackboard with chalk math equations.

Cake flavors include red velvet, strawberry, lemon, German chocolate, Italian crème, almond and lemon poppy seed, and fillings include vanilla crème, raspberry crème, ganache, chocolate hazelnut, cherry and peanut butter crème. And, of course, in time for St. Patrick’s Day, Irish crème.

In addition to their custom cakes, Say it with Sugar also has goodies prepared and ready to sell every day to take care of those with a sugar emergency.

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