At Magnolia, we love to celebrate food—the kind that’s made right in your own home, filled with story, tradition, and the joy that comes from time spent in the kitchen with people you love. This inspired us to host our first-ever Silos Baking Competition right here in Waco, Texas!
We invited six bakers from all over the country to come compete for a chance to win $25,000 and have their baked treat featured on our summer menu at Silos Baking Co. Less than two months leading up to competition day, our team designed and built a full kitchen set beneath our Historic Barn, including everything from ovens to ingredients. To add to the fun, we filmed the whole thing for Magnolia Network—which you can now stream using your discovery+ subscription or catch on TV.
p.s. If you don’t want any spoilers, we recommend watching the competition now before you keep reading—because we’re about to share the winning treat and the baker behind it.
Cue the drumroll for the winning pair from our first Silos Baking Competition…
Meet Annie Paul and her Summer Berry Bar!
From Zeeland, Michigan, Annie currently lives on a homestead with her husband Joe and daughter Etta (with a baby sister coming soon!). We sat down with Annie to chat about her backstory, what competition day was like, and how she hopes to use the reward money to help aspiring bakers.
Annie’s baking journey started when she was just seven years old. Like most kids, she had a major sweet tooth and loved sneaking in bites of cookie dough or licking batter off the beater. She begged her parents for an Easy-Bake Oven, but instead of using their money to buy one, they pointed her to the real thing.
As Annie’s love for all things sweet grew, she became a regular at a local pastry shop. She was there so often that finally, when she was 14, one of the workers asked her if she’d like to interview for a job. She was nervous, but said yes and got the gig. Once Annie was in the shop, there was no going back—her curiosity was sparked.
“I worked the counter, sliced and bagged bread, and helped with customers,” Annie said. “I didn’t do much actual baking there, but I was always peeking in the back trying to see what they were doing.”
Over the years, Annie discovered how baking made her and the people she served come alive. Time in the kitchen helped her process the good and hard days, and the satisfaction of watching her creations bring smiles to people’s faces was priceless.
“You start with flour and sugar and butter, and end up with something flaky and delicious,” Annie said. “It’s super rewarding and brings people joy.”
Fast forward to 2020, when Annie was pregnant and Joe outfitted one of the barns on their homestead into a licensed kitchen. After Etta was born, Annie got back into baking, creating homemade goods for wholesale accounts while still adjusting to being a full-time mom.
“The rhythm I have now is similar to when Etta was born,” Annie said. “I’m up in the middle of the night baking or doing stuff during nap time. Joe and Etta are so supportive—coming into the kitchen to wash dishes or bring me coffee.”
Last summer, Annie and Etta spent a lot of time picking strawberries—a time that was therapeutic and freeing for both of them. She tinkered around with a strawberry bar recipe, with Joe taste-testing along the way.
When Magnolia announced the Silos Baking Competition in early 2021 and asked for submissions, Annie thought back to that local patch, picking fruit with her daughter—and that buttery, sweet strawberry bar.
Annie applied for the competition on a whim and submitted her berry bar recipe, shocked to be chosen as a finalist. The idea of baking on camera in front of many people intimidated her. But with her family in tow, Annie came to Waco and embraced the challenge.
“I was completely out of my comfort zone,” Annie said. “But once I got on set, I just took a deep breath and got in the zone. I forgot about everything going on around me and just had fun.”
As the cool, spring morning warmed into a hot Texas afternoon during their allotted 3-hour baking time, some of the contestants had to adjust recipes on the fly or even start over. Annie knew she needed time to chill her brown butter shortbread crust, so do-overs weren’t an option if things went awry.
“I felt the pressure because I knew I only had one shot to get this right,” Annie said.
And she did! After the judges raved about her Summer Berry Bar, Annie was announced the winner.
Paying it Forward
But the greatest reward for Annie wasn’t just winning—it was anticipating all the ways she hopes to use the $25,000 to impact more lives, the way baking impacted hers at 14.
“I was given a ton of opportunities growing up, and I want to use the money to pay it forward,” Annie said. “I have one high school girl who works for me in the summers, and I’d love to be able to expand and hire more young kids and teach them.”
To sweeten your next trip to Waco, come try Annie’s Summer Berry Bar at Silos Baking Co.—available only for a limited time. We can’t wait for you to get a taste of this winning treat!