Let Them Eat Cake

At age 18, Meghan Smith outlasted her older competitors in a recent episode of The Food Network’s “Cake Wars” to take home the $10,000 prize.
 
But the EKU sophomore from Berea is no overnight sensation.
 
It took six years of hard work, painstaking attention to detail and hard lessons learned through trial and error to catapult Smith to the national limelight.
 
That’s how long Smith and her homegrown business, Doodlebug Cakes (www.doodlebugcakes.com), have been wowing customers with culinary creations that are as visually telling as they are tasty.
 
“To go on a show that inspired me to start making cakes was … like a dream come true,” she said, noting she “sank to the floor and cried” when pronounced the winner.
 
Despite a full load of classes as a marketing major, Smith crafts five or six cakes each week, a few more in summer and fall months.
 
“It’s very demanding … a lot of work,” she said. “I have enough dedication and drive to get it done. I like going to school and I like making cakes. I just have to schedule it out and make a daily plan.”
 
She told a national television audience she wanted to prove that her young age was not an impediment to success.
 
“I wanted to show other people that age doesn’t make a difference. If you have something you want to do with your life, age shouldn’t stop you.”
Smith’s shop is a small kitchen carved out of the garage at her family home. The space is attractively decorated with some wall art by Smith. “I’ve always loved art, drawing and sculpting,” she said.
 
Obviously, the “Cake Wars” judges were impressed by Smith’s artistry.
 
“The big thing with a cake is you have to tell a story,” she said. “If it doesn’t, it’s just a piece of cake. It’s no longer a piece of artwork.”
 
Smith’s grandfather, who also fashioned her home shop, is responsible for the Doodlebug moniker, as that was he often called his talented progeny. Smith also had some early assistance from the late Michael Rodriguez, former director of the Small Business Development Center at EKU.
 
Since winning the Shrek-themed “Cake Wars’ episode, Smith has been deluged by congratulatory e-mails, phone calls, texts and Facebook messages.  “I’m very blessed to have this many people supporting me,” she said.
 
Count EKU President Michael Benson among her biggest fans. Benson’s recent birthday celebration on campus, attended by dozens of well-wishers in the Powell Building, was graced by a colorful Smith creation that depicted the historic Keen Johnson Building and even the president himself.
 
“We’re all so proud of Meghan,” Benson said at the event. “She beat out some very capable chefs.”
 
Having plowed most of her prize winnings back into her business, Smith is more excited than ever about her career prospects, which she said will be aided by an EKU marketing degree. You might even see her winning smile on TV again.
 
“I want to play it out and see how it goes,” she said. “I’d love to go back and do another show.”