The producers are looking for a “natural born baker or artist” who can create “amazing masterpieces, crazy confections or over-the-top cakes,” like master baker Buddy Valastro (aka the “Cake Boss”) and his team, which includes his mother, four older sisters and three brothers-in-law, do at Carlo’s City Hall Bake Shop in Hoboken, N.J.When Rebecca Carbaugh, Markov’s manager at the Original Smith Island Cake Company shop in the Ocean City Factory Outlets, was on the Internet one day, she came across the contest Web site.
She noted that producers are casting up-and-coming cake decorators and bakers looking for their big break and who have the right personality for television.
Right away Carbaugh thought of Markov, so she sent an e-mail for more information about the competition and to praise her employee.
Markov filled out an application and provided some photographs of her cakes. Casting directors liked her answers and pictures, she said, so the next step was to post videos on YouTube. She finished the application process about two weeks ago and is awaiting a response.
The baking competition series, with host Valastro and his team, will feature weekly lessons, challenges and eliminations. The 10 contenders chosen for the show, set to film in September and October, will vie for cash and prizes. No culinary experience is required.
“I’m anxious and excited, but the odds are hard because they’re only picking 10 people,” she said. “I would freak out if I was chosen. It would be awesome. It would be a really big opportunity for me.”
Markov, who moved to Ocean City when she was about 3 years old, was big into music and singing, but then turned toward massage therapy, which she did at a local day spa for two and a half years.
Markov said she always watched shows such as “Ace of Cakes” and videos on YouTube and thought, “I bet I can do that.”
She got the opportunity to test her skills for the first time about three years ago when she designed a hot dog cake for her boyfriend’s son’s seventh birthday.
“It came out really good,” said Markov and that is how her career as a cake artist began. After her first creation, she continued to make unique cakes for friends and family.
“I kept trying different things and taught myself,” she said. “You kind of have to teach yourself because all cakes are different.”
When the Original Smith Island Cake Company store, featuring the official dessert of Maryland containing between 6 to 12 layers, was set to open last May in West Ocean City, Markov dropped off her specialty cakes portfolio. She has worked there since then.Markov designs many wedding and specialty cakes, which depending on their size and the amount of detail, takes her between five and 15 hours to complete. Some of the cakes she has made include a sandcastle, one based on a woman’s ring, lighthouse cake topper, bushel of crabs, Sponge Bob and a marlin.
Her favorite was a crab that consisted of nine layers of yellow cake with chocolate icing that she made for a crab feast in Bishopville last month. Carbaugh had just planned to bring some cupcakes and Smith Island cakes but Markov said, “Let’s show off a little bit and do something crazy.”
“Everyone thought it was foam because it didn’t look real so I had to write, ‘This is a real cake,’“ Carbaugh said. “No one wanted to cut into it because they liked it so much...Amber has learned very quickly and she’s definitely come a long way. It’s so cool to see the stuff she sketches out on paper come to life in a cake.”
The 27-year-old Ocean Pines resident said she loves to see people’s reactions when they get the first glimpse of the cake she created for their special occasion. She said it is nice to be part of someone’s special day.
Markov said she likes that her job doesn’t feel like work.
“It’s fun and it allows me to be creative,” she said. “I just want to gain all the experience and knowledge I can and see where it takes me.”