When Christina Tomsic's husband told her she had won first prize in the Carbon County Fair Hershey Cocoa Classic Baking Contest, the Palmerton woman told him to "shut up."
Not in a nasty, rude way. It was more of a "You can't be serious!" way.
He was, and she did.
Tomsic's Chocolate Berry Bliss Cake wowed the judges and will send her to Harrisburg in January, where she will compete with about 75 other local winners from across the commonwealth to determine who has the best Hershey's chocolate cake recipe.
"I'm so excited," gushed Tomsic. "This is still new to me. I can't wait for Harrisburg!"
This is Tomsic's second attempt to win the big prize at the county fair. Last year, her chocolate cake with peanut butter icing took second place.
This year, her classic dark chocolate cake with raspberry filling, topped with Hershey's Premier Baking Pieces Dark Chocolate filled with Raspberry Creme, was exactly the right combination. The recipe for the cake itself, says Tomsic, is from a Hershey cookbook, that she has tweaked over time.
"The filling, though, is all mine," says Tomsic, of the raspberry creation. "I use real raspberries. Preserves just don't give it enough flavor."
While Tomsic has made the cake and the icing, and the raspberry filling in the past, she never put it all together into one cake before. She didn't even sample it before she made it for the county fair.
"I had never put all the pieces together. I think that's why I was so nervous."
Within hours of the fair's opening, Tomsic, her husband Cory, and her mother-in-law, made their way into the tent where all the entries were housed, but she couldn't find her cake. Finally, Cory spied it, and delivered the good news.
Tomsic was elated.
"I've been baking since I was a kid, with my mom," says Tomsic, who said they mostly made cookies and pies. "We have a tradition. Every holiday we make cherry cheesecakes."
Tomsic has moved well beyond cookies and pies, and not only does she make delicious cakes, she makes beautifully decorated cakes. Last year she won third place at the Allentown Fair for a wedding cake. This year she also earned a top prize for her fairy tale cake, featuring the "Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe."
She has taken a Wilton cake decorating class at Northampton County College, and has taught herself a lot of other cake decorating techniques.
"I learn by trial and error," explained Tomsic.
She has begun to make cakes for family and friends, and created a Web site to show off her work, located at http://mauchchunkbaking.webs.com .
Tomsic's younger sister is currently in school, studying commercial baking. Someday, Tomsic says, they may open their own business.
When she isn't make cakes and winning prizes, Tomsic works as a certified pharmacy technician at Lehigh Valley Hospital. She and Cory have been married for almost three years.