After her dinner date — but before the Herriman High School homecoming dance Saturday — Sage Jensen needs to stop at her grandmother’s house to watch the premiere of “Bake It Like Buddy.”
No, this 16-year-old doesn’t have a teenage obsession.
Sage and her grandmother Debi Jensen, the owner of Swirly Girls Gourmet Bakery in South Jordan, are competing on the first episode of the new show on the Discovery Family channel. Each week it features two teams from family-owned bakeries around the country and stars “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro.
During the princess-themed episode, Debi and Sage — who was 15 when the episode was taped several months ago — battle against another grandmother-granddaughter team from Michigan. The teams have four hours to design, bake and decorate a cake that fits the royal theme.
Valastro and Marissa Lopez, the winner of TLC’s “Next Great Baker,” are the judges and determine which team takes home $1,000, baking supplies and bragging rights.
In subsequent episodes, family teams include mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, cousins, sisters, twins, even best friends.
Debi Jensen can’t divulge who wins the first episode, which airs Saturday, Sept. 8, at 7 p.m. (It repeats at 10 p.m.) But traveling to Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, N.J., was an experience of a lifetime.
“I’ll take it to my grave,” the 66-year-old said during a recent telephone interview. "I couldn’t ask for a better thing to happen than to spend time with my granddaughter on a project like this.”
In 2010, after working for more than 35 years in the food industry — from baking to managing stores in several states — Jensen decided to open her own sweet shop. Swirly Girls is on Daybreak’s SoDa Row, 11248 Kestrel Rise Road, and specializes in custom cakes, brownies, cookies, cake bites and more.
Sage Jensen has been coming to the bakery ever since it opened. Initially, it was to see her paternal grandmother. Later, she starting working around the shop. “Ever since I was little, I knew I wanted to decorate,” she said. “It looked like so much fun.”
When the New York casting agency called, looking for families willing to compete, Sage stepped up her decorating game, getting extra lessons from Swirly Girls’ two full-time decorators, said her grandmother.
“She’s good enough now,” Debi Jensen said, “she takes on some of the orders.”
Just a few weeks ago, when Sage got asked to the homecoming dance, her “Nanni” was thrilled but worried that she might miss the viewing party that same night for family and friends.
“Of course she got asked; she is beautiful,” said her adoring grandmother. “But I’m hoping her date will take her to dinner, then stop right before they go to dance."
For the Jensens, that would be icing on the cake.