SI Swim Search Models Compete in the First SI Swimsuit Cake Decorating Challenge

Let them eat cake...with Baileys!

We already know that SI Swim Search models are capable of incredible things. But do they have the skills to decorate a cake like a pro? Well, we decided to find out by hosting the first SI Swim Search Cake Decorating Challenge at the Hard Rock Atlantic City.

Kathy Jacobs hosted the competition that threw 2021 SI Swim Search models Alex Aust, Gabriella Halikas, Katie Austin and Ally Courtnall into the wild world of fondant. The women each had 45 minutes to decorate a two-tier vanilla cake. The creations would be judged by the hotel’s executive chef, Thaddeus Dubois; his assistant, Carlos Hernandez Flores; 2019 SI Swimsuit cover model Camille Kostek and Jacobs.

Dubois gave a quick lesson before the competition on how to use some essential tools like a turntable, offset spatula and bench scraper for the sides of the cake. He also showed how to do two types of piping: a shell border and a rope. Other tips included adding Baileys to the icing for a boost in flavor (plus, it gives you a smooth buttercream that’s ideal for piping) and to put a lot of frosting on and then take a lot off.

After the lesson, the women were off to decorate. At the end of the 45 minutes, they would be judged on piping skills, overall presentation and creative interpretation of the summer theme.

Aust, a professional lacrosse player and fitness instructor, decided to go with a “sweet summer surprise” happiness vibe. She added elements of sunshine and the ocean with beach waves on the first tier. Halikas, a model and content creator, went with a sun using orange squiggles and a blue sky that she described as “extra and bold, which is what I think of myself.” Austin, a fitness personality and sports host, dubbed hers “Hidden Gem” and went with pearl-like decorations around the edge. And Courtnall, an athlete turned model, opted for a sweet sunset theme complete with clouds, flowers and tropical vibes. She even made her own custom icing colors unlike the other women.

So, who took the cake? After a taste test and deliberation, the judges decided Aust was the winner, thanks to the balanced Baileys taste and consistency of the piping. Her prize? A two-night stay at the Atlantic City property, including a $250 spa certificate and a dining credit.

“I cannot believe I just won the first-ever SI Swimsuit Cake Decorating competition,” Aust said. “I had so much fun today, and I cannot wait to come back to the Hard Rock and enjoy all of these incredible amenities. But it’s not easy to decorate a cake.”

Jordi Lippe-McGraw


Jordi Lippe-McGraw is a Contributing Editor for SI Swimsuit covering all things lifestyle from travel and beauty to entertainment and wellness. Over her nearly 15-year-long journalism career, her work has appeared in the New York Times, WSJ Magazine, Forbes, and more. Plus, she’s appeared on TV shows such as Wendy Williams, TODAY, E!, and MSNBC for her expertise. Jordi's personal passion for travel has brought her to over 50 countries on all 7 continents, including Antarctica at 5 months pregnant. She's also an avid penguin and truffle lover.