Cake eating contest
Craig Reinsheld (center) won the five-layer chocolate cake eating contest at September's first Friday. Credit: Grant Ritchey / Knox Pages

MOUNT VERNON — An eating contest was so sweet a crowd gathered under the September sun to watch eight participants gobble down a piece of five-layer chocolate cake in record time.

Craig Rheinscheld opened the plastic container filled with cake and left the utensils at his side. He didn’t need them.

With cake in his left hand and water in his right, he continued to bite through the five layers. Each time cake covered his face and fingers.

In 82 seconds, Rheinscheld completed the challenge — in impressive fashion.

Rheinscheld didn’t prepare for it, he said, only hearing about the contest via his daughter.

“I just like cake,” he said. “So I gave it a try.”

His plan included making the cake moist, chewing and swallowing as fast as he could.

The cake-eating contest shadowed MTVArts production of Matilda Jr., where a student is forced to eat a ridiculous amount of chocolate cake.

Unfortunately or fortunately, the contestants only had to eat one slice of cake.

The cake, a trade secret from Half Bake Cafe and Catering, is an equal mix of chocolate and buttercream. A single cake takes around two hours to produce.

Half Bake Cafe Navin ‘Chef Nav’ Ajodhya said he could have finished in the top three, adding it should only take around five to six bites to devour a piece

The pieces for the contest weren’t the typical size you’ll find at Half Bake Cafe, Nav said, Contestants ate roughly a slice and a half of chocolate goodness.

The prize for winning such a novel contest?

Two tickets for Matilda Jr. playing at the Knox Memorial Theater on Sept. 15 to 17.

The Life & Culture section is brought to you by Knox Community Hospital.

This independent, local reporting provided by our Report for America Corps members is brought to you in part by the generous support of the Knox County Foundation and Kokosing.

I am a Report For America corps member at Knox Pages. I report on public education in the county as well as workforce development. I first landed at Knox Pages in June 2022.