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Robyn Hanisch fills a pastry bag with buttercream before filming began Monday.

A piece of cake

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On Monday afternoon, the normally warm kitchens at Hanisch Bakery got a little hotter. The culprit: two large studio lights aimed at co-owner Robyn Hanisch as a crew from Bake Magazine filmed her decorating cakes.

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It was part of the magazine's online series called "Cake Show!" which pits cake decorators against each other in a contest to find what the magazine calls "America's best cake decorator."

Robyn's husband and fellow co-owner Bill Hanisch entered her in the trade magazine's contest a couple weeks ago, submitting her information and links to the bakery's cake galleries on its Facebook page and website.

"It was one of those things that popped up and we sent our things in," Bill said.

The magazine's online editor Timmy Trabon called Robyn the next day to offer her a spot on the show.

It's not the first time Robyn has competed in cake decorating contests. She said she has entered state competitions and has advanced to national competitions.

Still, Robyn said she was a little apprehensive before this competition.

"I always get nervous no matter what," she said.

After finding out she was selected, Robyn had just more than a week to plan and prepare before Trabon and his crew arrived Monday afternoon. The contest called for Robyn to decorate three cakes: a quarter sheet cake, a two-tiered cake and three cupcakes.

Robyn, who has 20 years of experience as a decorator, came up with blueprints for each of her cakes quickly and did a few test runs before filming was set to begin.

"I already had ideas drawn up. I pooled what my strengths are," she said, adding that her cakes showcase her piping techniques.

Trabon began by interviewing Robyn on her techniques and plan for the contest.

"I think I was more nervous about the interview," Robyn said, laughing.

Then, she got to work. Robyn had one hour to adorn a tiered cake, forty-five minutes for a quarter sheet cake and 15 minutes to decorate three cupcakes.

"She did everything on time," Trabon said. "She actually had some spare time in each of the (rounds)."

Robyn is competing against three other decorators from the Twin Cities area. A panel selected by the magazine will judge each decorator on things like originality, precision, creativity and difficulty. A winner will be chosen from each of six metropolitan areas the show will feature this season.

Then, through an online poll, the public will vote on an overall winner from those six finalists. The grand prize is $1,500.

The "Cake Show!" episode featuring Robyn will air on bakemag.com and on Youtube.

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Sarah Gorvin
Sarah Gorvin has been with the Republican Eagle for two years and covers education, business and crime and courts. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2010 with a  journalism degree.
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