Local baker wins ‘Cake Wars’ for the second time

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Provo’s Mighty Baker Pete Tidwell competed on the Food Network’s “Cake Wars”  for a second time in a champs vs. champs episode.

Tidwell won a prize of $10,000 as well as an opportunity to attend a party for the new movie “Power Rangers.”

Tidwell and his assistant, Katrina Jones, previously won “Cake Wars” with a Halo-themed cake in August 2016. They won an appearance on the Power Rangers–themed championship episode.

Tidwell said they competed in two different rounds of the competition, and during round one they had to incorporate an unlikely ingredient into their cake.

Pete Tidwell and his assistant picked the Red Power Ranger as their favorite and were given ketchup to incorporate into their creation. (Pete Tidwell)

“We made a ketchup cake with cream cheese frosting and tomato jam. The judges loved it, and that got us to round two,” Tidwell said.

During round two, Tidwell said they wanted to make a bigger cake than they did last year, with a base of 24 inches and a height of over four feet. They chose to use the same flavor cake as their winning cake in August, which was a dark chocolate brownie cake with coconut Italian buttercream.

“When they called my name as the winner, it was completely surreal, and I couldn’t believe that we won again,” Tidwell said. “It could have gone either way. It was super fun to compete against some other world-class bakers, not only in baking skills, but great people.”

Tidwell’s assistant, Catrina Jones, said she learned a lot from this year’s competition and her previous experience on “Cake Wars.”

“Probably the biggest thing I learned is to have confidence in myself,” Jones said. “Being self-taught, it was easy to look around at all the amazing artists creating these detailed sugar sculptures and begin to really doubt that I have the same skills and abilities. I had to learn to get out of my own head and have faith in myself and in my God-given talents that I could do what I had set out to do.”

Jones has worked with Tidwell since The Mighty Baker first opened, but after the first episode aired on Cake Wars, Tidwell was able to hire Jones to help with the outpouring support from the community.

The Mighty Baker has been open for one-and-a-half years in downtown Provo. Tidwell originally started his company in his home and is now experiencing more growth than he said he could have hoped for.

Ari Davis
The Mighty Baker bakeshop owner Pete Tidwell won Food Network’s Cake Wars in 2016 and 2017. (Ari Davis)

Tidwell said he is excited to bring his “Cake Wars” achievement back to Utah County and show the community their award-winning desserts. He said the cake flavor that earned them first place is now being featured in their store.

“Overall, if you reach for your dreams and work at it, you can do anything,” Tidwell said. “Eight years ago I was not a baker. I was watching Food Network shows, and I would think how cool it would be to be on a show some day. And for it actually to have happened not only once, but twice, and both times winning, it is unbelievable and pretty awesome.”

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