HARKER HEIGHTS — The taste of victory, blended with gratitude, never tasted sweeter for Lilian Halabi, owner of Lily’s Cakes, after winning a competition on the Food Network’s television show “Cake Wars.”
“My heart is so big now, and I thank everyone for the love they have showed us,” said Halabi at the bakery on Tuesday.
The Monopoly-themed episode aired Monday but was filmed in Los Angeles in July. It pitted Halabi and her assistant, Samantha Adkins, against three other baking teams to create a cake reflecting the essence of the board game Parker Bros. made famous.
“It’s so exciting to win this competition,” Adkins said.
The towering, five-tier creation consisted of an orange cake made with toasted coconuts, flambe pineapples and orange buttercreme frosting. Many of the Monopoly figures decorate the outside, including a pair of dice, game tokens and money, and the pastry is topped by the iconic Rich Uncle Pennybags, known now as Mr. Monopoly.
Halabi’s design, created in only four hours, drew rave reviews from the “Cake Wars” panel.
“Lilian delivered a close-to-flawless cake,” said Waylynn Lucas, one of the show’s judges.
“This is a cake that makes me smile, and the flavor of the cake was good,” said Richard Ruskell, another judge.
Halabi was born in Venezuela to Syrian parents. Halabi’s family came to the Killeen area in 1995 for her husband’s work.
A baker and cook since childhood, Halabi is self-taught, with her training coming from cake-decorating classes at Hobby Lobby. She opened Lily’s Cakes six years ago.
When a friend entered her in the reality show competition, Halabi said she knew she could win.
“I went to the competition with the purpose of winning, because I love challenges, and I wanted to show what I could do,” Halabi said.
Besides all the instant fame, she received a $10,000 cash prize. Some of the money will buy equipment to open a new bakery in Temple this spring.
Savoring the success is both wonderful and meaningful for Halabi.
“I want to show people that there is always hope for your dreams to come true,” she said.
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