Anyone have any suggestions for what judges look for in contests? Especially those that are particularly for non-professionals? Is it the more techniques you use or originality or how perfect it looks etc.
Generally the contest will specify the weighting of the elements:
30% difficulty etc. Each contest is different. For a decorating contest, I'd have to say that technique will be more heavily weighted than taste, which some contests don't even include at all.
If you are unsure, you could write to the contest sponsors and ask.
I know that there are subsections in the catergories. For example, techniqe would include smooth fondant, clean work, etc.
Check out the "Cake Decorating Contest" board. SugarFlowers posted some great tips on what judges look for.
You can also google different cake shows and find out what kind of criteria they have. I just recently posted the info for that for the upcoming Arizona Cake and Sugar Art Show on our club's website.