Monday, August 29, 2011

Local bakers compete to decorate P.T. Barnum's birthday cake

Posted By on Mon, Aug 29, 2011 at 3:04 PM

The Circus charges admission, but this weeks circus-inspired cake-decorating contest is free.
  • The circus charges admission, but this week's circus-inspired cake-decorating contest is free.

P.T. Barnum
  • P.T. Barnum
By most accounts, Phineas Taylor Barnum (1810-1891) was a con artist, huckster, charlatan and the world's greatest showman (and an author, politician, publisher and philanthropist). The circus that still bears his name — Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey — has been celebrating, for more than a year, the birthday anniversary of the man who allegedly said, "There's a sucker born every minute." (The Circus insists he never uttered those words.)

The legendary P.T. would have turned 201 last month (July 5, to be exact), but in the festive world of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, the brazen Barnum's 200th birthday just goes on and on.

The circus will be hosting a cake-decorating contest — in the spirit of ol' man Barnum — this Wednesday in the Grand Hall of Union Station (30 West Pershing Road), beginning at 11:45 a.m. Three local pastry businesses will be represented, hoping to win 100 tickets to the circus for their favorite children's charity. The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus runs September 7-11 at Sprint Center.

According to local circus publicist Nancy Besa, the decorating challenge has been taken up by three local pastry operations. Overland Park-based 3 Women and an Oven will be competing for Community LINC, Shawnee-based Rebekah the Cake Artist will represent Operation Breakthrough, and Olathe-based Sprinkled with Sugar will compete for TLC Children & Families Inc.

Besa says: "Armed with pounds of fondant and powdered sugar, and gads of piping gel, gum paste and colored confectionary dust, the teams will create their own unique, confectionary tributes to the spirit of Barnum and his super-sized spectacle that is currently touring the nation."

Each of the three decorating teams will be presented with a plain, vanilla-iced three-layer cake and will have 45 minutes to decorate it in the spirit of the circus. The winner will be announced at 1 p.m. The event is free and open to the public and will be emceed by professional circus clown Larry Clark.

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