Would You Enter A Cake Show?

Decorating By KimAZ Updated 11 May 2010 , 11:45pm by cakeandpartygirl

KimAZ Posted 10 May 2010 , 9:31pm
post #1 of 35

Hello All,
I am very actively involved in the cake show in my state and would like to get input from people about entering cake shows.

It seems many people don't want to enter the shows for a variety of reasons. If you're one of those people would you mind taking a moment to share why?

Perhaps you're intimadated? Think your skills are not good enough? Driving distance from where you live? Don't care about competitions? Don't think the prizes are good enough? Don't have the time or can't participate on a weekend?

I'm just trying to get thoughts on how to get more people to participate and find out why more do not. If you WOULD enter a show, what are the main reasons you like doing so?

Looking forward to reading your replies!
Thanks!
KimAZ

34 replies
tonedna Posted 10 May 2010 , 9:52pm
post #2 of 35

I think everyone should participate in competitions. Most people are scared.
Driving doesnt help. But I think one of my major problems is the lack of
explanation for divisions, or maybe too confusing. Specially for beginners.

Another thing is..I Had entered a competition where it says 2 years doing cakes you are amateur..well..I dont agree with that. I have people that do maybe a cake every 3 months and that is not enough experience to be an amateur. Then we have some that do a lot of cakes that have cakes in the quality of professionals and have been doing cakes for years, but since they don't own a shop or don't work in one they enter in amateur.

So there goes the frustration with some people. You would have then an
amateur that have make a few cakes, to amateur that can be considered a professional. Both of them on the same division.


I had this happened to a student of mine, and she was very frustrated! I told her, you have been doing cakes for 2 years but you dont do cakes everyday and she still on beginners skills. She needed to enter as a beginner. But she was following the time frames given per division

Edna icon_smile.gif

JGMB Posted 10 May 2010 , 9:58pm
post #3 of 35

I wouldn't ever enter a competition for 2 main reasons that you mentioned:

1) Intimidation. I know that my skills aren't at the competition level yet, and I'm not sure they ever will be.

2) I just don't care about competition. Oh, don't get me wrong -- I LOVE seeing the cakes that others enter, watching the FN Challenge, etc. I just don't have that competitive spirit myself.

TexasSugar Posted 10 May 2010 , 10:10pm
post #4 of 35

Because I am a WMI it usually puts me in the Semi Pro Level, and while I can do all the techinques we do in class very well, I don't feel like I am a Semi Pro when it comes to other things, like the gorgous gumpaste flowers and such out there.

Traveling is also hard for me. Not just getting there but the costs of staying out of town for a weekend.

One day I'll get up the guts to enter one, I hope...

tmac670 Posted 10 May 2010 , 10:15pm
post #5 of 35

For me it is definitely intimidation. I have been decorating cakes for 14 years- but my skill level has never gone past the beginner or amateur level. I have been to a cake show- no way I would put my cake up against some of them.

It certainly isn't competition- I would love to be on the level to compete!

jhay Posted 10 May 2010 , 10:27pm
post #6 of 35

I have never really thought about competitions, but I think I would try if I heard of one close to me.

Distance could be an issue, but I would love to see a Food Network Challenge type thing for Amateurs!

Elcee Posted 10 May 2010 , 10:46pm
post #7 of 35

I was very nervous about entering a competition for all of the reasons in the original post. I entered a cake decorating competition in my state fair and did pretty well. THEN, I took a deep breath and entered my first "real" competition in February. I qualified as an intermediate level by barely 2 months and I am strictly a hobbyist so I hadn't done all that many cakes in my 2 years and 2 months.

I have to say it turned out to be the best experience! I loved it. It was great to see what other decorators in my experience level are doing (I'm right on target, not better or worse); the feedback from the judges was invaluable to me and has had an effect on what I have been doing cake-wise since then; I met people and made connections I never would have had I not competed. I got a bunch of cool stuff. As a hobbyist, it allowed me to stretch my creativity and gain experience. AND, I have, in writing, praise about my cake from Earlene Moore icon_smile.gif. I am hooked and am already planning to enter more than one cake next year.

newmansmom2004 Posted 10 May 2010 , 10:55pm
post #8 of 35

I entered my first competition this year after saying for three years I was going to do it. The first two years I simply didn't have time to get a cake ready but this year I planned to do two. I managed to get one done and thought it was pretty good for the 'adult beginner' category, but I found out that because of my experience and classroom time I was overqualified and had to bump up to 'adult intermediate'. I had no dreams of placing and was really more interested in doing the show to challenge myself...to see if I could do it and if I could handle the stress of it. The other reason is because I knew that we all got critique cards from the judges and I wanted an objective opinion regarding the good, bad and ugly.

I was shocked, to say the least, when I went to pick up my cake the last day of the show and found a big 3rd place placard next to my cake! Yay!! There were probably 20 or so cakes in my division so I felt very good about what I had produced. Reading the card was really great because I now know that I was right on target with some things and needed to improve on some other things.

I can't wait to do it again next year - hopefully with two cakes!

Price Posted 10 May 2010 , 11:08pm
post #9 of 35

I enjoy entering competitions. I look at it as an opportunity to challenge myself to do something I haven't tried before. It's a great opportunity to get feedback from decorators in the know! I take their comments and use them to try to improve my skills. I only decorate as a hobby, but I still want my work to be the best it can be.

I've entered the GACS 3 times and I entered a contest at a local Church twice and that's it. I'd love to enter more contest, but unfortunately there aren't very many close to me, and it's difficult for me to travel very far for the shows. I don't go expecting to win anything, but it's a real plus when I do! icon_biggrin.gif

I would love to enter more shows, but don't really have the time to travel the distance to get to the competitions.

metria Posted 10 May 2010 , 11:21pm
post #10 of 35

The last cake show I went to, well, let's just say I took note of which categories had the least amount of entries. Perhaps I'll enter those next year icon_wink.gif

wedding cakes and novelty tiered cakes had sooo many entries.

costumeczar Posted 11 May 2010 , 12:09am
post #11 of 35

I don't like competitions because, quite frankly, it seems like a lot of the criteria for judging the entries is so ridiculous the winners make no sense. I really don't care how technically precise something is when I look at a cake as an observer, as long as I find the design interesting and fun. When the judges start debating which cake has the most precisely-covered cake board, or which gumpaste flower has the exact number of stamens, who cares? It's not unusual for the people's choice to be totally different from the judges' choice for winners, which to me says a lot.

I understand that there have to be some criteria and "standards" but when you're decorating a bunch of dummies that can be worked on for two months in advance, you just end up seeing a lot of overly prissy cakes. When I look at the designs of the cakes at a lot of cake shows I'm overwhelmed by how sterile they look, if that makes any sense.

I'm just not interested in contests where people spend so much time studying what the judges are looking for to get more points that they forget to be creative about the designs. You should have a contest where all the cakes are real, no styrofoam allowed, and you have to be able to eat them, too! No stale cakes that have sat out being worked on for three weeks! icon_twisted.gif

mamawrobin Posted 11 May 2010 , 12:44am
post #12 of 35

I agree with costumeczar. I think I might enter if the cakes had to be real and they had to be tasted. To me a real cake competetion would address both.

metria Posted 11 May 2010 , 12:48am
post #13 of 35

i think it's nice that some competitions allow you to use dummies. it's hard to get on a plane with a real cake...or drive 4 hours with cake that you'll have to assemble in your hotel room w/ little equipment.

mamawrobin Posted 11 May 2010 , 12:58am
post #14 of 35

[quote="metria"]i think it's nice that some competitions allow you to use dummies. it's hard to get on a plane with a real cake...or drive 4 hours with cake that you'll have to assemble in your hotel room w/ little equipment.[/quote

Of course. icon_smile.gif I understand why it's allowed to use dummies. I'm just saying that I wouldn't be interested in entering a contest of that kind.

metria Posted 11 May 2010 , 1:01am
post #15 of 35

i see what you're saying now ... but man, i'd be pretty jealous of those judges that get to eat cake! and so curious to those who won!

whenever i walked past the "Buttercream Only" category it smelled sooooo good, it was torture.

mamawrobin Posted 11 May 2010 , 1:04am
post #16 of 35

icon_lol.gif No kidding. I'd like to be a judge in the "tasting" category.

3LittleBeesCookies Posted 11 May 2010 , 1:22am
post #17 of 35

I entered a cake show and won't enter another one for at least five or so years. Edna, you hit the nail on the head for me. I had a similar experience when I entered the show as a beginner. You had to have less than 2 years of experience. I worked so hard and was so proud of my cake, until I got to the show and saw the others in my division. I am not a cry baby, but I almost cried and wanted to leave! Edna stated it perfectly--I was the amateur who has just made a few cakes up against amateurs that could be considered professional. Needless to say, I am super intimidated now. I don't mind competition, but I feel that I don't have what it takes to compete in cake shows--at least not now. That's just my 2 cents.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tonedna

I think everyone should participate in competitions. Most people are scared.
Driving doesnt help. But I think one of my major problems is the lack of
explanation for divisions, or maybe too confusing. Specially for beginners.

Another thing is..I Had entered a competition where it says 2 years doing cakes you are amateur..well..I dont agree with that. I have people that do maybe a cake every 3 months and that is not enough experience to be an amateur. Then we have some that do a lot of cakes that have cakes in the quality of professionals and have been doing cakes for years, but since they don't own a shop or don't work in one they enter in amateur.

So there goes the frustration with some people. You would have then an
amateur that have make a few cakes, to amateur that can be considered a professional. Both of them on the same division.


I had this happened to a student of mine, and she was very frustrated! I told her, you have been doing cakes for 2 years but you dont do cakes everyday and she still on beginners skills. She needed to enter as a beginner. But she was following the time frames given per division

Edna icon_smile.gif


Price Posted 11 May 2010 , 1:23am
post #18 of 35

I've judged the cakes at the 4H fair for the last 3 years. Believe me, when I'm done for the day, I don't want to eat any more cake for awhile! LOL

fabray13 Posted 11 May 2010 , 1:24am
post #19 of 35

I would love to enter a competition! I tried to, but then it was cancelled icon_sad.gif I am just a beginner but love to see others work and try new things. I am also not really sure of where to find competition listings so i could enter.

tonedna Posted 11 May 2010 , 3:11am
post #20 of 35

I think you should not let intimidation stop you from doing it again. What happens is that now next time you know what you are against of and it will only make you work harder on your skills to reach a higher level.

I know for a first timer is not easy to go through that situation, but you been already in it so now you can work to achieve a higher level, instead of giving up.

And even if you dont win, the experience will help you grow enough
so one day you can win.
Edna icon_smile.gif


Quote:
Originally Posted by 3LittleBeesCookies

I entered a cake show and won't enter another one for at least five or so years. Edna, you hit the nail on the head for me. I had a similar experience when I entered the show as a beginner. You had to have less than 2 years of experience. I worked so hard and was so proud of my cake, until I got to the show and saw the others in my division. I am not a cry baby, but I almost cried and wanted to leave! Edna stated it perfectly--I was the amateur who has just made a few cakes up against amateurs that could be considered professional. Needless to say, I am super intimidated now. I don't mind competition, but I feel that I don't have what it takes to compete in cake shows--at least not now. That's just my 2 cents.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tonedna

I think everyone should participate in competitions. Most people are scared.
Driving doesnt help. But I think one of my major problems is the lack of
explanation for divisions, or maybe too confusing. Specially for beginners.

Another thing is..I Had entered a competition where it says 2 years doing cakes you are amateur..well..I dont agree with that. I have people that do maybe a cake every 3 months and that is not enough experience to be an amateur. Then we have some that do a lot of cakes that have cakes in the quality of professionals and have been doing cakes for years, but since they don't own a shop or don't work in one they enter in amateur.

So there goes the frustration with some people. You would have then an
amateur that have make a few cakes, to amateur that can be considered a professional. Both of them on the same division.


I had this happened to a student of mine, and she was very frustrated! I told her, you have been doing cakes for 2 years but you dont do cakes everyday and she still on beginners skills. She needed to enter as a beginner. But she was following the time frames given per division

Edna icon_smile.gif


3LittleBeesCookies Posted 11 May 2010 , 3:18pm
post #21 of 35

That was sweet. Thanks for the encouragement, Edna! icon_smile.gif

tonedna Posted 11 May 2010 , 4:33pm
post #22 of 35

Never give up!
Edna icon_biggrin.gif

jenmat Posted 11 May 2010 , 4:40pm
post #23 of 35

I have been considering entering a competition, but for me, its more of an advertising issue. I do not know of any competitions in my area (WI), and I know there probably are some. I think as an organizer, advertising should be a huge priority. Every bakery within a large radius should get an email/mailing, every cake shop/supply store etc.

If I encountered an ad for one, I would seriously consider it, but with my workload, its not like I'm going to go out and search for it.

tracycakes Posted 11 May 2010 , 4:48pm
post #24 of 35

I love to enter but mainly because I learn so much myself when I do it. When I entered the first time, I entered adult advanced because I had been caking for '20' years, but most of that time, made maybe 1 cake a year. It was frustrating to be against people that didn't have a "business" but had been caking for many years, had a website, advertised, but still didn't consider themselves in business. that's a whole 'nother discussion I won't go into.

However, I feel a part of it if I enter and I love getting the critique. Besides, after making cakes to be JUDGED, making a wedding doesn't scare me the least bit anymore.

Katiebelle74 Posted 11 May 2010 , 4:56pm
post #25 of 35

I am more than happy to respond.

COULD YOU PLEASE HOST THE CAKE COMPETITION IN say...mmmm...JANUARY??

They always seem to host them right in the HEIGHT of WEDDING SEASON. WTF?!
So I have to sacrifice a weekend of wedding cake income AND put supplies and effort into the competition. Come on, seriously? Why is that? Why. why, why are the competitions not during the slow months of the year? I would love to enter one but I have bills to pay and can't turn away big wedding cakes so I can go be in a competition.

joyfullysweet Posted 11 May 2010 , 5:10pm
post #26 of 35

I would love to enter one as long as it's not far, but quite honestly, I have no idea how to even find out about them!!! I never see them advertised???!! I'm surprised considering I'm close to a few major cities!

MissLisa Posted 11 May 2010 , 5:21pm
post #27 of 35

I have to say, I have been decorating for 30+ years and have never entered a competition until this past March. The reason? It scared the hell out of me! I am my own worst critic and I know it, I can point out any flaw on any cake I've ever done. Most people can't see it.

So why all of a sudden did I enter one this year? Simply put - the MI Chapter of ICES was hosting it and as a member I was compelled to enter in support of our venture. So I worked it all out in my mind what I was going to enter (Divisional vs Wedding Cake) and drew up a design. And then, a few weeks before the competition I decided to enter all three categories in my division! YIKES, now the pressure was on and I had done it to myself.

Because I have decorated for so many years and have worked in a bakery (30 yrs ago) I entered the Advanced Professional division. I went into the competition with no expectations at all. I did it for me! I entered things that were fun for me to work on. I was SHOCKED when 2 of my 3 entries took 1st place and I won best of division, best of show and decorator's choice. The decorator's choice award means the most to me. It tells me what others think of my work. Now for the scariest part of all, since I won best of division, I now have to enter at the Master's Level. I don't think I'm there yet but, if/when I enter again, I'll give it mybest shot, again with no expectations.

KODYSMOM Posted 11 May 2010 , 5:22pm
post #28 of 35

The only reason I haven't entered one is because there are none close to me and I wouldn't want to hassle of traveling with a cake. I would rather just go and observe all the beautiful cakes! I would be intimidated by the competition also because my skills no where match what's out there, but I don't think that would stop me if I had an opportunity. I would just go in knowing that I wouldn't win, but I think that it would be a lot of fun just experiencing being part of the competition.

KimAZ Posted 11 May 2010 , 6:43pm
post #29 of 35

I'm so glad to read all these replies! For those looking for events, here is a list I've compiled. I know there are a lot more out there though. There is a list on American Cake Decorating's website and you can always Google shows too.

I find the hardest part about the cake show, from a coordinator's perspective is to advertise. Our cake club hosts the event and we don't have the extra money to actually pay for advertising. So we just do word of mouth, post on the internet and in a local cake supply store. It's VERY hard to get any big name decorators to come out. They are all very busy and again, we can't afford to pay for their expenses.

As for judging, again, very difficult because it's totally subjective and each judge sees something different. There is no way for judges to know who is doing what and who's been decorating longer than someone else.

Like mentioned several times above, it's hard to know what division to enter in because we leave it up to each person to decide where they belong. So someone who have decorated for 10,20, 30 years may well be up against someone who's only done it for a year or two and not do as well. It generally is quite obvious when cakes are in a lower division than they should be. Sometimes they will get moved up to a higher division from the show coordinators, but again, it's all in the eye of the beholder.

I highly encourage everyone to TRY though! Even if you don't think you have enough talent or skill, you probably do! We're all our own worst critics! Not all shows are like what you see on competitions on tv! They're not that strict or intense. They don't usually pick apart every little flaw. They're more likely to point out the good things and suggest ways to improve things. It's usually only when to get to be in the master's level that they actually have to critique what you did wrong because so much of it is right!

KimAZ Posted 11 May 2010 , 6:44pm
post #30 of 35

Month  Event  Location
Jan  The Art Of the Cake Cake Show  Cleveland, OH
Jan  Tennesse Cake Festival  Nashville, TN
Feb  Annual Cake & Sugar Art Show of Arizona  Glendale, AZ
Feb  That Takes The Cake Show  Austin, TX
Feb  Colorado Premier Sugar Art Show  Denver, CO
Feb  Panhandle Cake Crumbs Competition  Pensacola, FL
Mar  San Diego Cake Show  San Diego, CA
Mar  National Capital Area Cake Show  Burke, VA
Mar  Queen City Cake & Sugar Art Show  Cincinnati, OH
April  Washington State Cake Show  Shelton, WA
April  Sugar Wonders Cake & Sugar Art Show  McKinney, TX
April  PA ICES Annual State Cake Show  State College, PA
May  Great American Cake Show & Wedding Cake Competition  Baltimore/Westminster, MD
May  Annual Cake Decorating & Sugar Art Show  Walnut Creek, CA
July  ICES  various locations
July  National Pastry Forum   various loactions
July  World Pastry Forum   various loactions
Sep  Cake Camp  Las Vegas, NV
Sep  Atlantic City Bakery Expo  Atlantic City, NJ
Sep  Carolina Cake Show  Charlotte, NC
Sep  Cake Decorators of Tidewater Cake Show  Virginia Beach, VA
Sep  North Georgia Cake Challenge  Dahlonega, GA
Oct  Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show  Tulsa, OK
Oct  American Retail Bakery Expo  various locations
Nov  Peddlers Villiage Gingerbread Competition  New Hope, PA
Dec  Cake Cruise  out of CA
Dec  West Coast Gingerbread House Contest  Napa, CA

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