In a spectacular show of self-made ingenuity, Virginia Fortchimo, age 27, has risen in the ranks of the international online competition for The Greatest Baker. She’s not only won first place in the past three out of four competitions but is on track to launch her own Sault-based bakery beyond the pages of Facebook.
With no professional training, Fortchimo says her newfound career started almost as a fluke.
“I made a birthday cake for my mother a few years ago and it was absolutely horrible – the icing was falling off and the cake itself was falling apart. I thought – I can do way better than this.”
Curiosity sent her to YouTube where she learned everything she now knows about baking. “I followed the step-by-step of a lot of YouTube bakers – not just one channel in particular. I really take inspiration from everywhere.”
Her cakes, which range from $65 to $165, depending on the scale, aren’t without humour. Just recently she made one that looked like a box of Depends for a 50-year-old’s birthday. “The trick to icing is to always use real butter and to taste your icings as you create them,” she says. “But also, to ensure that your cake is super cold before you go into cutting, carving and stacking it into a specific shape.”
Fortchimo says she loves working with clients’ ideas to generate a custom cake that’s perfect for the occasion – “and something that people just can’t believe I can pull off,” she says. Everything from a sunflower to a baby Yoda to a cake that looks like a pizza and comes in a pizza box. “My favourite kinds of cakes to make are ones that resemble something else – like cakes that look like sandwiches, hams, turkeys, cars, lobsters or trucks.” She even made a convincing “bag of Doritos” cake.
She also takes movie requests – like the crazy Chucky horror film doll based on the 1980s flick to Lightning McQueen from Pixar’s Cars to a theme cake for The Nightmare Before Christmas. For children’s birthdays, she’s also mastered the unicorn cake with rainbow layers inside or a rainbow swirl.
To win this competition, however, Fortchimo still needs your votes.
Check out www.greatestbaker.com to support local talent or order a custom cake for your next occasion by reaching out to her via Facebook.