- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 19, 2015

Food Network’s baking competition “Cake Wars” will feature a local D.C. business owner, Leslie Poyourow, in an episode on Monday, July 27.

Ms. Poyourow, who owns Fancy Cakes by Leslie, a bakery in Bethesda, Maryland, was late in discovering her passion. She became “a little bit bored” at her job as a government contractor and decided to take a cake-decorating class, where she became “obsessed” with her newfound love.

“One day I said to my husband, ‘Would you care if I quit my job and started making cakes?’ And he said, ‘Go for it!’ And that was it,” Ms. Poyourow said with a laugh.

This leap of faith turned into a booming success for Ms. Poyourow, whose elaborately decorated cakes continue to catch the eye.

She won “The Today Show Throws a Wedding” cake competition in 2005 and has since appeared on various baking competition shows, including TLC’s “The Ultimate Cake Off.”

She continuously creates decorative cakes for celebrities and politicians, the most recent of which was for President Obama’s daughter, Sasha. In 2008 she even decorated a cake for Pope Benedict XVI’s 81st birthday.

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The competition for a $10,000 prize begins on the Food Network Monday at 8 p.m. The following Monday, Ms. Poyourow will go head to head with four other bakers in a Hello Kitty-themed episode of “Cake Wars,” hosted by “Mean Girls” star Jonathan Bennett, for judges Ron Ben-Israel and Waylynn Lucas, themselves prominent pastry chefs.

Ms. Poyourow was excited for the cake-decorating theme as she owns a pair of Hello Kitty bedroom slippers.

She was also pleasantly surprised that she was asked to be a contestant on “Cake Wars” as a 60-year-old woman in a world where everyone seems to be “looking for the young beginner.”

“I was very excited to be able to have another opportunity at this point in my career at my age. Most of the people are in their twenties and thirties. I’m the age of the judge,” she remarked.

“So, I was excited that they had asked me. In my video they saw who I was, and I thought, ‘They won’t pick me, I’m too old.’ A lot of people in cake decorating, they’re done by 60, usually.”

The episode was filmed during Fancy Cakes’ busiest season in May, making the competition extra challenging for Ms. Poyourow.

“Honestly, I am a working baker. We do 30 to 50 cakes a week. In terms of my prep time for the show, which was in high season for us, it was tough in terms of planning. Plus, it was a very short window of time that they asked me to do the show,” she said.

Ms. Poyourow strives on in her thriving cake business, despite the odds.

“It’s that old story: You’re only as good as your last cake,” she said. “We do try really hard to keep fresh, to keep that detail going, striving for an incredible quality in terms of the look and the taste.”

“We’re always on our game,” she said. “That is how we got picked [for the show]. Our very current portfolio is better than ever.”

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