CLOSTER, N.J. -- For Closter resident Linsey Lam, baking is happiness.
It's also rewarding. The 13-year-old says nothing makes her smile more than when people dig into (and enjoy) her desserts. Huge multiple tiered and elaborate cakes are her specialities.
"One of my favorite things is decorating and making giant cakes lets me do that," she said.
Now, folks will be able to see up close and personal into Lam's world of baking (and frosting). She is one of a dozen contestants -- ranging in age from 10 to 13 -- competing in decadent dessert challenges designed to find the most impressive and creative kid baker in the country.
The show, "Kids Baking Championship" premieres Monday, January 1 at 9 p.m. on the Food Network and is hosted by Valerie Bertinelli and Duff Goldman.
Over the course of 10 episodes, the kid contestants must tackle new confectionary challenges, from sweet dessert pizzas using traditional savory pizza toppings to out-of-this-world desserts with freeze-dried astronaut approved ingredients.
The winner wins a grand prize of $25,000, a feature in Food Network Magazine and the title of Kids Baking Champion.
Lam, who's been baking since she was very young -- she got "super serious" in 6th grade -- said the experience was both nerve-wracking and fun.
"It was fun because I had always dreamed of being on the show and there I was living out my dream," she said.
She also enjoyed meeting the judges as well as the other kids who knew just as much -- and sometimes even more -- about baking.
What was nerve-wracking, however, was knowing that every mistake made would be shown on national TV. It was also hard to make beautiful desserts in such little time.
"There was a lot of pressure to succeed and it was one of the most stressful things I’ve gone through," she said.
But, of course, it had its "sweet" rewards.
Lam learned, for example, that it’s better to crack eggs on the table because less shell will fall in. And, lemon juice is good for bringing out the flavor of apple.
Said the young baker: "My experience on the show was incredible and I would not trade it for anything in the universe."
Fans can join the baking banter on Twitter using #BakingChampionship and can relive the behind-the-scenes moments at FoodNetwork.com/KidsBakingChampionship .
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