Wednesday (Double!) Winners: Pillsbury Bake-Off # 23

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Bake-Off # 23 marks the first of six Bake-Off’s that introduced double grand prize winners. Yes!  Not one, but two lucky people won the $25,000 prize.  I am not sure why Pillsbury started this exciting new twist or why they only did six of them, but I’m betting there were no complaints from the contestants!  
This 1972 Bake-Off took place at the AstroWorld Hotel in Houston, Texas.  You could probably have guessed the contest was in Texas as the cover has a lone star and the doughboy is wearing a cowboy hat.   The contestants probably have intriguing stories about the AstroWorld Hotel, once called Houston’s version of the Hearst Castle.  The original hotel built in 1969 is now a Crowne Plaza Hotel.  At one time, the entire top floor encompassed the builder’s (Judge Roy Hofheinz) own apartment known as “The Celestial Suites.”  He spent over a $1 million creating the most expensive suite in the world at that time, which was documented by the Guinness Book of World Records.  The art director for the Disney movie, “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” designed the suite especially for the Judge.  It included thirteen rooms, each with a unique design and decor with names like the Tarzan Room, the Fu Manchu bedroom, and the Big Top room with a king-sized bed made from an old bandwagon calliope.  One bedroom has Scarlett O’Hara’s bed from “Gone with the Wind.”  In addition to Bake-Off contestants, other well-known celebrities including Johnny Cash, Mohammed Ali, Jerry Lewis, President Lyndon Johnson, and Elvis Presley stayed at the hotel.  I would say, hands down, this sounds like the most interesting hotel so far for a Bake-Off contest!
One of the hallways of the AstroWorld Hotel!
Part-time fashion stylist Isabelle Collins from Elk River, Minnesota  was one of the grand prize winners with her recipe for “Quick ‘N Chewy Crescent Bars,” which was made with only 4 ingredients: crescent rolls, sweetened condensed milk, butter, and a package of Pillsbury’s Coconut Almond (or pecan) Frosting Mix.  They are made by pressing the crescent dough into a jelly roll pan, pouring the sweetened condensed milk over the dough, sprinkling on the frosting mix, and drizzling with melted butter.  Don’t they look delicious?
The second winner was Rose DeDominicis from Verona, Pennsylvania for her “Streusel Spice Cake,” a pound cake with a streusel filling and topping.  This winning cake was used as a model to create a new line of Pillsbury’s “Streusel Swirl” cake mixes.  Within a short time after the Bake-Off, Pillsbury looked seriously at Rose’s cake as a potential idea for a product line.  A team consisting of the marketing department, home economists, and food scientists went to work on its development.  After a year of consumer testing, which included group interviews with women all over the country, as well as actual in-home testing, they eventually produced a Cinnamon-German Chocolate and a Spice and Fudge Marble. 
Other prize winners in the contest included $5,000 “Rocky Road Fudge Bars” from Mrs. Bobby Wilson of Leesburg, Georgia.  The $1,000 winners were “Easy Streuselled Coffee Cake” from Mrs. Emil Hynek of Lincoln, Nebraska; “Butterscotch Biscuit Pinwheels” from Debra Hilburn (who competed against her mother, Prudence!) of Piedmont, Alabama; “Easy Cheesy Crescent Sandwich” from Laura Quigley of New York, New York; “Peppy Cheese Quick Bread” from Violet Hester of Long Beach, California;  and”Cheesy Biscuit Rings” from Lynne Goldklang of Hollywood, California.
There was a prize for “The Best Consumer Value Award.”  The winning recipe was determined by a computer which first selected those recipes having the best nutritional balance, and then computed the best price value.  The winner of this award was a high school sophomore, Dennis Batich from Garwood, New Jersey,  who began cooking as young child with his mother.  Dennis said his recipe for “Frank ‘N Bean Biscuit Casserole” was inspired by one of his favorite sloppy joe recipes.  Dennis’ mother had tried many times to enter the Bake-Off herself and had not been chosen, so she encouraged Dennis to give it a shot.  She obviously taught Dennis well!
To read more about the Pillsbury Bake-Off go to:
To find the Streusel Spice Cake recipe go to: 
To find the Quick ‘N Chewy Crescent Bar recipe go to: 
Photos of the Streusel Spice Cake and Quick ‘N Chewy Crescent Bars are by my daughter, Kristina Vanni. Visit her blog at: 
To read my previous Bake-Off contest blogs:

Bake-Off #1:
Bake-Off #2:
Bake-Off #3:
Bake-Off #4:
Bake-Off #5:
Bake-Off #6:
Bake-Off #7:
Bake-Off #8:  
Bake-Off #9:
Bake-Off #10:
Bake-Off #11:
Bake-Off #12:
Bake-Off #13:
Bake-Off #14:
Bake-Off #15:
Bake-Off #16:
Bake-Off #17:
Bake-Off #18:
Bake-Off #19:
Bake-Off #20:
Bake-Off #21:
Bake-Off #22:

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10 Responses to Wednesday (Double!) Winners: Pillsbury Bake-Off # 23

  1. October 19, 2011 at 8:27 am #

    never knew there were double GP winners!

  2. October 19, 2011 at 9:47 am #

    Isn’t it amazing they had double winners? Don’t know why it started or why it suddenly stopped!

  3. October 21, 2011 at 10:18 am #

    Thank you so much for posting these… I’ve been copying and pasting all the Pillsbury Grand Prize winners. I am in the process of collecting all of the booklets, but have a ways to go yet.

    What’s irritating is you can’t just go to the Pillsbury website, type in “grand prize winner” and find all of the recipes!! Try it! You’ll get two recipes. Four if you only type in “grand prize”. 78, though, if you type in “winner”, but then you get state fair winners also with really no idea which ones won what in the Bake-Off contests….

  4. October 21, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

    Hi Kathy – I agree with you on how the Bake-Off grand prize winners are listed. I wish they had an entire separate link that lists every winner in one spot. I actually don’t know why it hasn’t been done, because the Bake-Off is something everyone is interested in looking up. Once I finish all my Bake-Off blogs (I am on #23 and have to get to #44!) I hope to figure out how to have a separate link on my site so every Bake-Off blog I have will be there in order.

  5. October 23, 2011 at 6:25 pm #

    If you go to, you can get all the GP winners going back to the beginning.

  6. October 23, 2011 at 8:23 pm #

    Thanks, Dough Maven! It’s great to see the list of winning names and recipe title, but if I was reading Kathy’s question correctly, I think she was referring to finding all the grand prize recipes themselves in one place, not just the titles and years of the contest. I have found a couple different places, including wikipedia, where one can find the winners’ names, recipe names, and year, but there is not somewhere that I have found where all the grand prize recipes themselves to print out are listed together. To do that, you have to know the winning recipe name, go to and do a search on the recipe in order to see it. That’s why on all my blogs, I put a link to the recipe. It would be great if all the grand prize recipes were together in one place.

  7. November 17, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

    It was wonderful to google my mother’s name and find her in your blog. Rose DeDominicis is my mom and one of the two grand prize winners of the 23rd Pillsbury Bake-Off. I had the privilege of being with her in Houston for the Bake-Off. I was interested in your note of the spin-off products. The ones you noted were unfamiliar to me. The Pillsbury product that I am familiar with is the Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread and Muffin Mix. On the side panel of the box is the best approximation of my mom’s original recipe. In fact they produced three spin off quick breads from her recipe. As I understand it, the cinnamon swirl is the most popular. Thank you for your notation of my mother’s cake. She would be so pleased to know her recipe still lives on.

    • November 17, 2013 at 9:00 pm #

      Hi Carole! I am always so thrilled to hear from the relatives of Bake-Off winners. I remember making your mom’s recipe and it was wonderful. The other two spin-off products you mentioned are no longer in production. Many of the products used in past Bake-Off’s are no longer available, although sometimes Pillsbury will remake the recipe for today’s use, such as the popular Tunnel-of-Fudge Cake. Thank you so much for writing. It must have been fun growing up in your mom’s kitchen!

  8. October 23, 2019 at 7:53 pm #

    My mom’s beautiful Butterscotch Rum Ripple cake is on the cover! She won a range and stand-up mixer (the mixer is still in use!) As she tells it, her cake was mistakenly put on the cover. There was a short-lived box mix as well.

    • October 25, 2019 at 10:44 pm #

      Thank you for that wonderful story, Jen. How great that the mixer is still in use! Thanks for taking the time to share. Your mom’s cake sounds delicious. Great title!

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