ICE Chef Instructor Michelle Tampakis was in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday to help build an amazing pastry confection — the world’s largest gluten-free cake! Chef Michelle was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2006 and has been working hard on making delicious gluten-free desserts and baked goods ever since. Not only does she teach in ICE’s career-training division, she is the Director of the Center for Advanced Pastry Studies (CAPS@ICE) and was named a Top Ten Pastry Chef by Dessert Professional last year.
She took her expertise to the capitol to help raise awareness about the need for regulation and standards for gluten-free labeling. The event was organized as part of the first Gluten-Free Labeling Summit as part of the first ever National Celiac Awareness Month. Michael R. Taylor, the first-ever Deputy Commissioner for Foods at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), even made a surprise appearance at the summit and stopped by to see the cake.
To make the mammoth cake, 180 half–sheet pan sized cakes were baked and shipped from the Whole Foods Gluten Free Bakehouse in North Carolina. A whole team of bakers and volunteers gathered in the Embassy Suites hotel to construct the cake. Measuring in at over 11 feet tall and weighing over 2,000 pounds, the cake was bolted together with steel rebar. Over 700 pounds of frosting were used! Fear not, the cake wasn’t wasted — the leftover cake pieces went to a local food bank.