Weekly Mix: Sweet Stars Weekend at Duncan Hines

Duncan Hines Sweet Stars Weekend | Bake or Break
Duncan Hines Sweet Stars Weekend | Bake or Break

You may remember that a while back, I was chosen to be one of Duncan Hines’ Passionate Bloggers. Recently, I was lucky enough to spend a couple of days touring the facilities at Duncan Hines and learning some tips and tricks from their chefs. Joining me on the trip were a group of bloggers, recipe contest winners, and the winners of the Passionate Bloggers’ trip giveaways. All together, there were 43 of us there to enjoy the fun.

We kicked things off with cocktails followed by a wonderful dinner. After dinner, we got to sample the desserts that won the Frosting Creations recipe contest. Oh, my. There were so many great ones, and I sampled as many as I could. Such delicious, creative desserts like Neapolitan Fudge.

The next day as we arrived at Pinnacle Foods, we were greeted with our very own red carpet, complete with balloons and a star bearing each of our names. We each located our stars and, of course, posed with them for photos. I knew we were going to have a great day after such a warm welcome.

Duncan Hines Sweet Stars Weekend | Bake or Break

We toured the facilities, where we got glimpses into their labs to see how the magic happens. We learned about all of Pinnacle’s products, such as Comstock and Vlasic. I loved that the walls of one of their meeting rooms are lined with shelves full of their products.

Duncan Hines Sweet Stars Weekend | Bake or Break

Afterwards, we watched a cake decorating demo with Beth Somers from Wilton. Frequent readers of BoB know that I am not very confident in my cake decorating skills. Beth made it look so easy, that she had even me believing I could make beautifully decorated cakes.

Duncan Hines Sweet Stars Weekend | Bake or Break

That afternoon, we were treated to a series of demos by Chef Joe, Duncan Hines’ Executive Pastry Chef. We started out learning about some basics and watched as he built on those to create some beautiful desserts, from Baked Alaska to a beautifully patterned cake made with the help of a radiator screen!

Duncan Hines Sweet Stars Weekend | Bake or Break

Of course, we got to sample a lot of good stuff like chocolate sauce and caramel and mousse and so much more. Chef Joe also shared a lot of great tips with us, like how to make a pie crust out of a cake mix. I’m still thinking about what I want to make with that knowledge. There was even more food that evening with a wonderful dinner buffet and countless beautiful desserts.

Duncan Hines Sweet Stars Weekend | Bake or Break

I’ve been to events with other bloggers before, and that’s always a lot of fun. But, it was so great to spend time with the contest winners, too. The winner of the giveaway on BoB was Ilissa, who is in the photo above with me. She is such a sweetheart, and it was so exciting to meet someone who actually reads this blog. I know you’re all out there, but I just don’t get to meet many of you in person.

Duncan Hines Sweet Stars Weekend | Bake or Break

A few of my favorite Sweet Stars: Stephanie, Aimee, Toni, and Shelly

All too soon, it was time to say our goodbyes to Duncan Hines and each other. I loved meeting all of the recipe contest winners and giveaway winners. And, as always, I loved talking “shop” with a great group of very talented bloggers. Many thanks go to the good people of Pinnacle Foods, Wilton, Sheraton Parsippany, and everyone who made the weekend so memorable and fun.