I'm So Discouraged....

Decorating By Kandykin Updated 2 May 2011 , 1:25am by JanetBme

Kandykin Posted 27 Dec 2010 , 8:15am
post #1 of 19

I entered a competition earlier in the year as an amateur. I don't intend to brag but there were 3 cakes that stood out above the rest in that category, with mine being one of them. Recently I found out that the winner in the amateur category was actually a professional decorator - her website says that they have been open for business since last year.
The other problem was the peoples choice award. Remember I said there were 3 cakes that were good. My friends had kept a close watch on the votes being dropped in and it seemed like the people agreed with my statement, because most of the votes were devided between the 3 cakes. But the cake that won peoples choice was not one of the 3.
I'm not saying I should have won, but I would be content if one of the other 2 had won it, so I know it's a fair competition. I loved the experience of taking part in the competition, but let's face it - everyone of us putting all that effort and time, do it with the hopes of winning icon_smile.gif I don't want to take part in this competition with the same organizers, because, between the professional amateur and the fixing, I feel cheated.
I don't want to report on the cheat because her work is similar to mine and I don't want to burn down bridges - I may have to refer customers to her. And yes, that was my last chance to enter a competition as an amateur, because now that I sell my artwork, I would be in the professional category.
Sorry if I'm rambling, it's 3am and I'm tired but can't sleep because I just came across the cheat's website with her winning cake on there.

18 replies
myslady Posted 27 Dec 2010 , 10:47am
post #2 of 19

IMO selling cakes doesn't make one a professional. Did the rules say that amateurs couldn't be selling their cakes or was it based on experience?
I have entered a competition and the beginner/amateur category was for those who had been decorating less than 2 years, for the professional category, you needed way more experience than that. Also, how were your friends able to see all the votes? I don't doubt you, but generally some people try to hide who they are voting for. In the competition I was in, the people's choice winner was a cake from the intermediate category and not the professionals. People tended to pick based on overall design and not just execution.

I wouldn't lose sleep over it because, well that says a lot if she had to do that to win.

Kandykin Posted 27 Dec 2010 , 2:04pm
post #3 of 19

The rules were very specific - if you sell or have sold cakes in the past, you have to enter in the professional category.

As for the voting - each cake had a little container in front of it with the name of the entrant and each person at the show was given a ticket that they drop into the container. If you hang around the cake, you can actually count the number of votes! And to be totally honest, not trying to sound mean here, the peoples choice was a sad looking cake. When the winner of that was announced, there was a long pause before the applause. icon_confused.gif

-K8memphis Posted 27 Dec 2010 , 3:17pm
post #4 of 19

Those competitions are so subjective and can be so frustrating. The drama can be overwhelming to say the least. Do your best to work through this and get it past you. Like make a cake for something else and start worrying about it--in a good way--and then try & let this go as best you can. Especially when you lay down to go to sleep and when it wakes you up in the wee hours of the morning btdt.

There's no easy answers when you feel you've been sucker punched. But when you on purpose work so damned hard and get yourself gutted so freaking unfairly it goes into a completely different realm.

I understand and I'm a member in good standing of that unfortunate club no one wants to be a member of and those in charge want to think doesn't exist.

Eventually when the bleeding stops you can at least identify and commiserate with the next person in line for membership. <heart>

cabecakes Posted 27 Dec 2010 , 4:09pm
post #5 of 19

All to often, cake competitions in small towns are a popularity contest. If you know a lot of people, YOU WIN! I wouldn't put to much stock in it. Try to enter contests with real judges who don't know people in town...these are when you find out a person's true grit. I entered a cake decorating competition at our local fair, and I never dreamed I had a chance (for the above stated reasons). I worked really hard on the cake. I tried to incorporate all the decorating mediums. Buttercream, fondant, gumpaste, molded chocolate, hard candy, I even through in some unexpected stuff like...fruit roll-ups. I was in misery waiting for the judging, but I was pleased to find that the judges were brought in for the competition (no locals). The judges went around and asked each contestant to tell them something about their cakes and then did their judging. I won best in show and first place. It is the pillared cake in my photos with the seagulls. It wasn't wonderful, but they liked how I incorporated the different mediums. It feels good to win, but always keep your eye on the real prize. The fact that with every cake you do you gain experience, and that experience makes people happy. Don't believe me...really look into the eyes of a child when you hand them something you created especially for them...priceless.

-K8memphis Posted 27 Dec 2010 , 4:53pm
post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by cabecakes

All to often, cake competitions in small towns are a popularity contest. If you know a lot of people, YOU WIN! I wouldn't put to much stock in it. Try to enter contests with real judges who don't know people in town...these are when you find out a person's true grit. I entered a cake decorating competition at our local fair, and I never dreamed I had a chance (for the above stated reasons). I worked really hard on the cake. I tried to incorporate all the decorating mediums. Buttercream, fondant, gumpaste, molded chocolate, hard candy, I even through in some unexpected stuff like...fruit roll-ups. I was in misery waiting for the judging, but I was pleased to find that the judges were brought in for the competition (no locals). The judges went around and asked each contestant to tell them something about their cakes and then did their judging. I won best in show and first place. It is the pillared cake in my photos with the seagulls. It wasn't wonderful, but they liked how I incorporated the different mediums. It feels good to win, but always keep your eye on the real prize. The fact that with every cake you do you gain experience, and that experience makes people happy. Don't believe me...really look into the eyes of a child when you hand them something you created especially for them...priceless.




I'm sure it's true of small towns but it's also true in some of the biggest competitions as well. The politics involved make Washington look like amateur hour.

playingwithsugar Posted 27 Dec 2010 , 5:46pm
post #7 of 19

I was on a cake show committee a few years ago. When it came to the decorator's choice (only contestants were allowed to vote) the decorator who won had gone around, whining about the quality of her work (which sucked big-time), and several of the other decorators decided to boost her ego by voting for her work. I only learned this after the voting and awarding were completed, otherwise we would have disqualified the winner.

As previously described, this was a small community cake show, and the chips were stacked.

I have also judged at another small community cake show, where the show was sponsored by a vendor. The vendor got really mad when none of her students won. What were we supposed to do, when the work was really, really bad? Of course, it reflects on the vendor, since she was also the teacher.

Last story - the cake that won best in show this year, in a show near me, was a Martha Stewart knockoff - taken from a 10-year-old tutorial of a sheetcake of a vegetable patch. Not that the work wasn't good, but the rules specifically stated that the work must be original. What does this tell you about the vendor, when they don't recognize unoriginal work when they see it? There was a LV purse that was far more impressive, and I feel it should have won. Again, we're talking a small community cake show.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

Kandykin Posted 28 Dec 2010 , 6:00pm
post #8 of 19

Thank you for making me feel better - love you guys for it. icon_smile.gif I guess I just have to forget it and move on.

DaPom Posted 4 Jan 2011 , 7:18am
post #9 of 19

Two summers ago I entered a dessert contest locally. It was outdoors at the local park, and was combined with a picnic.

I decided to get into the "picnic" theme and made a 9" hamburger with all the (fondant) trimmings, a 6" hot dog, and french fries all out of cake and buttercream frosting, and even the "paper plate" it was served on was edible.

The winning "dessert" was a premade graham cracker crust filled with cool whip with crushed pinapple mixed in it. I didn't even place (1-4) but did get an honerable mention.
The fix was on that day -- it felt like high school LOL. tapedshut.gif

I was invited to participate this year and I declined. The good thing was that I got a few calls from folks who tasted my cake and they asked me to bake cakes for them.

playingwithsugar Posted 4 Jan 2011 , 7:38am
post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaPom

The winning "dessert" was a premade graham cracker crust filled with cool whip with crushed pinapple mixed in it. I didn't even place (1-4) but did get an honerable mention.
The fix was on that day -- it felt like high school LOL. tapedshut.gif




What a lame, sucky dessert that was that won! It just goes to show you - there's no accounting for taste. Glad your silver lining was getting some cake orders.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

DaPom Posted 5 Jan 2011 , 4:12am
post #11 of 19

Thanks, Theresa.

I really got discouraged when the chocolate chip cookies from Sam's Club took 2nd place... just kidding, but it was close LOL.

icon_surprised.gif

Kandykin Posted 13 Jan 2011 , 2:25pm
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaPom

Two summers ago I entered a dessert contest locally. It was outdoors at the local park, and was combined with a picnic.

I decided to get into the "picnic" theme and made a 9" hamburger with all the (fondant) trimmings, a 6" hot dog, and french fries all out of cake and buttercream frosting, and even the "paper plate" it was served on was edible.

The winning "dessert" was a premade graham cracker crust filled with cool whip with crushed pinapple mixed in it. I didn't even place (1-4) but did get an honerable mention.
The fix was on that day -- it felt like high school LOL. tapedshut.gif

I was invited to participate this year and I declined. The good thing was that I got a few calls from folks who tasted my cake and they asked me to bake cakes for them.




I feel for you icon_sad.gif

I too am invited to participate in the same competition this year - don't wanna. thumbsdown.gif

jenncampbell007 Posted 22 Jan 2011 , 4:30am
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kandykin

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaPom

Two summers ago I entered a dessert contest locally. It was outdoors at the local park, and was combined with a picnic.

I decided to get into the "picnic" theme and made a 9" hamburger with all the (fondant) trimmings, a 6" hot dog, and french fries all out of cake and buttercream frosting, and even the "paper plate" it was served on was edible.

The winning "dessert" was a premade graham cracker crust filled with cool whip with crushed pinapple mixed in it. I didn't even place (1-4) but did get an honerable mention.
The fix was on that day -- it felt like high school LOL. tapedshut.gif

I was invited to participate this year and I declined. The good thing was that I got a few calls from folks who tasted my cake and they asked me to bake cakes for them.



I feel for you icon_sad.gif

I too am invited to participate in the same competition this year - don't wanna. thumbsdown.gif


A few years ago another cake decorator that had a cake business and lived about an hour away from my town, decided to take it upon herself to write really crappy reviews about my business and every other cake shop in our area, but then write a huge ALL CAPS 5 Star review about her shop... I mean it was SOOO obvious who wrote the reviews, lol!

I confronted her about the reviews along with some of the other cake shops she bashed. Of course she denied it.... Well, come to find out, she actually ran this All State Cake Competition and had the audacity to email me a few months later and ask me to compete (and pay a fee) in the competition. Of course I didn't go, but guess who I found out had won?

Well, you guessed it.... SHE won her own Cake Competition... Talk about RIDICULOUS in so many ways. Clearly people like these feel like they have to trash other businesses and win their own competitions so they can feel good about themselves. Geesh!

Kitagrl Posted 22 Jan 2011 , 5:12am
post #14 of 19

I attend a cake competition each year and its for a charity event and its pretty big for a local thing, they have at least 35 pastry chefs there each year competing for best wedding cake, and then they have a huge tasting thing afterwards for the public (mostly brides).

Honestly, the time is so short they are not able to judge fairly....almost every year, the people who win I'm like "HUH????" Because even if I didn't get the win, I had a few picked out that I felt deserved it, and rarely did the best ones really win anything. One decorator I know, she got a prize last year and earned every bit of it...the other one? Meh. Oh well.

I figure its fun....it does get a tad frustrating to feel maybe you deserve a prize for something (last year I had one of the judges tell me she felt I deserved a win but they could not all agree) but eh... I still can't help but go back! Probably the year I decide to throw something together last minute will be the year I win. LOL!!!!

Do it because its fun and because you enjoy it...I'm learning NOT to get my hopes up anymore, although one can't help but try each time!

Kakzter Posted 1 Apr 2011 , 4:07am
post #15 of 19

Just this past weekend, entered my very first contest put on by a neighboring towns chamber of commerce, at their home expo. I don't know anyone in that town. There were 14 entries. And Im proud as punch that I won first place and people's choice. One of the other cakes was a beautiful lighthouse with a light in the top. And I won!! icon_lol.gif

I almost cried! I had to bite my lip. But wow, I REALLY want to enter some more contests.

I've been bitten by the bug.. icon_biggrin.gif

7god77 Posted 10 Apr 2011 , 11:14pm
post #16 of 19

I am so sorry you had such an aweful experience at your first Cake Competition. I host a Cake Competition in upstate NY every year. I have tried to make my cake competition as fair as possible for our competitors. We have divisions for beginners-professionals and all entries are anonymous (so there is no playing local favorites).

One thing I have found is that there are those professionals that try to enter in a lower category. I look at all the enteries before the competition to see if they have entered a business name or website. If so, I automatically put them in the professional division. I had to do that last year and the person was very upset with me but I wanted to keep it fair for the other competitors (and her cake could easily compete w/ the other professionals). For the last 2 years I have gotten e-mails after our event questioning if we could change something in our rules or the division guide lines. I have learned that you can not please everyone but I do take their comments into consideration for the following year. I did reword a couple pieces this year in our rules to make it more "clear" for our competitors based on an e-mail I received. I am also adding 2nd and 3rd place certificated this year to our adult divisions based on a comment.

We have Wilton instructors as judges from all over NY State as well as this year some guest judges. Don't quit competing due to a bad experience as I find that everyone present at our event enjoys the cakes and looks forward to seeing all the varieties that come in every year. Keep your head up icon_smile.gif

thallo Posted 10 Apr 2011 , 11:58pm
post #17 of 19

Our local cake club sponsors a cake show every year. It is a lot of hard work to make sure that everything is handled fairly. We have outside judges come in to judge. And the judging is by numbers - never any names on any entries. Our judges are all highly qualified - some are ICES officers, well-known instructors, and highly respected cake artists. As I am in charge of recruiting the judges and entertaining them while they are in town, I would never consider entering the contest. No Way!! And the judge's score sheets are available to the entrants at the end of the show. They contain constructive comments from the judges and the judges are almost always willing to talk to the entrants at the end of the show to give hints and suggestions as to what could be improved on for the next show.

As for the entrants entering in a lesser catagory in order to place higher, there is not much we can do about that. We have discovered a couple of people who did this (one used her business email as her contact information) and we immediately contacted them and let them know that they were qualified to be in a different catagory and would certainly do well there as was seem by the work they displayed on their web page. If we miss one, we would certainly be grateful to learn about the oversight.

Even with all of the cautionary measures taken, it is still impossible to please everyone. One year a young lady who did not place in the competition stood up at the end of the awards and announced that only people from the club were winners and she would never be back. The truth was that NO One from the club won top honors in any catagory.

Remember that they judges are individuals with individual opinions and that even though we might not agree with their decisions, they are still the judges - this year, anyway. Enter again next year, or better yet, come to our competition and be treated fairly.

BijouxCakes Posted 1 May 2011 , 8:20pm
post #18 of 19

I know what you mean about being discouraged, but you can't let something like that get you down.
The first actual cake i made was for my sister and i actually got so frustrated i started crying. They cake stuck to the pan (which has never happened before, i think that cake just hated me) and broke apart. My husband took me aside and calmed me down. The idea in my head was nothing with what i was working with. So i just mended the bread as best as i could and when i filled it, crumb coated it, and covered it in fondant you couldn't tell the disaster i had just gone through.
The final display was okay. I saw a rushed and mediocre cake, but everyone else said it was amazing and asked if i was taking classes or something. (no classes, but lot's of youtube icon_razz.gif )
Anyway, the moral of the story is people see things differently. People like something not knowing if it was by an amateur or a professional. In contests i know it feels like a person starting out can't stand a chance against someone with experience, but one thing to remember is that the underdog gets mega bragging rights.
So pick yourself up, make another cake and enter more contests. icon_twisted.gifthumbs_up.gif

JanetBme Posted 2 May 2011 , 1:25am
post #19 of 19

Dont be discouraged. People have always "lied" about their level. I know people who have been doing cakes for years and still put themselves in the novice or semi professional category. They know what they are doing...but I guess they are just insecure - they are probably standing by listening to people say "ooh wow amazing, and it's a beginner!!"

Sometimes the winning cake is not as "wow factor" as the other cakes. The judges go by the grading sheets, they score particular things-such as techniques used and not just overall looks- the over all look is just one category of several.

Back in the earlier days cake shows when few people did sculpting(they didn't have that category), I entered a sculpted cake that was "wow"(even now I get asked to teach that cake). It did not win. The cake that won in my category was a I think a 12 inch round fondant cake with cutout flowers and royal details. She had used several different techniques that the judges were able to identify and judge. Her execution of the techniques was flawless. When they tally up the scores, that made it the winning cake. Yeah, it dissappointed me,(ok it broke my heart!!!) But I dusted my ego off and kept coming back!!!

I have been on the other side too. I won a contest where my cake was not the "Wow" cake- Matter of fact, several of the other competitors cakes well out shone mine. And probably the audience would not have picked my cake. It just wasn't the "cool" one. But in the end, the amount of techniques, and different components is what made the judges pick it. I felt bad- it wasn't a good win for me because I know that many people thought that one of the bigger-more "WOW" cakes should have won. That hurts just as much as not winning.

Decorators choice, People do tend to vote for people they know and like.

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