The Columbus Dispatch
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Crew’s annual ’Shoe bake-off fattens scholarship
MorraLee Holzapfel of the cake crew slices a section of stands for
passers-by after yesterday’s game. A Buckeye fan’s ultimate dream cake
— all 400 pounds of it — sweetened the 38-14 victory over Penn State
yesterday. (Dispatch photo by Brooke LaValley)
Ohio State Stadium Cake
Sweet treat celebrates OSU football tradition, supports community and students
by Woon Song
No matter where they are, tailgates all share the same components: football, beer, hotdogs, frat boys and fans; however, Ohio has something unique that separates it from the rest: Stadium Cake.
The Stadium Cake is exactly what it sounds like: A 12 by 18-inch tall cake in the shape of Ohio State University Stadium. The Stadium Cake was started in 1991 by a group of devoted OSU families, according to Kim Tucker, one of the founders.
"It was a challenge: a dare," Tucker said. "Other tailgaters said it couldn't be done."
The families start baking the Sunday before the cake is displayed at a tailgate and construct the cake throughout the week for 10 hours a day. They use two or three different ovens to bake all the pieces. Each piece is then stacked and carved out, according to Deb Papesh, who joined the Stadium Cake group five years after the project began.
"It's put together like a puzzle," Papesh said. "We ice various levels of the cake to keep it fresh.
Afer the cake is pieced together, they have mathematician come in to line up the cake so they can start "dotting" the crowd into the stands. The south stands are a separate piece that is attached on the day of the tailgate. They even add little figurines of football players, referees and coaches on the field of the cake.
"I've been helping with the cake ever since I could," said 2010 graduate Jill Tucker. "I always go to the games and help."
This was the 19th [sic, 20th] year making Stadium Cake. Over the years, the group making the cake has been able to accumulate sponsors who are willing to donate ingredients to them. They eve secured their own spot at the university for the cake.
"This is my first year not being at home while they make the cake," Jill Tucker said. "It's really different being away, even though this is my third time being home this week."
As laborious as it may sound, the families hve a lot of fun every year as they make the cake.
Papesh's favorite part is the preparation and getting together with all the people. Kim Tucker, on the other hand, likes gameday because all the work is done and the builders have a chance to enjoy their creation.
"This is our way to celebrate our love for the Buckeyes," she said.
As if creating a huge cake wasn't enough, the families try to make the cakes different every year by mirroring what is happening at the stadium onto the cake.
"When the stadium was going under construction, the cake was, too," Papesh said. "One time a student from the away team got arrested, so we had little police officers and cars in the stadium."
On the south stands, pictures of new graduates who made it into the OSU marching band are visible; for example, this year the cake features 2010 graduates Josh Robinson and Jason Miao. They also include funny easter eggs on the cake such as hanging the Michigan flag upside down.
The cake has also had mishaps.
"Before, we just put the south stands in the back, unsecured. Then one year it fell and tumbled over. We had to rush home and make a new one," Papesh said. "We also had an oven implode."
Stadium Cake is so renowned that it has appeared in various publications such as ESPN and Big Ten Magazine. It's also been featured on ABC6 and the Food Network.
The families gain no profit from the cake. Instead it all goes toward a need-based academic scholarship.
"We don't sell the cake, it's all donations," Kim Tucker said. "We raise around $10,000 yearly."
They have other ways of adding money to the scholarship.
"We hope to write a book called 'Baking a Dream Come True,'" Papesh said. All proceeds will go to the cake and scholarship."
The cake is make at the Tuckers' home. Papesh and the Tuckers welcome everyone to come and help them create the cake in the future. Both say it is a lot of fun; visitors can receive service hours, and everyone leaves with a bag of cake scraps.
It's stressful sometimes when I just want to go to bed," Jill Tucker said. "Other times, it's really fun having everyone together."
Ohio State Alumni Magazine
What They Say
Dedicated to her profession, Beth Tucker, a senior assistant director in the Student Financial Aid Office at Ohio State, has found a unique way to raise money for scholarships.
Each year for the past 21 years, Beth, along with family and friends, spends one week during football season baking a special cake to help raise money for college students. This cake is no ordinary cake; it is a replica of the Ohio Stadium and measures 4 ft. by 4 ft. and stands approximately 18 inches tall. Weighing in at over 250 lbs. it takes over 85 cake mixes to construct what is now known as the OSU Stadium Cake.
The cake originally started out as a fun tailgating dessert and conversation piece, but quickly evolved into a way to raise money for need-based scholarships. Over the years, the group has taken all proceeds and created an endowed scholarship known as the Stadium Cake Scholarship. To date, over $117,000 has been raised and used to provide a total of 31 scholarships for Ohio State students, six of which were awarded this academic year.
This year’s 21st Annual Ohio Stadium Cake was on display prior to the Ohio State v. Indiana football game played on November 5, 2011. Following the game, the cake was cut and served for additional donations to the fund. This year Beth hopes to raise an additional $8,000 increasing the endowment balance to $125,000.
While Beth’s cake has been featured on ESPN’s Game Day and local news networks in the past, she is still very modest about her group’s accomplishments. If you are interested in donating or finding out more about the Stadium Cake, you can e-mail Beth at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their web site at www.ohiostadiumcake.com.
Publication Date: 11/8/2011
Stadium Cake Press Clippings