Contests and Wins

This Is What Pillsbury Bake-Off Dreams Are Made Of

    The first time I entered the “PBO” (as us cooking competitors call it) was back around 1992 or 1994. That was before computers were a household appliance. I snail-mailed in a crab appetizer. When the grocery store booklet of finalists came out, I noticed one of the recipes was only two ingredients different than mine. That’s when it hit me that I was really close, but not close enough. Maybe someday.

    In 2007, when I began entering cooking contests, there were so many contests to enter, I really wasn’t that invested in “THE BIG ONE”. A million dollars seemed out of reach, but a salad bowl and a cookbook seemed reasonable.

    Well this it, PBO is the big one, and this year, I tried really hard. I’m dreaming of that chance at a million dollars, but somehow it’s not about winning money, it’s more about coming full circle in my passion. When I can say “I went to the Pillsbury Bake-Off,” I will know I’ve achieved greatness in this cooking contest hobby. It’s an honor just to be selected as a finalist. I submitted 14 recipes, although in retrospect, I see only about half are worthy of the crown, or at least a walk down the runway. So let’s just say I have 7 chances.

    The contest has changed up a bit. 90 finalists will be notified in September, but for now there are 20 tentative finalists who must compete in on-line voting.

    I’m ecstatic to hear my friend Linda Bibbo received the email. Her recipe is up for voting soon. However, we don’t know what the recipe is, that’s top secret information. Ironically, this is the second time she has been selected for the “You Be The Judge” voting segment. Most of us dream of getting that email or call, but we hope we are one of the 90 guaranteed spots, not the “maybe if you’re recipe is popular” spots. So my fingers are crossed for Linda and the rest of my CCC friends. Here is what getting that email looks like:

    Contest officials have confirmed that your recipe will be placed online at for consumer voting in the 45th Pillsbury Bake-Off® Contest. Congratulations on moving one step closer to a chance at the million-dollar grand prize!

    On-line voting is something most of us CCC’ers despise. Only 10 of the 20 voting round people will make it to the dream kitchen. Yes, every cooking competitors “dream kitchen” is actually located in some convention center. I haven’t been there yet, but maybe this is my year! I have been pretty lucky this year winning GP in Wolfgang Pucks Red Carpet Recipe Contest, 2nd Place in Franks Red Hot Contest, and a finalist spot winning an envelope full of Gorton’s Seafood coupons and Ortega Taco Shells.

    This is the fun part. Dreaming. The bake-off doesn’t even take place until 2012, but I’ll be checking my email every minute on September 1st, hoping.

    I spent this morning collecting PBO data to see that no one from my state has ever worn the “Cooking Diva” sash and crown.
    So if I won, I’d be the first person ever from Kansas to win the Pillsbury Bake Off! Wouldn’t that be great? 😀 Hope springs eternal.

    By the way, if you think you might like to enter cooking contests, join This is where home cooks who love to create…meet, talk, learn and play with recipes- for prizes. I’ve made some great friends since joining ccc, I know you will too!

    The first Pillsbury Bake-Off, 1949

    That kind of looks like me in the middle,… no? 😀

    Pillsbury Bake-Off Winners Over The Years

    Michigan- 1949 / No-Knead Water-Rising Twists / Theodora Smafield
    California- 1950 / Orange Kiss-Me Cake / Lily Wuebel
    California- 1951 / Starlight Double-Delight Cake / Helen Weston
    Illinois- 1952 / Snappy Turtle Cookies / Beatrice Harlib
    Colorado- 1953 / “My Inspiration” Cake / Lois Kanago
    Washington DC- 1954 / Open Sesame Pie / Dorothy Koteen
    Oregon- 1955 / Ring-A-Lings / Bertha Jorgensen
    California- 1956 / California Casserole / Hildreth H. Hatheway
    California- 1957 / Accordion Treats / Gerda Roderer
    Ohio- 1958 / Spicy Apple Twists / Dorothy DeVault
    Louisiana- 1959 / Mardi Gras Party Cake / Eunice G. Surles
    Nebraska- 1960 / Dilly Casserole Bread / Leona Schnuelle
    Minnesota-1961 / Candy Bar Cookies / Alice Reese
    Iowa- 1962 / Apple Pie ’63 / Julia Smogor
    Michigan- 1963 / Hungry Boys’ Casserole / Mira Walilko
    Florida- 1964 / Peacheesy Pie / Janis Risley
    Nevada- 1966 / Golden Gate Snack Bread / Mari Petrelli
    Tennessee- 1967 / Muffin Mix Buffet Bread / Maxine Bullock
    Florida- 1968 / Buttercream Pound Cake / Phyllis Lidert
    Minnesota- 1969 / Magic Marshmallow Crescent Puffs / Edna M. Walker
    Arizona- 1970 / Onion Lover’s Twist / Nan Robb
    Washington- 1971 / Pecan Pie Surprise Bars / Pearl Hall
    Pennsylvania- 1972 / Streusel Spice Cake / Rose DeDominicis
    Texas- 1973 / Quick Crescent Pecan Pie Bars / Albina Flieller
    Minnesota- 1974 / Chocolate Cherry Bars / Francis I. Jerzak
    Indiana- 1975 / Easy Crescent Danish Rolls / Barbara S. Gibson
    Colorado- 1976 / Crescent Caramel Swirl / Lois Ann Groves
    California- 1978 / Nutty Graham Picnic Cake / Esther Tomich
    Florida- 1980 / Italian Zucchini Crescent Pie / Millicent (Caplan) Nathan
    Arizona- 1982 / Almond-Filled Cookie Cake / Elizabeth Meijer
    Wisconsin- 1984 / Country Apple Coffee Cake / Susan F. Porubcan
    Oregon- 1986 / Apple Nut Lattice Tart / Mary Lou Warren
    Minnesota- 1988 / Chocolate Praline Layer Cake / Julie Bengtson
    California- 1990 / Blueberry-Poppy Seed Brunch Cake / Linda Rahman
    South Carolina- 1992 / Pennsylvania Dutch Cake and Custard Pie / Gladys Fulton
    North Carolina- 1994 / Fudgy Bonbons / Mary Anne Tyndall
    California- 1996 / Macadamia Fudge Torte / Kurt Wait
    Washington-1998 / Salsa Couscous Chicken / Ellie Mathews
    South Carolina- 2000 / Cream Cheese Brownie Pie / Roberta Sonefeld
    Tennessee- 2002 / Chicken Florentine Panini / Denise JoAnne Yennie
    Ohio- 2004 / Oats ‘n Honey Granola Pie / Suzanne Conrad
    Texas- 2006 / Baked Chicken and Spinach Stuffing / Anna Ginsberg
    Maryland- 2008 / Double-Delight Peanut Butter Cookies / Carolyn Gurtz
    New Jersey- 2010 / Mini Ice Cream Cookie Cups / Sue Compton


      1. Thanks for the excellent post, Lanie! You might want to add to your list from last Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest:

        New Jersey-2010 / Mini Ice Cream Cookie Cups / Sue Compton

        Good luck! If you’re selected for the contest, you’ll actually get a phone call (at least that’s how they’ve done it in the past) so make sure you listen for that call!

        Good Luck!

        1. Thanks so much Brett! I’ve added Sue Compton, and I think we had surmised Pillsbury doesn’t have my phone number. I do not see it anywhere in my registration information on my PBO account. I will have to catch up with you on FB about this very question! Thanks for stopping by, and I hope to meet you there! ;D

      2. Hi! My Aunt Maura Hinckle suggested I start following your blog. I enjoyed this post and wanted to tell you good luck! Very exciting.

        1. Thank you so much! I’m glad to have a visitor. Please keep checking back! You do know my Aunt Maura is the best hostess ever, right? 😀

      3. Lanie!

        Thank you so much for mentioning me! I have to say that one of the best things about this hobby is all the friends I have made, you (and Brett!) to name two of them! That, and realizing that – no, I am not the only crazy one out there because I have too many cookbooks to count and still keep buying more!

        I hope that you make it to the 2012 Bake-Off – and hopefully Brett and I will be there right along with you. If they don’t have your number (which I would bet they do – somewhere in their files!) I know they will find you!


        1. Thank you Linda! I had a dream right before the last PBO that I was standing next to a man and he was announced as the big winner, I’ve always thought it was Brett in the dream. Ha Ha. I will see you there! Positive thinking!

          1. I may see you there, on TV that is! Ha Ha. The dream could have been about you and Brett. Good luck will keep my eyes out! Keep me updated.

      4. Today I found the recipe that my mother would make for us in the 1970’s…It was the Strreasel Spice Cake (1972)created by Rose DeDominicis (Penn.) I was so thrilled because making that cake with Mom brings back such fond memories for me. She is now gone, but I will be able to bring back the tradition with my granddaughter!

        1. That’s so wonderful you will carry on the tradition and have something special to share. It’s always a delight when a flavor or scent of something baking, transports you right back to an intimate time or place with the ones you love. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your story.

        1. Thanks so much! It just wasn’t meant to be. I’m anxious and excited for my friends who got in this year, including Brett and Linda! Go CCC! 😀

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