These days, confection lovers who drive past Lakeville cakery Sweet Treasures (7694 160th St. W., Lakeville, 952-683-9098, sweet-treasures.com) will see another sign next to the company’s cupcake logo. A banner boasts the Minnesota food scene’s latest triumph: owner Ann Alaboud’s recent $10,000 win on Food Network’s “Cake Wars.”
Alaboud opened her custom cakes and cupcake company in 2012 and moved into a brick-and-mortar location last year — enough of a leap to quit her day job as a financial counselor. She won the judges’ favor with a tiered concoction decorated according to the given theme of “magic.” The chocolate cake with raspberry meringue buttercream had the appearance of a magic chest and a stack of trade books.
We caught up with the Eagan native for a short chat on her new fame.
Q: What made you want to compete on the show?
A: I had cold feet for a while. I didn’t want to go there and get embarrassed. I know I can design and create cakes, but I wanted to prove to everyone that I can actually bake. After we sent in our pitch, it all happened all so fast. The producer called me to congratulate us, and two weeks later, we were going to L.A. Them critiquing my design was nothing, but them critiquing my baking? Yeah, that was the winner right there.
Q: What was the competition like?
A: It was a lot of stress because they give you four hours and you have to come up with something. They gave us a theme — magic — and we ran with it. We were panicking because you don’t have the internet, you don’t have time to sit there and brainstorm properly. We thought about putting together the trade secrets — the chest and the books and the spinning wheel of death. That one was the most difficult because we had to have that spin. There was so little time and so many constraints. We had to work fast, and there were some things I could have done differently if I had time, but we didn’t.
Q: Your favorite moment?
A: The best compliment I ever got was when [Richard Ruskell] said ‘Your cake is so sophisticated that I could eat it with a glass of wine.’ That, coming from Richard, is a compliment that I want to show off to the world. He’s been a pastry chef for 35 years, so it means a lot. I was in disbelief; it was kind of like a dream. I felt so proud to be from Minnesota at that moment.
Q: How has business been since?
A: We had a lot of followers before, so most people who came in [after] were congratulating us. But after WCCO did a story on us, we got bombarded everywhere. Since that day we’ve been so busy — literally so busy we can’t breathe.