Local Cake Contest Frustrating

Decorating By cookiemom51 Updated 30 Aug 2009 , 2:26am by StarbucksAddict

cookiemom51 Posted 27 Jul 2009 , 6:35pm
post #1 of 21

I am sure most of you know how much effort it takes to enter a cake show--following the rules, selecting your design, choosing correct materials and methods, entry fees. Yesterday I submitted a cake to our county fair contest and somebody kick me if I ever do it again. The cakes were displayed within easy reach of the public and mine was repeatedly touched. The judge was never introduced and was inaudible. But the really frustrating thing was they started the judging an hour early and I missed seeing my cake judged altogether. When I asked about it, they admitted they had "goofed" and they were sorry. Well, it was fun to make the cake and see it displayed.

20 replies
bisbqueenb Posted 27 Jul 2009 , 8:07pm
post #2 of 21

County Fairs are notorious for having judges who may be home economists and food knowledgeable but know NOTHING about the ART of cake decorating! I have seen a drop star covered character pan cake win over perfectly iced cakes with symmetrical borders, lovely color combinations and great looking roses! And I WAS JUDGING next door in the 4-H category where we knew what we were doing and the judging results showed! I've heard this same 'complaint' about a lot of fair entries....so don't take it personally...your cake probably deserved far more and showed talents the judges were incapable of appreciating!

Texas_Rose Posted 27 Jul 2009 , 8:17pm
post #3 of 21

I've never entered any contests...but the last two years my daughter has insisted on entering the school contest. Both years she's had the best-looking cake in her grade and both years she's gotten a ribbon for participation while the winning cakes look like odd plops of frosting with candies stuck randomly in them. She's usually okay with it but then on the way out parents will be stopping us and telling us that they think she should have won, and by the time we get home she's ready to throw the cake in the trash because she's mad. She says that next year she will write "Don't judge me by what your kids can do" on the cake...LOL...that will go over well there.

vtcake Posted 28 Jul 2009 , 6:48pm
post #4 of 21

I entered a local fair last year for the first time, and what a lark! I don't have any idea who judges or how they do it, but was thrilled to see that my decorated cake took a blue! Until I saw that they handed out LOTS of blues, lol!

still, all in fun, and I did take bragging rights, and will be entering again soon.

navyman Posted 7 Aug 2009 , 1:49am
post #5 of 21

I have entered many cake competitions local and nationally. As I see it, the only time your cake is judged against the other cakes in your division is for the overall best cake in class than all best cakes in class compete for the best in show. The judges are suppose to grade each cake against perfection and based on their score you will get a 1st, 2nd etc.. place ribbon. When you get to the best in show, politics come into play. The judges notice who decorated the cake, if you are unknown and competing against a well known cake decorator, you can just guess who takes the prize. One show I competed in my cake was up against 29 other cakes and when it was over I took 3rd. place. I thought I had done good until I found out the 1st and 2nd place cakes were decorated by two decorators that worked with the judges. In short, the best is when you take a 1st. place ribbon in your class. It tells you that your decorating skills are tops!

mixinvixen Posted 7 Aug 2009 , 2:22am
post #6 of 21

i entered our county fair two years, so excited! the theme was celebration, and i wanted to not go for the too obvious, so i chose the writing of our national anthem. a true celebration if i've seen one with the british bombing ft mchenry and the flag still waving proudly
Image

so i dropped it off that day, and there was only 3 or 4 others...two small sheet type cakes, and then this huge 2 foot tall monstrosity of a couple dancing, with elephant skin fondant, sloppy piping, fondant bulges, and patches on the fondant that were beyond obvious!!! i go back a few hours later and that person's had the blue ribbon, while my neat, clean, pristine detailed cake had second place. i have no problem getting second but to get passed over for a cake that the designer slopped together really bothers me still to this day.

i inquired to one of the chairwomen if the judges were joe blows or actual cake designer themselves. she said they did cakes, and that she didn't understand why the other person won either. about a year later, i found out that the blue ribbon winner was a local personality here in our area, well known in certain circles, so maybe that explains it!!

biggest insult of all was that i spent over $50 in supplies and all i got as a prize was a thing of jelly and a 1970's taste of home cookbook from the thrift store!!!

so this year, i was thinking of doing another one, much bigger, probably around $70 in supplies or so alone...i talked to a chairwoman and she happened to mention that she'd had so much fun shopping for the prizes at the thrift store again....in the next breath, she mentions that she can't understand why only one person entered last year...well gee!!!! i wonder!!!! i think i'll spend my money elsewhere!!!!!!!!

mixinvixen Posted 7 Aug 2009 , 2:24am
post #7 of 21

i entered our county fair two years, so excited! the theme was celebration, and i wanted to not go for the too obvious, so i chose the writing of our national anthem. a true celebration if i've seen one with the british bombing ft mchenry and the flag still waving proudly
Image

so i dropped it off that day, and there was only 3 or 4 others...two small sheet type cakes, and then this huge 2 foot tall monstrosity of a couple dancing, with elephant skin fondant, sloppy piping, fondant bulges, and patches on the fondant that were beyond obvious!!! i go back a few hours later and that person's had the blue ribbon, while my neat, clean, pristine detailed cake had second place. i have no problem getting second but to get passed over for a cake that the designer slopped together really bothers me still to this day.

i inquired to one of the chairwomen if the judges were joe blows or actual cake designer themselves. she said they did cakes, and that she didn't understand why the other person won either. about a year later, i found out that the blue ribbon winner was a local personality here in our area, well known in certain circles, so maybe that explains it!!

biggest insult of all was that i spent over $50 in supplies and all i got as a prize was a thing of jelly and a 1970's taste of home cookbook from the thrift store!!!

so this year, i was thinking of doing another one, much bigger, probably around $70 in supplies or so alone...i talked to a chairwoman and she happened to mention that she'd had so much fun shopping for the prizes at the thrift store again....in the next breath, she mentions that she can't understand why only one person entered last year...well gee!!!! i wonder!!!! i think i'll spend my money elsewhere!!!!!!!!

cookiemom51 Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 3:30pm
post #8 of 21

Looks like I am not alone in having problems with these local contests. If you would like to see a picture of the cake I entered it is my (so far) only photo in the Children's Birthday Cake gallery, the one with the penguins. The remarks about biased judges hit home with me when I did a little research and found out the Best of Show cake several years at this fair was won by the head of the culinary division on the fair board. Hmmm. Kinda smells like some rancid Crisco I found once. icon_smile.gif

__Jamie__ Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 3:47pm
post #9 of 21

Key words...local and/or county. Stay far far away from those.

vtcake Posted 9 Aug 2009 , 6:11pm
post #10 of 21

I would NOT stay away from local fairs...it's all there is around here, and it's fun.

Depends on what your expectations are for sure. I certainly would not dumb down my cake for a local fair, nor would I spend a ton of money on it.

leah_s Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 1:38am
post #11 of 21

Against my better judgment I entered a local contest a couple of years ago. I did a three tier, fondant covered topsy turvey. The theme was an art show. I decorated with a replica of a painting done by one of the artists who exhibits, with a mitered corner gilded frame, molded and painted "metalwork" like a different artist's work, a fondant blanket for the fiber artists and poured sugar work to mimic glass artist's work. Higher levels skills all. I got beat by a . . .






wait for it . . .







sheet cake.

Never. Again.

__Jamie__ Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 1:46am
post #12 of 21

Oh hell no. How????

adree313 Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 1:54am
post #13 of 21

i just moved to this town and we went to possibly the smallest fair i have EVER seen or heard of... i took a look at the cake entries and the grand champ was an exact replica (with slightly less skill) of the cake on the cover of the wilton course 2 student kit............

now, i've never taken a class and am far, far, far, FAR from being a pro, but even I could have done (would have WANTED to have done) something a teeny bit more impressive. i actually didn't know of the contest, but i think i'll enter next year. as i said, it's possibly the smallest fair in the world, and i figure i'd have a better shot starting off small icon_biggrin.gif

danasflowers Posted 26 Aug 2009 , 3:10pm
post #14 of 21

I think it is time for some of you to hang up your decorating hats for the local fair and become the JUDGE!!!!!! You guys know a LOT more that the current judges do and I am sure you would be a welcome asset to the local fairs!!!

Ever inquired about being a judge?? Become that judge you wish U HAD!!!! icon_smile.gif

CutiePieCakes-Ontario Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 1:19am
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas_Rose

I've never entered any contests...but the last two years my daughter has insisted on entering the school contest. Both years she's had the best-looking cake in her grade and both years she's gotten a ribbon for participation while the winning cakes look like odd plops of frosting with candies stuck randomly in them. She's usually okay with it but then on the way out parents will be stopping us and telling us that they think she should have won, and by the time we get home she's ready to throw the cake in the trash because she's mad. She says that next year she will write "Don't judge me by what your kids can do" on the cake...LOL...that will go over well there.




I beat the 'judges' know what you do, and assume that you're helping her or, heaven forbid, doing it for her.

What she should write is "No, my mom didn't decorate this - I DID!".

BeeBoos-8599_ Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 2:29am
post #16 of 21

I probably would never enter a cake contest BUT I have a pie that I know would win if I took the time to enter it. The problem is that most of the local contests only have a prize of $20 or some piddly amount like that. One of these days this pie will be there and they will bow at my feet dang it! heheh

Carolynlovescake Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 5:12am
post #17 of 21

I didn't enter this year at my county fair because they had me with 20 years experience and a current Wilton Instructor (I have instructed prior to being a Wilton instructor via private lessons) competing as a novice.

Why? Because I don't work at a bakery and get paid to decorate cakes on a part time or full time basis. Teaching it doesn't make me a professional according to their guidelines.

icon_rolleyes.gif



Leah,

You lost to a... sheetcake.... what the heck?icon_surprised.gif

Who did you anger in a past life? icon_lol.gif

KimAZ Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 6:42pm
post #18 of 21

I've entered in both the county fair and state fair here and they're basically run by the same group of people. I spoke to the person in charge of the State Fair's culinary arts entries the 2nd year I entered because I didn't know what they were actually judging on. She was about as helpful as a wet noodle, knew nothing about cake decorating and was totally making up stuff off the top of her head. She didn't even know the rules from the exhibitor' handbook and I had to tell her what they were. My gosh, it was so frustrating. There was suppose to be an extra prize from Wilton and she didn't even have anyone judge for that. *I* had to tell her what it was about and more than 3 weeks after the fair was over, and at least 4 calls to her about who won, low and behold, I won the extra prize. ( a decorating book..whoopee!) But had I not said anything, those books wouldn't have gone out to anyone.

So the next year, I thought for sure they'd have it together. Wrong! Same crap, new year. I asked who the judges were and was told they got some lady from another department ( who judges quilts) to judge the cakes. WHAT?!?!? Same thing happened at the county fair. I was the only one who entered anything and some person who knows nothing about cakes "judged" mine. I got blue ribbons but it felt like a joke!

I do keep entering because I totally enjoy making the cakes and just know that everyone wins a ribbon regardless how it looks. But after speaking with the lady in charge every year, she now knows that I don't let things slip by or go unnoticed. She got some of our local cake club members to judge last year. At least they were people who knew something about cakes!

Too bad the fairs don't put as much effort into judging crafts as they do into judging animals.

KimAZ

Rylan Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 12:53am
post #19 of 21

There are nice sheetcakes out there that got really creative.

JoJo0855 Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 1:25am
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Quote:

The problem is that most of the local contests only have a prize of $20 or some piddly amount like that




Twenty Bucks? That's a small fortune compared to our upcoming fall fair ...
(some details hidden to protect the disillusioned LOL)

Decorated cake (xxx theme) judged only on decoration.
1st - $5.00, 2nd - $3.00, 3rd - $2.00

Chocolate layer cake, iced. Prize money donated by XXX, winning cake to be retained by them.
1st - $10.00, 2nd - $3.00, 3rd - $2.00

PLUS: exhibitors registration fee of $3.00 to enter exhibits

StarbucksAddict Posted 30 Aug 2009 , 2:26am
post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoJo0855

Quote:
Quote:

The problem is that most of the local contests only have a prize of $20 or some piddly amount like that



Twenty Bucks? That's a small fortune compared to our upcoming fall fair ...
(some details hidden to protect the disillusioned LOL)

Decorated cake (xxx theme) judged only on decoration.
1st - $5.00, 2nd - $3.00, 3rd - $2.00

Chocolate layer cake, iced. Prize money donated by XXX, winning cake to be retained by them.
1st - $10.00, 2nd - $3.00, 3rd - $2.00

PLUS: exhibitors registration fee of $3.00 to enter exhibits


The Maryland State Fair is about $10 for a 1st place win. And my local county is a whopping $3 for first. Lovely.

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