hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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January 24, 2013

How sweet it is!

Local baker wins Food Network competition

Haverhill baker Erin Erler brought home bragging rights and $15,000 when she won the Food Network’s first “Sugar Dome’’ bake-off.

A self-taught baker who learned her craft at the kitchen table with her three children, Erler turned her craft into a business and now has won an award on national TV.

“My sister, Kelly, started this, when she contacted the casting people at the Food Network,” Erler said.

Sister Kelly Mackin made the application to the Food Network, and, in August, the network accepted Erler as a contestant. The sisters are co-owners of Cakes by Erin on Kenoza Avenue.

The program aired Jan. 14. The sisters held a viewing party that night at the Hard Rock Cafe in Boston, where about 100 guests watched Erler’s team win the prize.

The program was filmed in October, but the sisters were under contract not to say anything until the Food Network announcement of the winners.

The network flew Erler to Los Angeles and put her up in a hotel with the other contestants for a week while they filmed the program, Erler said. The Food Network organized the contest as a competition between three teams with three people each — a sugar artist, a craftsman of non-edible items, and a baker.

The organizers gave each team a theme and six hours in which to make the product.

The winning design by Erler’s team used an 1980s theme of a cake shaped to look like a Rubik’s Cube with a break-dancer on the cake top and set in an alley surrounded by a brick wall covered in graffiti.

The entire cake was edible.

Erler, a mother of three, a native of Beverly and now a 14-year Haverhill resident, did not start out her professional life as a baker.

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