by Linda Cloutier

Friday, April 8, 2011

Online Contest Update

As I stated a couple of posts ago, I really don't like online cake decorating contests. Even so, I decided to enter this cake into a contest featuring gumpaste flowers...

The contest was on a social networking site specifically for cake decorators. The format is that the photos are posted and site members vote for their favorites. After a pre-determined amount of time, the site mods cull the top ten vote getters for presentation to the judges, who then choose the winners.   

The top 10 vote getters were just posted. You can see them here.

As you can see, my cake didn't make the top 10. It did get several votes ("likes"). It also got several "favorites" (a favorite is when a member saves your picture for inspiration) and some lovely comments. Coming from fellow cake decorators, the favorites and comments are highly flattering and mean so much more to me than winning!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Wilton Cake Decorating Challenge, October 2010

My former Wilton instructor hosted another cake decorating challenge at Michael's in October, 2010. The cakes needed to be at minimum two tiers and "seasonal in design (specifically Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukah, or Christmas)". Cakes could be covered in icing and/or fondant ahead of time and up to 50% of the decorations could be made in advance. 

I decided to do a haunted pumpkin patch. In advance, I made gumpaste pumpkins, a trick or treat bag, witch's hat, a broom...and an over-sized spider...all really fun to make!

In addition, I made a pumpkin carved out of cake and covered in orange fondant for the top.

Making the deep purple for the night-time background was no easy task! Purple is a notoriously difficult color to work with. I used a lot of violet food coloring and added a very small amount of royal blue. Since purple also fades very quickly, I waited until the day before the challenge to color it and kept it in a ziploc bag wrapped in a dishtowel to keep it away from light. I covered the cake the morning of the competition. I also made and colored all my buttercream the day before. The black buttercream was even harder to make than the purple fondant!

I packed up all my stuff and hauled it, along wih the cake, to Michael's. We had an hour and a half to decorate our cakes on-site. I did all the piping, and hand cut my ghosts and bats and cut out my full moon while there. It was so much fun assembling this cake! I especially enjoyed piping the tree and the fence.

The concept for the cake was that a trick or treater (costumed as a witch, of course) was walking by the pumkin patch and was frightened away, dropping parts of her costume as she went.

There were four of us competeing and from what I understand, it was a really close can see's the other finished cakes....they're all great!

Soooo....guess which one won?

Yep, mine! Both judges' and customer favorite, thanks to all my friends who came out to vote. The feedback that I got was about the vibrant colors and neatness of execution. That's the good news...the bad news is that I've been banned from future challenges as a two-time winner. OK, not BANNED, but I can't enter again. I may be able to help with judging but I do know that I'll definitely be at future challenges to cast my vote for my favorite cake!

I had a great day. I won great prizes. People enjoyed my work. AND my cake lasted through Halloween without fading! What more can a caker ask for?