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Taking the Cake Continued from Page 30


She repeated grand prize wins in 2007 and 2015. She also placed as fi rst, second, third or fourth runner-up seven times since 1999. “Winning is an international honor, and Lori is the only person in the show’s 22-year history who has won three times,” Vincent says. The victories have earned her publicity in national and international pub- lications, such as Brides magazine. Her bakery has been featured on the Food Network cable channel, and one of her cakes was displayed in New York City’s Grand Central Station. “For a small town girl to get to New York … it’s pretty amazing,” Cossou


says.


In early 2016, she received recognition from Dessert Professionals maga- zine as one of the top 10 cake artists in North America. Cossou credits her success to her foundational years when she learned how to hand pipe icing. “When I started, we did everything with buttercream icing; fondant was something no one around here used,” she says. She remembers seeing fondant, a stiff, moldable icing, for the fi rst time at a cake show. She has since worked with it; however, she says it’s important to master both buttercream and fondant techniques in order to be successful in business and in cake shows.


“I do a lot of piping and string work on my show cakes,” Cossou says. “Hand piping is my signature. It has almost become a lost art.”


Vincent says Cossou’s cakes have stood out among her competitors be- cause of her attention to detail and her refi ning of techniques. “People today are molding cakes madly and half of them can’t pipe,”


Vincent says. “I expect people to be able to pipe, to make fl owers and to do hand modeling.


“Lori pushes herself to master techniques that are extremely diffi cult. She has invested a lot of time in making sure all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed. She is ever reaching for perfection.” Perfection does not come without a price. Cossou invests 200 hours over two or three months into her cakes. Inspiration for her 2015 fi ve-tiered, grand-prize winner came from a colorful dress by a Pakistani designer. “I wasn’t very excited about the competition’s “Fashion Week” theme because I’m not into fashion. I found inspiration online and as soon as I saw the dress, I knew it’s what I wanted to use,” Cossou says. “You have to be inspired and love what you’re doing to spend that much time on a cake.” Cossou is grateful for the role Vincent and the Grand National Wedding Cake Competition have played in her growth and success. “I appreciate that Kerry always shares her insight and that she has encour- aged me to try new things and to perfect what I know,” Cossou says. Just like the ordinary ingredients that are required for cake making, it has been the everyday disciplines of hard work, determination and faithfulness to perfecting her craft that have helped Cossou create stand-out cakes and have taken her on an extraordinary journey. In coming months, Cossou and her husband plan to sell her bakery and


relocate to Missouri in order to be closer to their children and grandchildren. She will continue baking, but on a smaller scale. This fall, her work will be on display at the Grand National Wedding Cake Championship, Oct. 1-2, 2016, at the Tulsa State Fair.


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