by Linda Cloutier

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sweet Times in the Rockies 2010, Chapter One, The Flower

Last year at this time I was preparing to enter what I considered my first "real" competition. Sweet Times in the Rockies is Colorado's Premier Sugar Art Show; it is put on by the wonderful people at the Colorado Chapter of ICES (International Cake Exploration Societe`). It is held in February in conjunction with the Garden and Home Show at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.

I deliberated for a good long while before deciding to enter (I'm not good enough, I'll make a fool of myself, etc). After reviewing the rules, I realized that I was two months beyond being considered a beginner and had to enter the show as an intermediate decorator. I certainly felt like a beginner (still do, as a matter of fact!) and that made me even more nervous. Ah, well, I've already committed so, onward to inspiration.

Yellow is one of my favorite colors, so I know I want to incorporate yellow into my cake. The show is held close to Valentine's Day so I think some pink will work well with the yellow. I take myself to my local craft store to browse the silk flower aisles. I find an amazing silk magnolia. It's ivory, with soft yellow and pink shading and I love it. I decide to design my cake around this flower. I love it so much, it later becomes my inspiration when I re-decorate my bedroom. Here's a picture of it:

Silk Magnolia

Now, I have no idea if this even remotely resembles a real magnolia, as I've never seen one. I'll call it a "fantasy magnolia", just in case. Re-created in gumpaste, it will sit in glory on top of my tiered cake. I allow myself several weekends to work on it. It's a good thing, too, as it took much trial and error to get all the components figured out and done.  I finally create enough centers and enough ivory petals to assemble several flowers. It's time for color.

Back to the craft store for pearl dust. Pink and yellow. I've never used this stuff before. I had no idea what I was missing! Love it! On my next trip to the store I buy it in every color they have. I enjoyed every minute of shading those flower petals! Here's a picture of the sugar version:

Sugar Magnolia
On my score sheet from the judges, the fabulous and famous Rebecca Sutterby complimented my shading on this flower. How exciting is that? I was so pleased with them, but in hindsight I wish I had known then about steaming my flowers. I didn't do that until my next competition. But, once again, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Thanks for reading. Next up...Sweet Times in the Rockies 2010, Chapter Two, The Cake! 

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