A half-hour into her visit to America's Baking and Sweets Show Saturday at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center, Caryn Doner was still on the hunt for the best red velvet cake.
The Buffalo Grove woman said her ideal would be with the "right amount of chocolate chips and the perfect amount of cream cheese frosting."
Having only stopped at a third of the booths at the trade show so far, her taste buds still had more work ahead.
"I like baking, but I'm just not that good at it," Doner said. "That's why I like when other people make it."
Running through Sunday, the event features purveyors of all kinds of decadence and delectables.
And lucky for the vendors, Saturday's horde came hungry.
"When I start to panic that I'm running out of things, it's a good day," said Ronda Priola, owner of Cocoa Cabana in West Dundee. "I've got my husband coming with reinforcements."
But the three-day event wasn't just for those with a sweet tooth. The show featured a number of demonstrations and appearances by celebrity bakers like Duff "Ace of Cakes" Goldman, Gale Gand and Brian Emmett. Additionally, the more creative visitors could participate in a number of different classes or see demonstrations of some new kitchen gadgets. And there's a family area where youngsters can hone their baking skills.
"Sweets and baked good are comfort foods and a lot of people are looking for comfort these days," said Fedele Naccarato, co-organizer of the show, explaining the uptick in baking popularity. "This is something you can do together as a family too."
Demonstrations were a big draw for attendees Saturday.
Naccarato's business partner Paul Uguccioni said the event is successful because it's more than just an opportunity to snack.
"If they are looking for something new to use or if they're looking for ideas or wanting to learn, we've got it," he said. "The chefs we give them would cost hundreds of dollars to learn and they get it for a fraction."
For vendors like Lisa Aubert of Bartlett's Momma Lisa's Cookies, it's more than just an opportunity to sell sweets also.
"I've been networking with other bakers from the area and talking to other vendors, and that's what I've liked the most about this show," she said.
The show runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday and tickets are available at the door for $16. Seniors get in for $10 while tickets are $6 for students and teachers with valid ID. Children 12 and younger are free.