Appetites: Amateur baker brings a slice of Minnesota to the Great American Baking Show

women smile in a baking show
Minneapolis baker Nicole Aufderhar with comedian and actress Casey Wilson on "The Great American Baking Show."
Courtesy of The Roku Channel

Recreating the Minnesota State Fair on a cake might seem like an impossible feat, but one baker managed to pull it off on “The Great American Baking Show,” a stateside spin-off of “The Great British Baking Show.”

Nicole Aufderhar, from Walker, is a contestant on the most recent season of the baking reality show, streaming now on the Roku Channel. Aufderhar went into the show with more than 20 State Fair ribbons for baking to her name. But those were mostly for cookies and breads.

Cakes were outside her comfort zone. But she shined in the first week’s technical challenge, which tested her cake-making prowess.

Aufderhar and her cake rose to the challenge.

“Just saying, you can make cake,” celebrity chef Paul Hollywood told her.

Perhaps her proudest achievement on the show was making a cake in honor of the Ag-Hort-Bee building at the State Fair.

state fair cake
Nicole Aufderhar's practice version of the final "Showstopper" challenge: a Minnesota State Fair cake.
Courtesy of Nicole Aufderhar

“I tried to recreate it,” Aufderhar said. “There were a few iffy moments.”

The challenge was to create a baked item that represented their journey from home to the competition. She chose to represent Minnesota’s Great Get Together.

“My experience where I first did competitive baking was through the State Fair,” she said.

While typical cooking shows tend to be competitive and cutthroat, Aufderhar said her experience was the opposite.

“I tend to underestimate myself,” Aufderhar said. “I used to literally cry every time I made a cake— like it was just really kind of pathetic.”

The show changed that for her. ”It’s given me that ability to not be afraid to try,” she said.