Marilyn DeVault won the "Sugar Showdown" and is sharing her $10,000 prize with PSU

SUBMITTED PHOTOS:  - Marilyn DeVault, left, and Shelby Page, of Piece of Cake Bakery recently won first prize of $10,000 in the Sugar Showdown.

Lake Oswego resident Marilyn DeVault, owner of Piece of Cake Catering and Desserts, recently won the “Sugar Showdown,” a Cooking Channel television cooking competition. She was invited to appear on the television show earlier this fall, and flew with Shelby Page, her head decorator, who also is a pastry chef at the Multnomah Athletic Club, to Toronto for the competition. They faced off against two other teams from North America for a $10,000 prize.

In each of the show’s 13 episodes, three bakers’ talents are tested in a speedy elimination round, where they must whip up a mouth-watering dessert that incorporates a mystery ingredient such as mayonnaise, balsamic vinegar, cheese curds and beets. A rotating panel of judges decide which two bakers advance to the next round, where they must create a confection that embodies a special theme ranging from baseball, to beach parties, to aliens or amusement parks. One baker is crowned the champion, winning bragging rights and $10,000.

For the first round of the competition, DeVault and Page put a new spin on Black Forest cake, creating a cherry bomb with sour cherries and espresso.

DeVault said the experience was a whirlwind.

“I received a call April 20 from Catherine May, (with) Architect Films,” she said. “She saw a video clip on the bakery. We were featured on National Pound Cake Day by a local TV station. She loved what we made on TV, checked out our website and called me. She asked if I would fill out an application, pictures and video. I needed to have the paperwork sent in by April 27. Catherine May told me this was a brand new cooking show called ‘Sugar Showdown.’ We were so excited!”

DeVault said she received a call June 26 that she had been selected to appear on the show and that she would need to tape July 10 in Toronto, Canada.

“I couldn’t stop screaming I was so excited!” she said.

SUBMITTED PHOTOS:  - Pictured from left are Chef Lindsey Greflund from Le Dolci and President's Choice Cooking School, Kristina Norman from Aspen Charm Cakes in Denver, Colo. and DeVault.

DeVault and Page competed against Toronto pastry instructor and Chef Lindsey Greflund from Le Dolci and President’s Choice Cooking School, and Kristina Norman from Aspen Charm Cakes in Denver, Colo. Their first challenge was to make a chocolate cake.

DeVault said a highlight for her was hearing Judge Johnny Iuzzini’s response upon tasting her signature chocolate cake. “Mama, you got that right!” the pastry chef, cookbook author and TV celebrity said.

DeVault and Page went on to win the final challenge of baking a beach party-themed cake, and claimed the $10,000 prize, which DeVault is donating to Portland State University for the Marilyn DeVault Scholarship Fund.

“Before we went to the competition I asked Shelby if she would mind if we gave the $10,000 to PSU special education graduate department if we won. She thought that was great, as well.”

DeVault completed her master’s degree in special education in the 1970s at PSU and taught students with disabilities for several years before making a career change.

She opened Piece of Cake Bakery in 1978 and as the bakery grew, focused her baking on meeting the special dietary needs of her patrons. Her PSU training and teaching experience inspired her to address special dessert food needs. She has developed formulas that are gluten free and vegan, and able to meet the needs of many children with autism on gluten free diets.

About eight years ago, DeVault enlisted the aid of her PSU adviser and professor, Dr. Steven Brannan, to help create the Marilyn DeVault scholarship. Recipients of the scholarships are graduate students in special education interested in meeting the needs of children with autism, a population that has been increasing each year.

DeVault, Page and Brannan will present the check to PSU at a ceremony to be scheduled in December.

DeVault’s “Sugar Showdown” episode aired originally Oct. 22 and will re-air Dec. 31 at 9 p.m. Pacific Time on Cooking Channel, 184 or 810 HD.

Piece of Cake Bakery is located at 8306 S.E. 17th Ave. in Portland’s Sellwood neighborhood. To learn more, call 503-234-9445 or visit

Contact Barb Randall at 503-636-1281 ext. 100 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

DeVault and Page show off some of their fine culinary creations.

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