Q&A: Connie McMahan, Professional-All Occasion Winner in Knox County Public Library Great Cake Bake Contest

Was your Little Mermaid cake meant to be eaten?

No, the "cake" we use is Styrofoam and Rice Krispie treats underneath.

But it's different for your business?

The cakes we make for clients are all edible, gourmet, delicious.

What are the decorations made of?

Fondant and gum paste.

Which is?

We make our fondant from marshmallows and powdered sugar, and it's like a dough that can be rolled out and put on top of a frosted cake. It gives that beautiful, smooth, porcelain-like appearance on the top. Gum paste is like a sugar clay you can model and mold into endless variations.

How did you get started with cake decorating?

I always loved baking, since I was a kid. My mother taught me—we always had dessert at our house. As an adult, I took a decorating class with one of my sisters as a birthday present to her, and I fell in love with doing it. It started out as a hobby, then I started getting so many requests that it blossomed into a business three years ago.

That's a great name for your business, Sugarbuzz Bakers. Who came up with it?

We were kind of throwing names out and I think actually my daughter-in-law came up with that. We liked that it could be taken two different ways, high from the sugar or talking about our cakes, like "What's the buzz?"

Do you use any unusual equipment in baking or decorating?

Nothing really unusual. People may find it odd that we use vodka to mix the luster dust.

Luster dust?

It's a powder, and when you mix it with vodka, it becomes a paint you use to highlight on the cake.

Any plans for next year?

I'm definitely going to enter; I think it's such a great event.

For more information: sugarbuzzbakers.com