The 2011 Competition took place on Monday, April 11, 2011 at the Lowes Philadelphia Hotel and benefited City of Hope; a leader in Cancer Research and Treatment.
There were 40 entries in the 7th Annual Event and included Pastry Chef's from across the area. The theme this year was Historical Romances - Love in Any Age.
Once I knew the theme, I just had to choose a direction and design for my cake. I did some research on the most romantic couples in history and decided on Romeo & Juliet. Once I figured that out, I went through SEVERAL revisions of my design. There were frustrating moments as well as moments of inspiration that had me bursting with excitement and possibilities.
I researched architecture, the foliage of Italy, the clothing of the era, the writing style, and styles of cake that would best convey my vision. I also spent a lot of time pouring over the cake photos from The Oklahoma Sugar Arts Show to see what the masters considered a worthy competition cake. This may have been my first competition, but I really wanted my cake to be on par with the masterpieces created by the top sugar artists in the nation.
It was finally decided that the cake had to have a variety of mediums, needed to show mastery of several different techniques, and it needed to have a LOT of detail. When it was all said and done, I had spent about 2 months doing research as well as prepping detail pieces for my cake, planning, making custom molds, and sculpting.
About a week before the competition, I spent some time creating a new dark chocolate cake recipe and deciding on my flavors of cake to serve the judges and the attendees.
I chose a 2 layer cake. Dark Chocolate Cake & White Almond Sour Cream Cake separated by homemade Raspberry Filling and iced in Chocolate Buttercream. The Dark Chocolate Cake, Raspberry Filling, & the Chocolate Icing are all scratch recipes that I created myself. So it meant a LOT to me that they won!
The design is a table with a cup of coffee and a napkin and a very old, bound manuscript of Romeo & Juliet open to the balcony scene. The idea is that the story is being read and is coming to life in the form of a cake and bursting out of the book. So without boring you with any more details, here are my photos of the cake and some from the event.
I want to add a special note here that my husband, Matt played a HUGE role in my success. He built and stained my custom table. He prepared the framework for the cake so that I could build a tree into the garden tier. And he helped at home A LOT so that I could focus on filling orders and getting ready for the competition. AND THEN, as if that wasn't enough, he helped me on the day of the event by loading, driving, unloading, and serving cake. After it was all done, he helped me get it all home safe and sound and then gave me a back rub. He is an amazing husband and I'm so very proud to have him!
I took this picture from the hallway during the judging when we weren't allowed in the room. The judges did not know who the cakes belonged to so the judging was based completely on taste and talent. It was really nerve wracking to sit out in the hallway and watch. After the event ended a couple of the judges came up to me to congratulate me and tell me that they had judged my cake. It was a very surreal experience and one I'm not sure has totally sunk in yet.
The biggest surprise for me was that I won best tasting. It truly was the icing on my cake last night! Thanks so much to City of Hope, Mark Kingsdorf, Harry Giordano, my husband Matt, and my dear friend Suzy. I feel very blessed!
LET THEM EAT CAKE!
For more photos of the event, cakes from other competitors, and info on the prizes, visit us on facebook!