The Ohio Stadium Cake
Press Clippings

The Columbus Dispatch

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Crew’s annual ’Shoe bake-off fattens scholarship
By Regina Garcia Cano

The deliciously detailed replica of the ’Shoe, baked each year to raise money for scholarships, was gobbled up by fans leaving the game, but not before plenty of praise was heaped upon it.

“It’s awesome; it’s over the top,” said Lauren Dannemiller of Akron. “It looks so good. You can smell all that icing.”

Dannemiller was one of hundreds of Buckeye fans who took photos of the stadium cake. Plenty of “cools,” “greats” and “OMGs” complimented the eight-layer cake.

“I want this to be my birthday cake,” said Jonathan Yenser, who at 12 considers himself a hard-core Buckeye fan. “It’s big, huge, and took a lot of work.”

The Ohio Stadium Cake Crew assembled and decorated their creation with plastic figures of players, coach Jim Tressel, Brutus Buckeye and OSU President E. Gordon Gee. In the stands, thousands of fans were made of scarlet and gray icing dots — with just a few blue ones thrown in for Penn State supporters.

The nine-member cake team collected donations from passers-by before, during and after the game. The crew also sold numbered prints of stadium sketches for $10.

“Fans are very generous, especially if we win,” said Mark Tucker, who carved the 27 sheet cakes that formed the ’Shoe.

The cake was cut into about 1,000 pieces. Regardless of donation, everyone who stopped by the tent at St. John Arena got a piece, Penn State fans included.

For eight days, Kim and Mark Tucker transformed their Dublin home into a bakery where they gathered with relatives and friends — no pastry chef in sight — to build the stadium. The recipe: 90 cake mixes, 264 eggs, 120 pounds of powdered sugar, 30 pounds of shortening, 24 ounces of vanilla extract, 11/2 gallons of milk and a gallon of oil.

A grocery store donated the ingredients.

The 20-year-old baking tradition started as a dare between two of the crew members who are Ohio State alumni. The crew established the Stadium Cake Scholarship Fund through an OSU endowment in 1999. Six students received need-based scholarships through the fund this year.

Transporting the creation is no piece of cake. It took eight people to carry it to a van and then into the tent.

The confectionary masterpiece showed Tressel’s players scoring a touchdown. According to the cake’s scoreboard, the Buckeyes won the game 27-7.

Ohio State has won 18 of the 20 games during which the cake has been displayed.

“We’re a good-luck omen, or at least we like to think so,” Mark Tucker said.

Mark Tucker of Dublin adds the south stands to the baked replica of Ohio Stadium. The cake is used to fund a scholarship program. (Dispatch photo by Jonathan Quilter)

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)

Irish Eye
December, 2010

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
January/February 2011

What They Say


Ohio State University Cake Boss Raises Scholarship Money

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 or visit their web site at

Publication Date: 11/8/2011


  Stadium Cake Press Clippings