Lockport bakeries hope to reach quarterfinals in America’s “Greatest Baker”

A 90th birthday cake created by Megan DiCaro of Springview Sweets and entered for the Greatest Baker Critic's Choice award.

Lockport — Two Lockport bakeries have received national attention and are vying for the top spot in chef and “Cake Boss” host Buddy Valastro’s Greatest Baker Competition.

Springview Sweets Bakery, inside the Lockport train station at 133 W. 13th Street, and Biteable, which can be found at 1022 S. State Street, have reached the quarterfinals of the competition, thanks to ongoing online support from voters in the community.

“At this point, it feels like a victory in itself,” said Springview Sweets owner Megan DiCaro. “I’ve been shocked by the outpouring of support. There’s not that many people in Lockport and Joliet compared to cities like [Los Angeles] and [Las] Vegas, where some of these bakers have much bigger shops.”

The contest divided bakers into groups, and fans can advance them to further rounds by voting online. Fans can vote once per day for free or pay to gain additional votes per dollar. The proceeds of the purchased votes are donated to the Andrew McDonough Be Positive Foundation, which supports families dealing with pediatric cancer.

“We’ve gotten this far with no cash donations so far, but it was neck and neck last round,” DiCaro said.

Only the top baker vote earner from each group advances to the next round of the competition. Voting for the quarterfinal closes Jan. 18, and semifinal voting is Jan. 19 to 25. The final round will be Jan. 26 through Feb. 1, with the winner announced by Feb. 9.

Only the top 1% of bakers in the competition reach the quarterfinals.

If DiCaro wins, she plans on donating a portion of the $10,000 prize to brain cancer research in memory of her grandmother, who died in March 2023.

After years working under others Sylvia Pawlak, left, and Kristen Bowling came together to open their own bakery Biteable Baked Goods in downtown Lockport.

Bakers who do not win, however, still become eligible for other prizes as they advance through the competition.

DiCaro explained that qualifying for the quarterfinals allowed contestants to enter the “Critics Pick” portion of the contest in which food critic Melissa Anaya will choose one baker to appear in Bake from Scratch Magazine and receive an all-expenses-paid trip to meet her in Arizona based on their submission of their own “best decorated cake” photo.

DiCaro’s entry was a floral-decorated numeral cake she made for a client who was turning 90.

Megan DiCaro poses for a photo at her bakery Springview Sweets Bakery located at the Lockport Metra train station in downtown Lockport on Friday, Dec.15th. Megan is current in 1st place in The Greatest Baker online voting contest, presented by Cake Boss Buddy Valastro.

“My entry was my first custom order that wasn’t for a family member,” she said. “This competition is a lot bigger than people realize. Even if you don’t win the grand prize, there are a lot of other great opportunities it opens.”

Even locally, the contest has been a boost for business. DiCaro said that since the contest opened Springview Sweets’ likes on Facebook have increased by more than 50%.

“We had about 1,000 followers on Facebook at Thanksgiving, and we’ve gotten 600 more since the contest started, which has been amazing,” she said. “I feel like the community supports you and you support them. I think people are happy to collaborate and let you know you aren’t alone, especially as you’re jumping in the deep end to start something like a business.”

You can vote for Springview Sweets and Biteable on their profile pages of the Greatest Baker website.