When "The Cake Boss" of television fame could not take on the job, Gina Serkez of St. Petersburg got the call: The U.S. Armed Forces NASCAR team needed a cake -- a big cake.
Plus, 500 cupcakes -- all by next week.
"It was like, drop everything and handle it," she recalled Thursday. "We've been working on this, it started Sunday, the process, until just now. I mean, we just finished," she said.
Minutes later, she and two employees of her "It's Icing On The Cake" shop loaded tray after tray of cupcakes and a four-tiered cake into a van for the three-and-a-half hour drive to Daytona.
She expected to be honked at a lot, because such transports proceed slowly and cautiously.
"You have to be so gentle, it's like carrying a new-born infant, because it's cake, and it'll crumble," Serkez explained.
She got the job because her son knows the race team vice president handling the crisis: Buddy Valastro, a New Jersey baker and host of two cake-related television shows, traditionally makes the Armed Forces' NASCAR cake, but could not in time for the big Daytona event.
Serkez was given very general directions: Armed Forces equals red, white and blue.
But that didn't mean the layers would have to taste the same.
"An almond cake on the bottom layer, it has white chocolate buttercream," baker Jarret Dianco said, adding the blue middle layer was chocolate with raspberry icing and the top white layer was vanilla cake with raspberry icing.
And the red top layer? Red velvet, of course.
The final product weighed more than 50 pounds and should serve 500 people, plus the 500 cupcakes. Serkez equated the little ones to baking a second giant cake.
"It took a long time to bake 500 cupcakes, it took a long time to frost them, and a long time to cut out all the fondants and layer it on there," she said.
She did not expect it would take nearly as long to make the sweets disappear.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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