The sixth annual Sweet Charity Cake Auction/Competition, held Saturday, attracted nearly 200 guests to support the Santa Clarita Valley Youth Project.
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The event, held at the Valencia Country Club, featured 21 cakes made by amateur and professional bakers to raise funds for the Youth Project.
Renee’ Kaehny, Cake Auction chairwoman, said the cakes for this year’s event were very “different.”
“The cakes are very exciting,” she said. “We also have two high schools that entered cakes. We have a great variety this year. It’s overwhelming.”
Many of the bakers stood at tables behind their cakes and explained their creations to guests and judges.
The competition was judged by SCV resident and radio personality Sean Valentine, host of 104.3 MYfm’s Valentine in the Morning program, Leigh Grode, celebrity judge from TLC’s “Ultimate Cake Off” and owner of the famous Joanie and Leigh’s Cakes in Bel Air, Taylor Spreitler from ABC Family’s “Melissa and Joey.”
“Judging this event has been amazing,” said Valentine. “I want to eat every single cake I’ve seen.”
Valentine said he was a little concerned when he was first asked to judge the competition.
“I was afraid I would have to taste 20 cakes,” he said. “I thought, I’ll just be eating cake all night long.”
However, Valentine discovered the judging was based on the cake’s appearance, not taste.
“The cakes all look amazing,” he said. “Everyone has done a fantastic job representing their cakes. It represents our community, as well. I’m really impressed.”
The KHTS (www.hometownstation.com) cake, made by Jill Cox of Jill’s Cake Creations captured the prize for Best Technique.
Cox also won for the SCV Youth Project Cake which was named Most Creative.
“I really enjoy making cakes to benefit the Youth Project,” said Cox. “They do so much for the community, you really can’t beat this cause. It’s a pleasure to do something that helps the Youth Project.”
The Fan Favorite Cake was made by Jessica Watterson, of Indulgence Bakeshop.
“I’m just starting a cake business in the SCV,” said Watterson. “I’ve been decorating cakes for 12 years.”
Watterson’s imaginative creation featured mixing bowls as the base that transformed into a completed cake.
“I thought of creating a cake that showed the cake going from the kitchen to the end product,” she said.
West Ranch High School won for Best Use of Theme. The theme of this year’s competition was “community.”
Culinary class students from West Ranch High School Sofie Castro, Amanda Jensen and Elyssa Gedalje explained their cake represented the various activities at West Ranch High School and also featured the initials and school colors of all the William S. Hart High School district high schools on top of the cake.
“We wanted to show the theme of community in our cake,” said Castro.
A cake that represented William S. Hart High School was made by Hart ASB vice president Hart Camille Gray. It brought in $350 at auction.
“We are so thrilled at the participation from the high schools,” said Goldman.
Sara Stevens, a student at William S. Hart High School, entered a cake that featured a Los Angeles Kings theme. Her cake won the Most Impact award for earning the most money. The cake, which came with four L.A. Kings tickets (at the glass), valet parking, club passes and private entry to the Chairman’s Room, fetched $550 to benefit the SCV Youth Project.
The Cake Auction was a “family affair” for Flossy Vander Horck and Jessy Serrano. The grandmother/granddaughter team created a pair of whimsical cakes that looked like hot air balloons.
The duo has entered the cake competition for the past three years.
“We just enjoy baking together and supporting the Youth Project,” said.
“I like baking with Nana,” said Serrano. “We always have such a good time and we get very creative.”
Among the other cakes on display was a cake, crafted by Kokolita Cakes, which featured the “mirror ball trophy” from the ABC television program “Dancing With the Stars.”
The cake was sponsored by Whitening Lighting, a top Fondant Sponsor of the Sweet Charity Cake Auction, and the company that provides teeth whiting products to the professional dancers and stars of “Dancing With the Stars.”
“I love the Youth Project,” said Jennifer Gerard, CEO of Whitening Lighting and Gerard Cosmetics. “It does amazing things for our city. I’ve lived in the SCV for 34 years and what they do is fantastic.”
Gerard also provided free samples of her new cosmetic line to guests at the Cake Auction event.
The event featured an emotional speech by Autumn, a high school student who has benefit from the services of the SCV Youth Project.
She spoke about why she came to the Youth Project, how it impacted her and how it saved her life.
Tears welled up in the eyes of many guests as the young woman shared her story of depression and thoughts of suicide. She said the “SCV Youth Project saved my life.”
“It was very moving,” said Kim Goldman, executive director of the SCV Youth Project. “There wasn’t a dry eye… she was amazing.”
A generous donor gifted Autumn with a cake from the auction. She chose the “Sesame Street” cake crafted by Molly Sullivan.
The SCV Youth Project , which opened in 2000, has assisted more than 33,000 local families, including 29,000 youth and 5,500 adults.
The nonprofit provides services on 10 of the 12 schools in the William S. Hart High School District and last year provided more than 8,000 hours of service to more than 1,000 teens in the SCV with serious life challenges, including depression, suicide, grief/loss, peer pressure and drug/alcohol abuse, said Goldman.
Among the services offered are one-on-one counseling, support groups, outreach education and crisis intervention.
“The services we provide are 100 percent free,” said Goldman.
The nonprofit is funded by donations, fundraisers and grants.
“We appreciate all the support we receive from the community,” she said. “We impact the lives of so many teens in the SCV who are struggling with normal teen issues and don’t have somewhere to turn for guidance and support.”
In addition to funds raised by sponsorships and the cake auction, the event raised $6,000 from a raffle of a $2,000 seven-day California Coastal Princess Cruise donated by the Princess Cruises Foundation.
For more information about the SCV Youth Project visit www.HelpNotHassle.org.
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Source: Santa Clarita News