I feel pretty cool being able to say this: I have attended the Pillsbury Bake-Off not one, not two, but a whopping three times. This means I have also accosted--I mean HUGGED!--the Pillsbury Doughboy not once, not twice, but thrice. This time, it happened in Nashville, Tennessee.
OK, now that I've gotten the self congratulatory part of the post done, let me give you some important links:
- If you're keen on reading about the other Bake-Offs I've attended, here's Las Vegas and here's Orlando.
- If you want to see all of the sweet recipes from this year's Bake-Off, click the bakeoff tag.
- If you want to see the four finalists for the million dollar prize, click here.
OK. NOW, I am ready to tell you about the 47th Bake-Off, in Nashville.
Have you ever been to Nashville? I hadn't, but have been hearing over and over how it's the "it" city. Taylor Swift has a mega apartment there (I read it in Life & Style Magazine), lots of cool new restaurants are opening, and everyone has a country music dream. It's really an interesting place to see.
I arrived a bit early so I could add to my list of places I've done yoga (in case you didn't know, I want to take a yoga class in all 50 states). Here's my current map:
After that, I met up with my friends Megan and Robby. Megan you may know as the kind-of-big-deal baker behind Bake it in a Cake, the blog and the book, Bake it in a Cupcake. We had a wonderful time with a dinner at the restaurant The Wild Cow.
Then, we proceeded to Hot and Cold, a cute cafe that served interesting seasonal drinks. I got a hot chocolate, because I wanted to put something special in it: one of the marshmallows Megan gifted me, from Bang Candy Company.
They drove me by a mini parthenon. When's the last time you drove by a mini parthenon?
And then it was time for bed.
The next day, before the Bake-Off events kicked off, I had an ice long walk with my friend Nicole of Baking Bites. We checked out, among other things, the Johnny Cash Museum, where I found this treasure...
and the Goo Goo Cluster store, where I wanted to buy one of everything but settled for some candy.
After that, we had a lovely coffee at Bongo Coffee, which is famous because several years ago it is the place that discovered the Mother Theresa Cinnamon roll (AKA "Nun Bun"). Apparently it was stolen--which begs the question: who does that?
The Bake-Off media events began with a presentation from GE, wherin they showed us their new Advantium line. They gave away an oven but I didn't win--Jocelyn of Grandbaby Cakes did. That's ok, she's adorable and she deserves it.
That leads me to what else I wanted to tell you: there were all sorts of celebrities there!
Famous bloggers at the Bake-Off
I felt like a mini celebrity just being near them. They included but were not limited to:
- the aforementioned Jocelyn of Grandbaby Cakes
- the aforementioned Nicole of Baking Bites
- Jenny of Picky Palate
- Amanda of Kevin and Amanda
- Julie of the Little Kitchen
- Ariel of The Kitchn
- Lindsay of Love and Olive Oil
- Maegan of Baker Mama
- Heather of Whipperberry
- Jocelyn of BruCrew
- and one of my favorite recent discoveries, Crazy for Crust (check out the guest recipe from her on this very site)
It seems like a good time, btw, to remind you of this video Bakerella made of my cuppie character.
Now you just try and tell me that isn't a star studded lineup.
After our GE event, we had a fantastic dinner at The Southern. They served something called chocolate whiskey cake there which featured chocolate cake with whiskey, buttercream, and coulis. Oh-my was it good.
Whew! I'm ready for bed, how about you?
The next day, things started bright and early with the Bake-Off. This is what the show floor looked like before the bakers walked on: 100 individual setups to bake their recipes, all at the same time.
I was delighted to see a few familiar faces from previous Bake-Offs:
- Lauren Katz, creator of the Cherry Vanilla Dutch Pancake
- Joanne Opdahl (pictured with me above), creator of the Chocolate Toffee Peanut Butter Crunch Bars
- Michele Kusma, creator of the Chewy Gingersnaps with White Chocolate Drizzle
- Lise Ode, creator of lemon-blueberry muffins (I call them cupcakes--there's frosting!!)
Bake-Off entrants can be in the competition three times; I was happy to see some familiar faces. I love talking to the people (mostly ladies) on the floor.
I circulated the floor, met someone famous named Carla Hall, who had glasses just as cool as me:
and of course, got to have a tender moment with my boyfriend (I'm not sure if he knows it though), the Doughboy.
After a few hours circulating, the food was delivered to the judges and we had a few hours to kill. How did I kill them? By checking out the Goo Goo Cluster store again with Lindsay and Julie. I got a t-shirt this time. Yay!
I was also excited because I had found a recipe for Goo Goo Cluster pie in the hotel magazine, so I picked up more Goo Goos to try it out. Stay tuned on the blog for that baby!
Instead of announcing the million dollar winner, they announced the four finalists. That means that America will do the picking of the winner, which will be announced later this month on The Chew. Who will you vote for?
After that, the evening wasn't done, because Nicole had found out there was a concert outdoors. So at close to midnight, me, Nicole of Baking Bites, and Ariel of The Kitchn went to see a Beiber-looking dude who sang country songs and made 13 year old girls scream. Hunter Hayes was the name, know it?
Then, it was time for bed. Glorious bed!
I awoke and had one final breakfast and press conference. After that, can you believe I did a painting in my hotel room? It's true.
and finished it, too!
Luckily since I had a few hours to kill before my flight, I met up with Lindsay again, and along with Amanda we visited Christie's Cookies.
We also dropped by Antique Archeology, AKA the "American Pickers" store.
And Bang Candy, where those marshmallows had been from earlier in the post.
Then, it was time to go home. Here's what the sunset looked like from the plane, on my transfer in Atlanta.
Whew! The Bake-Off was even more amazing than ever. I can't wait to see who wins!