For many, the Halloween season is an exciting time, planning costumes, decorating their home and enjoying themed treats. Bakeries often step up their decorating game to feed the need for spooky sweets.
In that arena, Aaron Bowers has a little bit of an edge. The head baker for Cornerstone Bakery will compete in an episode of "Halloween Cake-Off" airing Monday on Food Network.
The competition, hosted by celebrity baker Duff Goldman, challenges four bakers each week to an unconventional cake baking and design competition with a $10,000 prize on the line. Their work is judged by pastry chef Waylynn Lucas and baker Dan Langan.
Even though the network wants to keep upcoming episode details bound up as tight as a mummy, Bowers was able to share a few tidbits about his experience.
The 50-year-old baker started baking with his grandmother at a young age but said he really started learning as a teen. As a trained artist, he found that "painting translated quite easily into buttercream!"
He was contacted by a production company asking if he was interested in competing in a cake-decorating show. After submitting numerous photos of his work, he learned he was selected to compete.
To aid in the contest to create an over-the-top, edible work of art, Bowers tapped his Cornerstone team.
"I brought Tracey Poteet as my assistant because we work together and I knew she could keep a cool head!" he wrote in an email.
Of the experience, he said, "I tried to go into the competition with very few expectations. I think it's more fun to be 'in the moment' and experience things as they come."
With a theme of "infestation," contestants were given a first challenge to create a design that also used two fermented ingredients. Bowers chose sauerkraut and sour cream, saying "I liked the 'sour' idea."
"Infestation was a tough one because it's never a word you want to hear in a bakery! You'll have to wait and see how I included the theme."
Although he couldn't say how he fared in the contest, and if he made it to the second challenge requiring bakers to return home and develop a cake that transforms, Bowers said he enjoying taking part.
"I had a lot of fun! The entire experience was a really great one!"
He also said he would definitely compete again.
A viewing party will be held on Monday at Wine Me Up!, 3900 Coffee Rd, Suite 2. In addition to cheering on Bowers, attendees can check out the showcase cake that Bowers and the Cornerstone team made for the screening.
Because seating is limited, those interested in attending must RSVP by calling 588-8556. Note: Guests must be 21 or over to attend at the wine bar.
Win or lose, fans of Bowers' work can check out his handiwork at Cornerstone Bakery, 2100 19th St. Suite D.
His favorite combination is yellow cake with chocolate buttercream, but he knows that this season is about one major flavor.
"Fall is pumpkin, with a side of pumpkin and a dash of pumpkin!"