Grove City College team wages ‘Cake Wars’ on national TV

A team from Grove City College will be featured on Food Network’s popular “Cake Wars.”

Grove City College alumna Emily Bartlow ’16 and senior Tristan Slater ’16 compete in the high-stakes bake-off in an episode entitled “Minecraft” airing at 9 p.m. Monday, Feb. 1 on the Food Network.

Though they are sworn to secrecy about the outcome of the baking competition, Bartlow and Slater said making one of the show’s signature creations – part sculpture, part spectacle and all deliciousness –was quite a challenge. “To do a cake like that on TV, in four hours, is difficult,” Slater said.

The women, fast friends since they roomed together freshman year at Grove City College, ended up as television stars on a whim, Bartlow said. She was looking around online for recipes for her brother’s birthday dinner when she noticed a call for contestants on the television network’s website. Bartlow, who graduated in December with a degree in communications and a minor in business, quickly consulted with Slater and signed up just before she headed back to campus in August for her final semester.

“We thought: ‘Yeah, sure,’ and we laughed about it. When it did happen it was a surprise,” Slater said. Bartlow got the call that they were selected for the show while she was in a finite math class. “I was literally jumping around in the Hall of Arts and Letters courtyard when I found out. Those passing by probably thought I was crazy,” Bartlow said.
Bartlow has been passionate about decorating cakes seriously since she was in high school. She was the lead contestant and Slater, a communications and Spanish major, served as her assistant, but the delegation of work wasn’t so simple. “Emily is the lead baker, but it was really a partnership. We were in it together and there was a real satisfaction in doing it together,” Slater said.

The women spent “lots of weekends experimenting with a variety of flavor profiles and random assortments of ingredients and late nights scheming on how to delegate the work and manage the show’s time limit,” Bartlow said.

At the same time, they were balancing their studies, key roles in the College’s fall production of “Oklahoma” – Slater played the lead – dancing in and choreographing the annual Orchesis show, participating in various campus groups and, for Bartlow, spending time with friends and enjoying her final semester at Grove City. “It was a whirlwind and the Lord definitely had His hand over both of us,” Bartlow said.

Bartlow and Slater headed to Los Angeles to film their episode last October during fall break. They can’t say much about what transpired until it airs, but the outcome of the “Cake Wars” competition was really less important to the women than the overall experience. “It was our final semester together and this,” Tristan said, adding air quotes, “was the icing on the cake.”

Bartlow, of Sacramento, Calif., and Slater, of Bethel Park, Pa., tell their story online at and as Kindred Cupboards on Facebook

For more on “Cake Wars,” visit:

Grove City College team wages ‘Cake Wars’ on national TV

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