Madison Lee Mangino earns praise at British Sugarcraft Guild

Cake topper: Park Slope pastry chef wins big in frosting art contest

The Brooklyn Paper
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This Park Slope pastry chef takes the cake.

Madison Lee Mangino has earned international praise for her strikingly realistic sugar flower designs after placing at the top of a premier cake art contest that’s essentially the Olympics for frosting aficionados.

Mangino, who works at Cousin John’s Cafe & Bakery, was one of seven frosting designers out of 45 total competitors to take top honors at the British Sugarcraft Guild — where she crafted a pink cherry blossom branch and showcased it atop a three-tier cake model.

“I turned my apartment into a sugar studio,” she said. “It takes hours: you have all these little petals to make.”

She first piped and embroidered a fake styrofoam cake, then mixed, shaded, and sculpted the edible flowers on top.

Mangino then flew to London with a duffle bag stuffed with baking supplies and discovered she would face some stiff competition: dozens of elderly British women, some of whom have been designing cakes for decades.

But judges who use a 52-page handbook to rank the frosting artists according to technique were impressed by the Brooklyn baker, awarding her with 93 points out of a possible 100 last month (there is no formal winner, just “commended” contestants such as Mangino).

Her shop now sells similar “dummy cakes” that can add a flowery flourish to baby showers, weddings, and other events.

“It’s all about being artistic,” she said.

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:34 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Carson from Downstairs says:
I say! The Dowager Countess Lady Violet always wins the Sugarcraft Guild.
June 18, 2012, 8:33 am

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