Time for another trip down memory lane to the 2010 El Paso County Fair last July and my entry into it's cake decorating competition.
I stumbled upon their contest quite by accident and decided to enter. There were three divisions in the contest. They were wedding, gingerbread house or novelty cakes. I entered a novelty cake; my first. The theme for the fair was "Catch the Spirit of Tradititon" and the logo featured a catchers' mitt and baseball. I decided to put that idea right into cake.
The rules stated that dummy cakes could be used; in fact they encouraged it, since the cakes would be on display for 10 days. Up until then, I hadn't used dummy cakes at all. My "best-cake-husband-ever", Dennis, helped my by picking up a sheet of 2" thick styrofoam and cutting 2 10" x 10" squares for me to stack and cover in fondant as my base. I covered it in green fondant and sponged on multiple shades of green royal icing for a grassy effect. I put a baseball diamond on top; added a border of gumpaste peanuts and the words "Take me out to fair" on the sides...
On to the best, most fun part...the glove and ball...for the glove, I started with pound cake baked in a 3-D heart shaped pan* and carved it into a glove, using a friend's glove as a guide. As a way to preserve it, I experimented by brushing it with 3 coats of watered down school glue (like you'd use for decoupage) and it actually worked!
I delivered the cake to the fairgrounds the day before the opening. Sadly, there were no other decorated cakes there and there was only about a half hour left to drop stuff off. They had no idea what to do with it and initially wanted me to wrap it in plastic like the other pantry entries. I explained that I had followed the rules and used dummies so there was no risk of spoilage so they decided to let it go uncovered but did say that it would probably be a wreck by the time I picked it up.
BCHE (best-cake-husband-ever) and I went to the fair the folloing weekend to check out the results. We get there and there are only two other decorated cakes, for a total of three cakes, each in a different division; mine, the novelty, a wedding cake, and one decorated by a child. There were no results on them like there were on the other entries so we thought they had decided not to award prizes. As much as I enjoyed doing the cake, I enter competitions for the competition so I was pretty disappointed in the whole thing. On the plus side, I did meet my new BFF, the cutest little pig you ever did see!
I went to pick up my cake on the allotted day and lo and behold...all three cakes had a 1st place ribbon! I collected my prize for "winning" first place...want to know what it was? Keep in mind that this is a small county fair...and no one really enters for the prize money...ready? It was $4...yep four dollars, no missing zeros there. I had to laugh!
On my way back to the car with my cake, I had so many people stop me to tell me how much they enjoyed it. One woman who has been involved with the fair for some time said they have in the past had more cakes entered but they've never had anything like mine. Apparently, it was quite a hit. She said the children, especially, loved it. It pleased me immensely to know that my cake had made people happy. That's why I decorate cakes!
*Note about that heart shaped pan...I found it at a yard sale, it's a discontinued Wilton character pan and I paid $2 for it. I've used it as a heart, made a chocolate covered strawberry with it and carved it into a baseball glove. I'd say that a pretty good investment of my $2!
As always, thanks for reading! The next competition I entered was the 2010 Colorado State Fair...more on that next time!