Culinary bakes wedding cakes

Rachel Maddox


Rachel Maddox

THREE, TWO, ONE BAKE: Culinary students bake three layer wedding cakes during class. After they were completed, chef Bugni voted to have at her wedding cake rehearsal.

Lily Bourgeois, Dispatch Reporter

One wrong measurement and the whole thing is ruined, all of the delicate work wiped away in one simple move.    

 It’s about teamwork and collaboration. 

The Bowie Culinary department recently wrapped up another successful project. 

Students in the culinary department were challenged with creating wedding cakes from scratch and had just one week of planning and five days for execution. The project was student-led with just a few parameters they had to meet. 

“There were about four or five students in each group and they got to have complete creative freedom for their wedding cakes. They had to choose the flavors, the fillings, the icing and it just had to be three tiers tall. That was the only parameter I told them,” culinary teacher Kathryn Bugni said. “Then they had a bunch of resources so they could watch wedding cake videos, icing videos and they kind of just took it and ran with it and it was really fun to see what they came up with.”

The wedding cake challenge evolved on a larger scale from gingerbread making in years past. Chef Bugni has worked hard to bring her own ideas and curriculum to an already successful program. 

“The heart behind it was that my wedding was coming up. I had a COVID wedding last year and so this year I got to do it all over again, big, and so that’s what inspired it,” Bugni said. “Then the winner of the wedding cake competition had their cake displayed at my rehearsal dinner.”

There were many things the culinary students could look forward to in their wedding cakes based on all of the freedom they were granted. 

“I personally had never made anything that big, not even just scale but just like that big in general,” senior Ana Diaz said. “We had access to a full kitchen and things to decorate it with like different icings and other toppings that we could add. It was really fun how we all got to brainstorm what we wanted and also were able to tell her what we needed to buy. We had open range for whatever we wanted to do.” 

Baking in general has to be extremely precise with little room for error. Baking wedding cakes has its unique difficulties that students had to work around and adjust accordingly. 

“The challenge with my group was actually the cake itself,” senior Emma Graham said. “Baking the cakes and having to stay after school or after class actually just to make sure our cakes would be okay. Getting them out of the oven and into the cooler and making sure they are cooked and the whole process is just smooth.”

At the very start of the wedding cake process, students hit a road block when Bowie experienced all of the water leaks. That caused an overall angst and anxiety throughout the rest of the process. 

“We lost so many days from the water thing. Coming to school the next day, I was like there’s no way we are still doing this, it’s definitely going to get canceled,” Diaz said.  “But then when chef told us it was still happening and we had like two and a half days to put it together, it was crazy because we all hadn’t seen each other so it was really scary.”

The winning cake of the wedding cake project that was displayed at Chef Bugni’s wedding rehearsal dinner was an espresso chocolate cake with dried orange slices made by culinary students. However, for the taste section of the project the winning cake was a blackberry mojito cake. Bugni shares her feelings about the  overall experience.

“It was so fun, it was a little more chaotic than I expected and it was a great reminder that baking is tough, it’s a very exact process,” Bugni said.  “With cooking you can tweak things here and there, you can problem solve you know, you can check the timing you can fudge those little bit but with baking its very precise and when your doing that amount of baking it’s just very chaotic but it was so fun we laughed a lot, we smiled a lot and I just love my students and we had a great week.”