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Cake topper: Park Slope pastry chef wins big in frosting art contest • Brooklyn Paper

Cake topper: Park Slope pastry chef wins big in frosting art contest

Commendable: Madison Lee Mangino of Cousin John’s Bakery shows off her prize-winning white layer cakes.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

This Park Slope pastry chef takes the cake.

Madison Lee Mangino has earned international praise for her strikingly realistic sugar flower designs after placing at the top of a premier cake art contest that’s essentially the Olympics for frosting aficionados.

Mangino, who works at Cousin John’s Cafe & Bakery, was one of seven frosting designers out of 45 total competitors to take top honors at the British Sugarcraft Guild — where she crafted a pink cherry blossom branch and showcased it atop a three-tier cake model.

“I turned my apartment into a sugar studio,” she said. “It takes hours: you have all these little petals to make.”

She first piped and embroidered a fake styrofoam cake, then mixed, shaded, and sculpted the edible flowers on top.

Mangino then flew to London with a duffle bag stuffed with baking supplies and discovered she would face some stiff competition: dozens of elderly British women, some of whom have been designing cakes for decades.

But judges who use a 52-page handbook to rank the frosting artists according to technique were impressed by the Brooklyn baker, awarding her with 93 points out of a possible 100 last month (there is no formal winner, just “commended” contestants such as Mangino).

Her shop now sells similar “dummy cakes” that can add a flowery flourish to baby showers, weddings, and other events.

“It’s all about being artistic,” she said.

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at noneill@cnglocal.com or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.

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