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Shirley Cromer airbrushes an edible cake ornament at her home on Legion Street in last April. Cromer’s Kahlua Cake Balls were picked as the best item at the 2011 Taste of Chocolate event Saturday. Cromer regularly puts together elaborate cakes despite having no formal training.

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Craig resident Shirley Cromer impresses Taste of Chocolate crowd

Shirley Cromer tends to downplay the notion that she’s a professional baker. “I’ve never taken a class in my life,” Cromer said at her home Monday. “This is all self-taught. “(My education) is mostly looking at pictures or reading how people do things online or watching YouTube. There’s stuff that’s on there that you can watch and you learn from that.”

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