Hello, hello! This is a super-excited blog post from me as I have just come back from a fantastic weekend in London. Not only did we visit Cake International at the ExCel Arena (my mecca, such a great event!) but we also had a lovely chilled out time visiting some exciting places. I have never been to Southend-on-sea before and although it was a chilly and blustery day, we had a lovely time walking down the promenade, visiting the acquarium (it’s the law, if there is an aqcuarium, we must visit it), enjoying a delicious curry in a hidden gem of a restaurant and generally enjoying some R&R.
I’m no photographer but here are a few of my favourite shots from the day. I loved the atmospheric look of the stranded boats, you can’t beat a bit of jellyfish action and of course, who could resist taking photos when you look like an underwater version of Buzz Lightyear?? Having sharks and piranhas swim right past your face is an amazing experience!
So, onto the event. Cake International, the prestigious show all about cake designs and cake supplies, live demonstrations and famous names in the industry, all under one roof. The show is normally held at the NEC in Birmingham each November but this year is the first year it was held at a second venue earlier in the year, the ExCel Arena in London’s Docklands.
I normally try to attend the show as a visitor, browsing, shopping and admiring (please see here, here and here), but this time, I decided to enter a design myself. I have never entered a cake into a competition before so I was very nervous about it all. I wanted to create a design that was fresh and modern, interesting and pretty, and also something that couples would actually order, as well as something that demonstrated a range of skills to the judges.
After a lot of thinking, I decided to go for a classic four tiered cake but with a twist in that the base tier would be a different shape. I also loved the idea of using fresh, Springtime colours and a fabric theme. I love fabric-inspired details on cakes and felt that this was a great way to add lots of exciting details that all tied together.
This was my initial design sketch:
As I thought more about the design and planned how it would all tie together, I did change a few details but overall, the key elements remained the same. Here are a few cheeky shots of the cake being constructed in my studio:
Here is the cake in its initial stages of decoration, including the full ruffled roses and stitching details on the corset back:
And so, after many, many hours of creating flowers and other details, here is the finished cake!
So, off we went on the long journey to London, the cake carefully packed in the boot. the cake had to be set up before 9.15 am on the Friday morning so we stayed over on the Thursday night, ready for our early start. I didn’t really want to see what others had created until the judges had made their decision (I find it’s nice just to be happy with your own work, rather than panic over others’ designs and ideas) so we made sure we got to the venue as early as possible. I registered my entry (I was cake G09), dropped my baby off and went off to the seaside, fingers firmly crossed but trying not to think about the judging process.
The judging took place during the Friday and the results were announced to Cake International attendees later on on the Friday afternoon, so when Saturday morning arrived, we knew my mark woudl be there for all to see. we arrived pretty much as the doors were opening and, after taking a few deep breaths, we made a beeline for the back of the room, where my cake was sitting. As we neared the table, we could see a little card sign next to it so we knew I’d been awarded something, yay…but what?
That’s right, I was awarded silver!!! We were absolutely over the moon, it was a really emotional moment! I am just so pleased that the judges appreciated my design style and attention to detail. And for a bit of extra celebratory self-indulgence, here’s a cheeky little close up of my award:
What a fantastic result! I had hoped for somethign but this was just amazing! It means though that I really have the bug now as as stressful and emotional as it is to enter a cake competition, it is also incredibly exciting and well worth it 🙂
I will be blogging about the other entries at Cake International London later on during the week, including some outstanding wedding cake designs and some absolutely incredible carved cakes. until next time!