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Merry Christmas from 2 Chicks!

24 Dec

Both Fondant and Frosting Chick would like to wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

We’ve both had some challenges this past year, as we’re sure you all have had.  Here’s hoping that everything in all of our lives get back on track, and we can get back to the business of posting stories and pictures of our cake creations.

For me, my challenges this year had to do with my health.  I once considered myself to the healthiest fat smoker I know.  That all came to a screeching halt in October when I had to have a heart stent put in and was diagnosed Type 2 diabetic.  I’m now a former smoker, 30 lbs lighter, and still have a way to go.  For any of our readers out there facing health issues, do everything you can to get healthy.  We all have someone who loves and needs us, and that is worth sticking around and getting healthy for.

Happy Holidays,

Frosting Chick

So, whatcha,whatcha, whatcha want? Whatcha want?

16 Oct

Those words alone tell me the Beastie Boys either have family who decorates cakes, or have at one time themselves. The worst thing you can tell us decorators is “I don’t know” when it comes to what you want your cake to look like. Sometimes, I can pull it off, and other times, well, you’ll see…

First up, the dreaded camouflage graduation cake, with absolutely nothing to distinguish it as such. The grad wanted it camouflage with her school colors, I believe red and white (don’t flog me Fondant chick, I’m not familiar with your local school colors!), then with black as a third color and that’s all. So I ask, “what type of camo? The round blotchy type or the long streaky type?” “I don’t know, do what you want”. Sigh.

I decide to do the round/blotchy type, since I figure I can airbrush the camo. WRONG! Maybe it was having to deal with white as a primary color, but it started to go bad quickly (blow over and stencils sticking to the frosting), and I had no choice but to incorporate fondant for the black element. Thanks Fondant chick, it won’t be the first time you save the day! The grad was happy, but I was not. Lesson learned; there’s a fine line between camouflage and cow print, and fondant covers a multitude of sins.

Next, a birthday cake for a co-workers Mother-in-law’s 85th birthday. The actual ‘customer’ was the birthday girls’ son that lives in Texas, so it was my first long distance transaction! As we talked, we decided to go classic, some scroll work, etc… and I price the cake at $40 (16 inch round white 4 layer cake) and he said “Ohh this is gonna be fancy for $40. What kind of fruit filling will it have?” Sigh. I imagine this gentleman doesn’t spend much time perusing cake sites or local bakeries, but it also appears that he doesn’t watch a whole lot of cake shows either (bonus, no tv expectations!), so I reassure him that the birthday girl will be pleased, and ONLY because I have extra berry compote in the fridge that I really needed to find a reason to use before I found a reason to eat it, I didn’t haggle on the price. After talking with my co-worker (Texas’s sister-in-law) we went with a floral theme (she was leaning towards a basket weave design with frondant and frosting flowers, I was leaning towards not giving this cake away). In the end, Betty and the family were pleased and I received a lovely e-mail from the gentleman in Texas telling me to cash the check, the cake was delicious!  The next working day, I heard from several co-workers on how happy my co-workers’ family was with the cake (insert ego boost here). Unfortunately, this is the cake where I learned that my ‘cake ‘fridge’ was going on the fritz, and the frosting didn’t want to crust. Humidity? Who knows?

This next cake comes with a disclaimer. It was for my sons’ 8th birthday, and he has ADHD. Which means he changes his mind on what he wants for a birthday cake about every day or so for the 2 weeks leading up to the date. What started out as a ninja theme eventually turned into robots & army men. Sigh.

These last two cakes broke the trend of “I don’t know”.

A friend of mine celebrates ‘half’ birthdays. Her sons’ birthday is in February, we’re in Ohio, and that’s no fun, so he has a party in the summer, exactly 6 months out from his birth date. This year, he had pigs in the local county fair, and would be spending his half birthday in the stalls, caring for his pigs, so mama wanted a strawberry pig cake with a blue ribbon.

The other (snotty) boys who were there wanted to know why Ayden gets a half birthday party, and mama said “Oh, your mom doesn’t do this for you?” and turned on her spiked heals and walked away. Bonus, dad (ex-hubby) hates the concept of half birthdays, so I would have done this one for free.

Ok, cakers, here’s your challenge. Incorporate the following in a birthday cake. Music, religion, family and the birthday girls’ favorite foods; green beans, pie crust (not pie, just the crust) and breakfast cereal. G’head, I dare ya. And if you do, please submit a pic, we’d LOVE to see it!

A co-worker came to me with an order for her own birthday cake. You’d have to know Tonya to understand, and if I go into it, this post will turn into a 2-parter, I don’t know if I have the energy for it these days, and that in itself is another post. Back to the cake. She wanted a square cake with “Happy Birthday” on it, and in each corner of the cake, she wanted representations of the afore mentioned interests. She really wanted it to be ‘her’, and she was trusting me. Sigh. The only reason for the sigh here is that I know A LOT of people are going to see this cake or pictures of it for a long time, so it better be “Tonya”. Again, it’s the way Tonya is.

*quick background story. Tonya is African American, and you’ll hear her occasionally humming at work, but she’ll never belt out a tune for us, even though she makes recordings with her church choir. I’ve teased her for years that there are 2 things I’m jealous of  that black women do well, sing and wear hats. You can’t deny it. It’s just the way it is. Unless you are a member of the Royal Family or at the Kentucky Derby, white chicks can’t wear hats.  When I got married 9 years ago, Tonya brought her mother, in a stunning hat. Check out the representations of Tonya and her mama on the cake. Fondant chick to the rescue again!

*special thanks to all of my peeps who gave me suggestions for religious representations, I wouldn’t have come up with the crown of thorns without you!  And thanks for the reassurance that I wouldn’t burst into flames making a fondant Bible replica.

I’m still trying to use fondant, but as you can see, I use it sparingly. I don’t have the like for it that others do. As it stands, I’ll use it for accent pieces, but until I get off my hiney and slap some on the cakes dummies I have laying around, don’t look for full fondant cakes from me any time soon. My niece wanted me to teach her a few things about decorating cakes this summer, so I had her come over and we made a cake for her moms’ birthday. My sister-in-law has collected cow stuff for forever, so the obvious choice is a cow print cake. So, to give my niece some real hands-on work with this cake, I airbrushed the cow print and my niece broke out the fondant and made the letters for “Happy birthday”.  I was so happy with the airbrushing, that I broke out more fondant and wrapped the border of the cake board.   Well, my brother isn’t as slick as the average bear, and managed to blow the surprise cake delivery. In the end it was good, she loved the cake, and I learned yet another lesson; make sure all bits of fondant are off of your slice of cake. It’s like finding chewing gum in a piece of cake. Yuck.

So please, please know what you want your cake to look like.  An honest decorator will tell you what they absolutely know they can and cannot do for your cake.  Talk to them, exchange ideas and methods, and you and your decorator will not be dissappointed.  And give us more than a weeks’ notice, will ya?  Now, if you’ll excuse me, my lower back has a date with the heating pad…

The ‘reality’ of cake…..

19 Jul

This posting is off of the beaten path for this blog.  Oh, and to clarify, this is just Frosting Chick’s opinions.  In fact, Fondant Chick may or may not have an opinion of this, I’m not sure.  She’s been on vacation and we haven’t had a chance to chat yet.  Anyway, on with my gripe.

Have you seen any of the new ‘reality’ cake shows popping up everywhere on t.v.?  DC Cupcakes, The Bakery Bunch, etc….  As a home baker, these shows are frustrating beyond belief.  First, a disclaimer…

I do not own, operate, or even participate in any kind of commercial bakery or reality show.  I like decorating cakes.  I like trying to do things out of frosting that I see on shows that say you can only do it in fondant.  I like pushing myself and seeing what kind of ideas I can come up with.  I like making cakes for folks who can’t afford $5/slice for an original cake.  I can’t be creative at the $ job, so I get to be creative in  my cake room.

Ok, so on with the gripe.

“The Bakery Bunch” on TLC.  A couple runs a California bakery while raising their 4 1/2 year old triplets.  WTF?  Are you serious?    What small biz baker, in their right mind, would convince a bride that instead of the cupcakes the bride wants, that her bakery will do 145 FONDANT COVERED MINI CAKES??????  All the while the hubby is bumbling around, taking care of the kids and the dogs (why do people who are overwhelmed by kids think it’s a great idea to throw pets in the mix, didn’t ya’ll learn anything from Kate Gosselin?)   Are you freakin’ serious?  And then pisses and moans that she got 18 hours sleep in 4/5 days, and had a LOT of over-time with the employees.  Well, hell yeah you did.  YOU decided to convince someone that the 145 cupcakes they wanted wouldn’t do, and then talked them into fondant covered mini-cakes, which is a helluva lot more work, and then didn’t plan accordingly.  Don’t get me started on the use of fabric ribbon…  And also, you decide to do this the week one of your children is scheduled for surgery?????  Oh, and then you also take  2 of your 4 1/2 year olds to the bakery so you can have some time together, and they can make a get well cake for their brother (insert messy/chaotic scene here).  And then you’re exhausted at the end of the week?  Really?  Maybe it’s just me….  Oh, a suggestion for the biz owner; keep the hubby as a supply runner only.  Anyone who takes on more orders for an already over-scheduled bakery without checking has no business taking orders.

“DC Cupcakes” on TLC.  I was really interested in this show via the promo’s.  I gotta hand it to anyone who dumps their corporate jobs to strike out on their own.  I liked the fact that they showed some stumbling and bumbling, cocoa flying out of a mixer, and the usual/unusual fumbling that comes with running a commercial kitchen.  Sigh, then the usual crap begins.

I watched the episode where the girls took on a cupcake job for a local dog shelter.  Wonderful charity and I give the girls props for volunteering.  Then “my” problems begin.   Neither of these girls have any idea of how to build the structure for the life sized dog made of cupcakes.  They call in an artist/friend, who gets the structure made out of chicken wire.  Then they fill it with newspaper and spray foam that looks like it’s made for home improvement projects.  NOT STURDY!  They didn’t show if/how they secured the structure to the board, but by the end, the dog had a mean looking lean.  Too many mini cupcakes on a structure made of chicken wire.  I’m just sayin’…  Then they bring in “Mommy” and her dog Poochie.  Into the bakery!  Poochie is not a trained dog, and any kind of canine chaos you can imagine ensues.  Then Mommy brings Poochie to watch the girls load this huge cupcake dog into the delivery vehicle, and of course, Poochie jumps right on in.  Um, HELLO!  Don’t call to Poochie in a high pitched voice while you’re loading hundreds of cupcakes into an SUV.  My next issue.  Only 3 people in the bakery, the 2 owners and 1 employee, know how to do their “signature swirl” for frosting their cupcakes.  Really?  You have customers lined up for up to an hour to buy your goods, and only three of you know how to produce the final product?  Me thinks you should start your interviews with a piping bag and a few cupcakes, to get a feel for your prospectvie employees.

“Cake Boss” on TLC (seeing a theme here?  Maybe all of those critics of TLC/Jon & Kate + 8 are on to something….)

I like Buddy.  I really do.  I like that he tries to make the cakes as close to 100% edible as possible, and doesn’t use a lot of styrofoam like some baker in Baltimore we all know and love.  My problem is the term “edible”.  Has anyone eaten a fondant covered hunk of cereal treats?  Or piping gel? Yuk.  Everytime I see these materials used, I just want to gag.  And if I have to see the employee’s of Carlo’s Bakery go down a flight of stairs with a cake instead of using the elevator they seem to forget we have seen, well, it makes me angry.  I understand that there is pressure for some ‘excitement’ and all, but we don’t watch the show for the train wrecks.  We watch to see the artistry that we know Buddy has.  He has some mad piping skills that he doesn’t get to use that often, but man, when he does, it’s heaven.   Maybe some of that will change when they move to their bigger facility.  And maybe I won’t get the urge to slap his sister Mary as often.  I’m sorry, but if my sister (or anyone) tosses a cake on the floor to get my attention, she’s wearing the damn thing home.

*Whew*, ok, I think I’m done kvetching…  If the scenarios I described above are all scripted for “good t.v.”, I’ve got news for TLC, it’s NOT good t.v.  These shows make these professionals look like morons.  I admit, I have been behind the 8 ball many a time, due to my inexperience of time management (you try holding down a full time job and doing cakes), and there hasn’t been one cake I’ve done where I haven’t learned something.  And yes, I don’t have the pressure of making a t.v. show, but damn, TLC, let these folks do their craft and show us the beauty of their edible art.  It’s really all I ask.  I’m going back to watching cake competition shows only.  At least on those, if the cake falls, it’s not for the sake of ratings.

Show some cake love…..

7 Apr

Trust me, if you have watched any number of cake challenges on Food Network, you’ve seen Mary’s work.  Such a tragic event to happen to them, and right as wedding season approaches.  I can appreciate the hard work that went into building their bakery, and the heartache must be devastating.  So help a cake sista out, wontcha?  Buy a shirt, slip ’em $10, whatever you can do.  Let’s help them help their employees until they can get back on their feet.

A Tale of Three Cookie Sheets

21 Mar

Recently, hubby and I trekked to the big city for a cheapo dinner (his favorite kind) and he surprised me by purchasing a chocolate chip cookie for me whilst I was making the obligatory potty stop before the trek back to the wilderness. (So much for sugar detox, right?) I could have looked past the milk chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet, but Lord, I’ll never forgive the preservatives in those “fresh baked” dailies. It must be bad if I can taste it because unnatural, preserved beyond eternity doesn’t usually bother me at all. I’m just in it for the sugar buzz.

However, had it not been for the laughably bad commercially sold cookie that is marketed as “fresh baked daily,” I never would have been in the mood for a real chocolate chip cookie. Thanks or blame? You decide.

Having nothing better to do, okay- that I wanted to do, I cooked up a scientific experiment.

For my little foray into the scientific world, I used the exact same recipe but 3 different sheet pans/cookie sheets. One is the run of the mill jelly roll pan, one an airbake (which may or may not be a copyrighted term) type, and the last one a non-stick airbake pan. No, I don’t know why I have 3 different cookie sheets in my kitchen. It’s a recent development. I decided to not ask why, but just accept them for who/what they are.

This recipe is for a chewy cookie and experience with it has taught me that if you bake them until they look like all other cookies (that is, nice and brown), they will be as hard as your husband’s head when he thinks mixing your pink shirt with his tighty whities is a stellar way to save time and energy. Each batch of cookies was baked for the exact same time.

First up: the regular airbake pan.

These had to cool longer than usual in order to get them off the sheet in one piece. I assume this is because the pan retains heat longer? Good to know.

Next: the non-stick air bake pan:

As you can see, they are puffier than the other batch. However, they soon deflated to look like all the rest.

Lastly, the jelly roll pan:

I baked them for the same amount of time as the other pans even though (when I’m not experimenting so as to eat cookies without guilt) I normally bake them a minute or two longer. These look under-done. In fact, they looked under-cooked for a full 24 hours. They even tasted a bit like it. Not enough to keep away the chow hounds, but still.

For the last trip through the oven, I used the regular airbake pan again but this time I left them in the oven until they looked like cookies are supposed to look when they are done. They weren’t nearly as soft, yet they never reached the rock solid stage they do when I’ve cooked them for the full time with the jelly roll pan. Still edible, but not as yummy.  At least, not as yummy for those of us who like our cookies chewy.

Side by side comparison in the same order as baked:

Left to right: regular airbake, non-stick airbake, jelly roll pan

Again, left to right: regular airbake, non-stick airbake, jelly roll pan

Once more for the folks with short-term memory loss, left to right: regular airbake, non-stick airbake, jelly roll pan

Below is the last batch that I baked until brown. “How dry I am! How dry I am!”

What, you might ask, did I learn from this experiment? Nada dang thing. Except my cookie recipe is soooo much better than the ones for 2 bucks at that one restaurant. You know, the one with the subs. They should stick to bread and meat. 

Clean up volunteers get a free cookie!

Blech! I now officially hate shaped pans!

6 Mar

Hello all, Frosting chick here.  As you may or may not have gathered by now, I’m not a big user or fan of shaped pans.  I guess they kind of come in handy, as far as a decorating guide, especially when making trade marked characters, but over all, I’m a carving kind of girl.  That got reaffirmed recently, when I had an order for a doll cake.  You know the ones, the cake part is shaped like a ball gown, and folks usually use some cheap/chintzy doll picks for the rest of the babe.  Well, first of all, I hate the picks.  I like using the full bodied doll.  Now, with my extensive (read: ONE doll cake) experience, I thought I should give the shaped pan a try.  I’ve had it for almost a year now, and finally got an order for a doll cake, so what the heck?  If I had to choose one word for the experience, it would be (#)@&*#$(*&%)#(*(*@!!!!! screamed loudly at this miserable failure.  I’m not denying that there  could be some operator error here, but damn, it shouldn’t be this bad!

Now, this is after an HOUR of baking.  Yes, an hour.  Used my trusty cake tester, it came out clean.  How could I have misread a thin metal wire that gets stuck into cake? “Impossible!” I say, but apparently not.  I sat the cake out to cool, walked by about 20 minutes later, and the above is what I found.  CRAP!  what to do!?!?!  I did what any resourceful young lady would do, I slapped that sucker back in the oven.  Alas, ’twas all in vain.  Thought I could at least salvage the cone part, but that’s where all the unbaked batter had sunk to.  It’s currently back in the oven, if nothing else, I can feed the fam some failure cake.  And that was not meant to be either.  I mean, I love my family, couldn’t possibly let them near it, no matter how much the hubby clapped in delight at the thought of cake in the house…

I mean, it’s not like I haven’t done a doll cake before…..

but it was 4 round cakes and carved.  I really REALLY wanted this pan to work.  I hate having something around, especially something cake related, that I’m not using.

Side note:  Fondant chick is at this very moment reading this, grasping at her string of pearls and fanning herself at the blasphemy I’m spewing.  She loves her some shaped pans and has quite the collection.  She could open her own “Shaped Cake Pan” museum (and cakery) with just what she has tucked away in her cake closet (and I’m not sure that the “man of the house” is even aware of her addiction).  She’s got a mean “shaped pan radar”, the likes of which I’ve never seen.  We went yard sale-ing last spring and that girl was on it!  We had pans out the ying-yang.  I frequently receive e-mails (while I’m stuck in my cubicle furiously pounding away on the computer for the man) of her latest pan acquisitions, it’s crazy!

Alright, onward and upward.  I’ve baked new cakes, have them carved, covered, and ready to go. 

Thanks to the powers that be that invented adjustable shelves in a ‘fridge!  Much better than that stupid, ignorant, icky shaped pan.  Which, by the way, while I REALLY wanted to take a hammer to that sucker out in my driveway, I have found it a nice home, with another home baker.  I warned her how much I hate it & the problems I had with it, and she’s graciously accepted it anyway.  Kind of reminds me of the old joke “EW, this is horrible, taste this!”, but instead was more like “Hey, I have this doll pan, and I hate it, want it?” she – “Sure, how much do you want for it?” me – “Just take the damn thing.  It sucks and I don’t like it.”  I guess one cakers hate is another cakers treasure.

So, how about you?  Got any cake horror stories you’d like to share?

PS: Fondant chick and I are heading to the home show tomorrow, will hopefully get to meet Mary Alice and Geof Manthorne from “Ace of Cakes”.  Wish us luck!

Cake Chicks Undercover

21 Sep

Have you ever wondered what a cake decorating contest is like? If you could “hang” with that crowd? If you have a snowball’s chance of competing? So did we. What’s a cake chick with a longing to do? Spy, of course! We’re so good at it, we didn’t even have to lurk around corners to get the story. We walked right in, spoke to people, gawked, took beau coup pictures, and boldly snagged pieces of each cake even though we were supposed to limit ourselves to one. Hey, it’s not my fault they didn’t say that before they started passing the plates!

Here’s the set-up: contestants arrived one hour prior to the competition to set up. They have one hour to finish decorating their partly finished cakes in front of a live audience. And they were definitely live. A little too live at times. Kids, young adults, and way grown people alike were both nervous and excited- too much so at times. While the contestants are decorating, judges interview about their creations. Eek! Go away! They only have an hour!

 After the time allotted has passed, the judges get to work and eat cake while we watch and are served our own pieces. Badda bing, badda boom, winners are announced, and we all go home entertained, full of cake, and a little more educated.

 There you have it. That’s how it works. Satisfied? *Sigh* I thought not. Okay, here’s the whole scoop on this particular contest:

 We arrive at the much disclosed location and pull up to the little booth where they keep the parking attendant hostage. When we fork over our hard-earned-we’ve-got-bills-to-pay five bucks for parking, he sees our swank attire and posh vehicle, takes pity on us, and gives us two free tickets to the event. Score!

 Park the hoopty, walk into the building, and wander around acting like we belong. The contest is being held during a home improvement show so we totally blend in. We look like we drop a hundred grand on a patio, right? Suuurrrre.

 Okay, in our zest and excitement, we’re a lil early for the contest. We get the lay of the land and now the contest starts in….an hour and a half. LOL Hey, at least right outside there’s a horse show of some sort. Let’s go check that out…. Well, city cake chick is not fond of the aroma and country cake chick still can’t stand to see a whip used so let’s not hang here too long. Blah, blah, blah, kill time and check on progress. Nope, zoo dude is still hogging the stage. Lunch? One taco, two drinks, and too much money later, it’s time to check again. Whoo hoo! Snag a couple of seats and wait for the big event to start!

 Waaiit a minute. Where’s the nekked cake? Why are these covered? They look almost done. What’s going on here? Hmmm, guess I should have read the rules a bit closer. I was ready for them to start from baked nekked cake and end with a completed masterpiece. I mean, that’s why I said, “No way am I ready for that” when asked if I was interested in competing. Shoot, had I known all I had to do on site was the actual last hour of decorating any cake I might have tossed my spatula into the ring. Or not. I’m pretty chicken, that’s why I’m a cake chick and not a cake lion or something else equally fierce.

 Cake chicks and cake roosters, there is fondant everywhere! As far as the rolling pin can reach, there is fondant. Out of 5 contestants, there is 1, yes 1, fondant free cake. Here. In middle America. In a town nicknamed Cowlumbus. Fondant. Huh. Whoda thunk it? And not just accents, either. Entire cakes covered. In fondant. I thought for awhile there I’d have to pull my fellow chickie out from under the folding chair where she was rocking herself while in the fetal position. Fondant has officially taken over the world if it’s here.

 Hey, I’m a fondant fan. I’m also a buttercream pipe dreamer. I can eat buttercream literally by the bucket if not stopped but fondant? Yes, I’ll have one piece, please- but only if it’s a kind that tastes good. I’m a wannabe buttercream piper. I’m practicing my skills dreaming that one day a client will ask for an 8 tier wedding cake with royal string work and intricate scrolls and I’ll say with confidence, “I can do that, no problemo.” In the meantime, I fondant. Not that fondant is simple or easy. It’s just a different talent and skill. One I already have. Piping does not come naturally to this cake chick- which makes it all the more exciting to try to conquer.

 Anyway, fondant is definitely here, but there’s some buttercream work, too- along with *gasp* chocolate! Yum, white piped chocolate! *Swoon* Now it’s my partner’s turn to pick me up from the floor. Where I’m crawling towards the table trying to sneak a taste. “Whoa, there, Nelly! Don’t make me harness you and put you in the ring outside!” Alright, alright, I’ll sit back in my chair. For now.

 After we peruse the offerings, the contest starts with minimal fanfare. The crowd quiets for a bit as the work begins- but no for long. Every contestant has their cheering section and some lend quiet support, but others, not so much.

Dispatch Cake Contest supporter compressed

At this point, one of us is sliding in and out amongst the chairs and onlookers taking pictures whilst the other is “standing on ballerina toes trying to see over the heads of the RELATIVES WHO GET TO SEE THESE FOLKS WORK ALL THE FREAKIN’ TIME!!!!!!!!” Ahem. As I said, some were calm and others were not.

 La, la, la, la- contestants are covering cakes with fondant, applying borders, covering cake boards, piping basket weave, etc….etc…etc…. It was difficult to see due to people standing and the set up of the whole shebang. Every 15 minutes or so one of the judges announces the time left. Roughly half-way through, a local reporter/judge talks to each one of the contestants asking about the inspiration for their cakes and each caker’s experience with cake. Near the end, the crowd’s patience is at an end and they start filing by the tables, completely blocking the view of anyone polite enough to stay back and let them work without interference. Argh! A child’s curiosity gets the best of her and I see her reach out and quickly slap a cake. Aaaahhhh! I swear, this next part was pure reflex on my part. I’ve been a parent too long. I should have been given more time off as a parent. You would have done the same, I swear.

 I slapped my fellow caker. Yes, slapped. Reflex, I swear. It was as if I was reaching out to slap that child’s hand away from the cake. At the same time, I gasped, “She’s touching it!” Fortunately, the slap was gentle enough that my bud just said, “what?” like a fellow exasperated mother who’s been interrupted one too many times. Security like people (if you can call people in golf shirts security) quickly set up a barrier and the cake was unharmed. Whew! Disaster averted.

 The whistle blows signaling the end of the allotted time and we are all given one more chance to take pictures and shuffle by the cakes. Contestants cut into their masterpieces and the judging begins. We were, umm, too busy eating cake to watch much of the judging. J Hey, you have to know if it tastes as good as it looks, right? I mean, in the end, cake is for eating.

  How did it taste? Disappointing. Then again, I had pretty high expectations so my disappointment was partly my fault. I was looking at the decorators as semi-gods. Obviously, they were confident enough to enter. If they entered, they must have thought they had a decent chance of winning. Judging by their supporters, other people thought so as well. I naturally assumed a person with such high decorating skills would have equally high baking skills. I mean, it’s cake, right? You eat it. Your family eats it. Your friends eat it. Your coworkers eat it. There must be something extraordinary about it, right? Nope. Box mix, box mix, box mix, box mix, probably altered box mix. Call it fudgy chunky pumpkin whatever. It’s a box mix. Huh. So what’s all fuss about scratch vs. box again? Hey, I like box mixes. I make them a lot. It’s just that I had different expectations. I definitely didn’t expect the chocolate to be burnt, but let’s not point fingers at what I’m sure is already an embarrassing enough situation. Can you imagine when that caker got home with the leftovers and discovered that little oopsie? Oh my!

 Other unexpected discoveries were:

 Wilton boxes. Yep, flimsy as they are, every box I saw was a Wilton.

 Not a Viva paper towel in sight. I guess they all trusted their icing to remain perfect. The paper towels I saw had prints or patterns on them.

 Fondant- the homemade one was okay- tasteless, which can be a good thing. It didn’t compete with the cake or buttercream flavor at all. The stuff that wasn’t homemade and that was served was…weird. Very stretchy. The person who flavored their fondant with pumpkin pie type spices- don’t do that. Weird and ick, ick and weird.

 Square corners with ripped fondant. As we all know, that’s what décor is for, right?

 Crooked borders

 Not an airbrush in sight, but there was a can of Wilton spray color involved.

 One person out of 5 wore gloves. None had their hair covered. In fact, one long haired contestant didn’t even pull the hair back in a ponytail. Not all wore aprons.

 The buttercream layer under the fondant was maybe 1/8” thick. Mine is closer to ¼”

  Just interesting observations. Observations that make me think I’m too hard on myself and perhaps I’m ready to play with big guys. Or maybe the medium guys.

 In the end, the little details didn’t seem to matter that much. As someone said to me, “You could have Jesus spinning on top of a pumpkin, and the ‘shoe would still win.” Sorry if that offends anyone, but there’s a truth to it.

Dispatch Cake Contest 'shoe compressed

The horseshoe stadium wins every time. Something to remember, no? I’m not saying she didn’t deserve the win, not at all. She gave a terrific explanation of her inspiration for her cake and she does a mean, fast, straight basket weave, after all.

 Check out the detail on this apple:

Dispatch Cake Contest apple compressed

“Gorgeous!” (must be said in a certain tone of voice with jazz hands) Again, to be fair, the judges were not cakers. Not that I’m aware of, anyway. Only cakers truly know the exquisiteness of a well turned out shoe:

Dispatch Cake Contest william's shoe compressed

or perfectly executed cutey pie pumpkins:

Dispatch Cake Contest baby pumpkins compressed

or the real difficulties of a chocolate collar (even if the decorator says it’s easy):

Dispatch Cake Contest chocolate collar compressed

I guess I just wanted all the cakes to win or something. Each one had their own specialness to it. Each stood on its own as a work of edible art. But dang, did you have to go all ‘shoe on them??? LOL

So, judge for yourself. I know you can’t taste them so you’ll just have to go on decorating skill alone. Which one would you have chosen?

Dispatch Cake Contest 091 'shoe cake done compressed

Dispatch Cake Contest 090 pumpkin and stump compressed

Dispatch Cake Contest 074 chocolate cake compressed

Dispatch Cake Contest 092 pumpkin house compressed

Dispatch Cake Contest 093 square cake compressed


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