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The Great Indoors: Cake decorators celebrate ND’s 125th birthday

Barb Cossette and Laura Brahos, both of Fargo, teamed up to create a massive North Dakota cake that celebrates the topography of the state and landmarks from each region. Special to The Forum2 / 3
Barb Cossette, of Quality Bakery, shows Tracy Briggs how she decorated her winning cake for “The Great Indoors” cake contest. She decorated the cake with co-worker Laura Brahos (not pictured). The Forum3 / 3

When it comes to celebrating North Dakota’s 125th birthday, size apparently matters. The winning cake in “The Great Indoors” cake contest is actually six sheet cakes put together, enough to serve about 600 people. That’s roughly the population of Portland, N.D.

The winning decorators are Barb Cossette and Laura Brahos, who both work at Quality Bakery in Fargo. They wanted to make a cake that celebrated what makes North Dakota special, and they wanted to do it big.

As one judge said of their cake, “Well, this one really takes the cake!”

Cossette and Brahos chose to replicate a state map, complete with landmarks such as rivers, lakes and interstates. They covered the eastern part of the state in green frosting and chocolate cookie crumbs to represent the fertile Red River Valley. You can also see little potatoes and sugar beets surrounding a tiny little tractor.

A buffalo stands in Jamestown, and Cossette and Brahos made a miniature state Capitol building out of Styrofoam. The badlands of the west are decorated in yellow and brown frosting (piles of it) to represent the change in topography. A miniature oil well dots the northwest.

In the video, Cossette explains how they decorated a similar cake. The original ginormous cake they made for the contest is gone. (Maybe the town of Portland snuck down to the bakery for a coffee break). But the cake in the video is similar in construction, but just a sixth of the size.

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest. The panel of 12 judges had a very difficult time picking a winner. All of the cakes were creative and beautifully decorated.

We’ve shared pictures of the other decorators and their cakes.

Thanks to Costco for donating an executive membership and a Kitchen Aid mixer to our winners. That’s a $500 prize package. Cossette and Brahos will have to fight over who gets which prize. We’ll just take the cake.

Tracy Briggs

‘The Great Indoors’ with Tracy Briggs appears every Thursday in The Forum. For more information go to her blog at