My step son who is 11 has entered the state fair competition for sculpted cakes! (on styrofoam) He has this idea all mapped out on what he wants to do...I know we aren't suppose to help, but how much help do you suggest I give him? Should I show him how to make little gum paste trees and then have him just do them or what? He is so excited!!!
(the kid can pipe shells and hair pretty good!)
That's so cute! I hope he does really well in the competition!
(Sorry, don't have any advice for you.)
I am trying to set him up that this is fun thing to do and don't expect to win a ribbon...I dont want him to be disapointed if he wins, yet very excited if he does!!
My daughter entered her very first competition at last year's State Fair here in Arizona. She'd never decorated a cake in her life until that one. It was a styrofoam dummy that she designed herself. I showed her how to frost the dummy in buttercream so she practiced that only twice. When it was time to do her cake, she colored the frosting herself, frosted the cake herself, smoothed it herself, put frosting in piping bags and piped borders herself. Then she made fondant figures herself with no help whatsoever from me. She was 13 at the time. And she won a 1st place blue ribbon!
All three of my kids ages, 13, 8 and 8 at the time entered the AZ Cake Show this past February and we only had two practice sessions where I showed them all how to frost the dummy and smooth it. Then they played around with piping different designs and borders, wiped it off and piped them again until they felt comfortable. They've all played with play dough or clay before so it was fairly easy for them to work with fondant to make figures for their cakes. I didn't help one bit with that. My twin 8 yrs olds never decorated a cake in their lives until the ones they did for the cake show. They all won medals with their cakes!
My suggestion would be to first show your son how to do whatever it is you're doing, help guide him, even hold your hand on top of his while he's piping or smoothing or whatever it is. Then let him to it again all by himself while giving him pointers or tips you've learned that you know work for you.
Be sure to check if the rules state anything about being able to reproduce the cake in real cake because sometimes competitions want pictures in progress to show that it can actually be done. ( may be for a more formal competition though)
Hope that helps!