Cheating Okay In Cake Competitions???

Decorating By jenniemar Updated 19 Mar 2012 , 4:50am by kimberlychapman

jenniemar Posted 8 Mar 2012 , 9:31pm
post #1 of 33

Just returned from my first cake competition (I will not name where it was), and long story short, I do believe the grand prize winner cheated. The contest directions stated that the cake must be made only by the person on the registration form. Person (singular) not persons. My husband was standing next to the winner when they told the panel of judges (when asked by them AFTER the competition was over) that they did not make the armature themselves- they had someone else weld it. There would NOT have been a cake if not for the armature- it was really big.

So my question is this:

Is it okay to have someone make an armature for your cake? IS this normal practice? Am I just totally off base thinking that when a rule says "only by the person on registration form"---it is just industry norm that it is okay to have someone else make a large part of your cake???

Just wondering if I can make a huge armature for my next competition and that's okay.

32 replies
sweetflowers Posted 8 Mar 2012 , 9:58pm
post #2 of 33

That's a touchy subject. And I know some competitors who will try to find loopholes in the rules (and brag about it) when they compete. Basically it's up to the judges and show chair on how to interpret the rule. In some shows, the armature is not the cake, so anyone can do that. The cake is judged on the decoration only, so what is seen, and since the armature isn't seen, it doesn't count.

In my personal opinion, I wouldn't count an armature or sawing a piece of wood cheating, as long as I was the one who designed it or directed what was to be done. However, if the 'intent' of the rule is everything for the cake done by the decorator, then it could be a loophole. I do have a problem with contestents who use loopholes as I find it unscrupulous (bad sportsmanship and unethical), but that's just me.

jenniemar Posted 8 Mar 2012 , 10:07pm
post #3 of 33

The rule clearly states"The entry must be the work of only the person listed on the Registration Form"

I think that is pretty clear.

jamiekwebb Posted 8 Mar 2012 , 10:14pm
post #4 of 33

but the armature wasn't the entry, the cake was

I don't think that it is cheating, JMHO

jenniemar Posted 8 Mar 2012 , 10:17pm
post #5 of 33

there wouldn't have been a cake if not for the armature. It was way more than a dowel rod or a cut board.

This makes no sense to me at all. I guess if I enter any more shows I will have to contact the people running it to get clarification. I thought it read pretty darn clear.

leah_s Posted 8 Mar 2012 , 10:20pm
post #6 of 33

I don't think the armature is the cake. Wilton may have made the separator plates, a wood company made the dowels and no one is going to question that.

Sounds OK to me.

Price Posted 8 Mar 2012 , 10:20pm
post #7 of 33

Personally I don't consider having someone else weld the armature as cheating. People use cake dummies for show cakes. They purchase the dummies made by someone else. If it were not for the dummies there would be no cake.

jenniemar Posted 8 Mar 2012 , 10:21pm
post #8 of 33

and, to be really clear about this- I did not place or expect to place. This isn't about me wanting to have the trophy, it is just me wanting to know if I am just being ridiculous thinking that the rule was absolute.

jamiekwebb Posted 8 Mar 2012 , 10:21pm
post #9 of 33

Did you win second? Are you so upset because you would have won if not for these people? You are saying that they wouldn't have been able to present this cake without that particular piece of equipment. I find it hard to believe that the judges would have given them first place if they thought the same thing.

jenniemar Posted 8 Mar 2012 , 10:25pm
post #10 of 33

no - I didn't place. lol

I wrote that.

jenniemar Posted 8 Mar 2012 , 10:36pm
post #11 of 33

I am not upset by it as much as bewildered. I taught art for years and took my students to the UIL competitions where the rules were very clear cut and I was and am still very very careful about what they (the rules) say-I had a student disqualified one year because of a rule I missed and since then have been really stringent about following them. As I stated before-it was my first contest. I went in never even going to a contest before.
I did not expect to place and I didn't. Not even in the top ten. So- it is not because of that I am asking this. I just want clarification.

That is all.

and yes- it was more than dowel rods or cake dummies- it was a huge armature. The next show I am looking at states in bold letters and is underlined that the cake must be the solely the work of the entrant. I am now going to e-mail the person running the show and ask them for clarification since it seems that the armature does not count as part of the cake. Again, I thought it reads pretty clear but again, I guess I am wrong.
icon_smile.gif

BlakesCakes Posted 8 Mar 2012 , 10:47pm
post #12 of 33

Nope, having someone else put the armature together isn't a violation of the rules., any more than having someone else provide you with pre-smoothed edges on your dummies, a specialty cut decorative cake board, or a custom mold.

Those rules generally apply to not having a group of decorators creating items that will be VISIBLE on the outside of the cake. They don't want group projects.

I can't weld or work a saw for the life of me--not if I want to have 10 fingers when I'm finished..........so my DH & I shop for the materials to make what I've designed and then he does all of the cutting.

Rae

FromScratchSF Posted 8 Mar 2012 , 10:53pm
post #13 of 33

Unless you entered an armature competition and not a cake decorating competition, I see no problem with someone else making the armature. It's not the cake or the decorations on the cake. Watch any competition show on TV and they show up with the armature already made.

jenniemar Posted 8 Mar 2012 , 11:27pm
post #14 of 33

well okay- good to know. I have access to some great welders and fabricators that can make my cakes move/smoke/flash etc. I can take my cakes to the next level! icon_smile.gif

sweetflowers Posted 8 Mar 2012 , 11:38pm
post #15 of 33

Make sure that is allowed also and there is electricity if needed. A lot of competitions have rules regarding size (base size) and a moving part might go over your limit.

Cake competitions are different than Art competitions, when in doubt, email the registrar or show chair to get clarification.

We have contestants get upset because their 'real' cake didn't get more points than a 'dummy' cake. That's because our cake show is judging cake decorating. This is different than some culinary shows where the cake counts. So always good to get clarification if needed.

jamiekwebb Posted 9 Mar 2012 , 12:09am
post #16 of 33

I apparantly posted at the same time you did, sorry about that.

cakeyouverymuch Posted 9 Mar 2012 , 3:25am
post #17 of 33

When you were teaching art were your students expected to weave, size, and stretch their own canvases on supports that they had built themselves? Or were they judged on the work they presented on supports that had been manufactured by someone else? The principle is the same.

Tails Posted 9 Mar 2012 , 12:42pm
post #18 of 33

I kind of see your point. Imagine you lost out because you didnt have a big fancy armature to someone else who had access to all of that. Of course a big fancy armature cake is going to get more attention than one without, unless you're phenomimal in your detail/piping.

But I suppose, technically (grr!), the armature is not made of cake so I guess technically its not cheating. But if it helps, I'd be frustrated too icon_sad.gif

shannycakers Posted 9 Mar 2012 , 1:18pm
post #19 of 33

I agree with everyone else. No its not cheating, and now you will know for next time what you can use to accent your cake and make it the best evericon_smile.gif

kimberlychapman Posted 9 Mar 2012 , 1:33pm
post #20 of 33

Mike McCarey addressed this in his structures class. He pays someone to do his welds for him too. I think if the man so many of recognize as the Cake God gets his welds done for him, we can lay off the winner. Unless someone here feels bold enough to take Mike's Food Network gold medals away for having had his welding done elsewhere?

Also: yes, she was dinged for the other imperfections like having the sides of the base not covered.

Others have accused her of breaking the rules for going over the table size but if those folks read the rules they'd see that's allowed with prior notification, which she did do.

After hearing some of the vitriol launched at the winner over these issues, I already proposed a rule clarification on structures that should make what everyone involved with the show and the judges already hold true: that as long as you design the structure, it's okay to have someone else make it, or suggest weld spots for strength, or that sort of thing.

We want cake artists. The lady who made that cake is clearly a cake artist. Calling her a cheater is really not acceptable. Questioning the application of rules is one thing, but I'm appalled to see her accused of cheating.

Note that I am not speaking as an official representative of the show with this post and have not been given sanction to do so. But as a volunteer, competitor, and former winner of that same prize, I feel compelled to speak out in support of a great cake artist who did nothing wrong, didn't break any rules, most certainly did not cheat, and deserves accolades, not accusations.

Also for the record, I don't know her at all, so this isn't personal. I just really think it's not fair to accuse people of cheating in a public forum.

chelleb1974 Posted 9 Mar 2012 , 1:50pm
post #21 of 33

I'm in agreement with those that say this isn't cheating. Like a PP said (leah....I think?), those that enter competitions don't normally make their own cake dummies - they buy them pre-cut, sanded, rounded over, etc... along with foamcore boards. That's not cheating IMO. I enter 3-4 competitions a year (a few pretty well known ones included), and no one would complain about an armature that was welded by someone else.

~Chelle

BlakesCakes Posted 9 Mar 2012 , 2:08pm
post #22 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by kimberlychapman

Mike McCarey addressed this in his structures class. He pays someone to do his welds for him too. I think if the man so many of recognize as the Cake God gets his welds done for him, we can lay off the winner. Unless someone here feels bold enough to take Mike's Food Network gold medals away for having had his welding done elsewhere?

Also: yes, she was dinged for the other imperfections like having the sides of the base not covered.

Others have accused her of breaking the rules for going over the table size but if those folks read the rules they'd see that's allowed with prior notification, which she did do.

After hearing some of the vitriol launched at the winner over these issues, I already proposed a rule clarification on structures that should make what everyone involved with the show and the judges already hold true: that as long as you design the structure, it's okay to have someone else make it, or suggest weld spots for strength, or that sort of thing.

We want cake artists. The lady who made that cake is clearly a cake artist. Calling her a cheater is really not acceptable. Questioning the application of rules is one thing, but I'm appalled to see her accused of cheating.

Note that I am not speaking as an official representative of the show with this post and have not been given sanction to do so. But as a volunteer, competitor, and former winner of that same prize, I feel compelled to speak out in support of a great cake artist who did nothing wrong, didn't break any rules, most certainly did not cheat, and deserves accolades, not accusations.

Also for the record, I don't know her at all, so this isn't personal. I just really think it's not fair to accuse people of cheating in a public forum.




So glad that you chimed in on this one, Kimberly.

I, too, was unhappy to see the accusation of cheating, but tried to see it from a newbie competitor's viewpoint.

It's disturbing to see these types of knee jerk reactions at so many shows these days.

My personal philosophy is to go to a show to learn from every entry, and I do ask questions of judges & show organizers if I see something that seems "off" to me. I think, in general, most shows do have educated judges who do their best to get it right. I've seen immediate disqualifications and unjudged entries when something is deemed a rule violation.

Rae

jenniemar Posted 9 Mar 2012 , 2:23pm
post #23 of 33

I never said what show- you guys did. I'm done. Thank you for all your replies. I have learned a lot and yes, I think there should be clarification to the rules since it seems to have so many interpretations.

I read the rule literally.
and so newbies like me to competitions need more clarification.

thank you for the answers- that is what I needed.

pieceofcaketx Posted 9 Mar 2012 , 2:39pm
post #24 of 33

Omg the cake was so amazing that Mike McCarey himself stood by it and examined it for at least an hour.
I wanted so badly to go meet him but totally chickened out.

On the subject of the armature...
I view the armature as a tool not as part of the cake, she used it to create that masterpiece, just like she used a rolling pin to roll fondant. So no I don't think it's cheating and neither did the judges.
To think had I had someone make my armature maybe my showcake wouldn't have collapsed in the car....

kimberlychapman Posted 9 Mar 2012 , 2:50pm
post #25 of 33

You didn't name the show or the competitor, but the cake community is pretty close and everybody knew instantly what and whom you meant.

You out and out accused her of being a cheater. You said, "I do believe the grand prize winner cheated." You owe her an apology for that.

BlakesCakes Posted 9 Mar 2012 , 6:59pm
post #26 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenniemar

I never said what show- you guys did. I'm done. Thank you for all your replies. I have learned a lot and yes, I think there should be clarification to the rules since it seems to have so many interpretations.

I read the rule literally.
and so newbies like me to competitions need more clarification.

thank you for the answers- that is what I needed.




It was pretty easy to figure out which show it was.............before you edited your profile to remove "Texas" from your location.

Better to ask questions after reading the rules and before entering than to be angry at yourself, or others, after the show is over................

Rae

sweettreat101 Posted 10 Mar 2012 , 9:00am
post #27 of 33

People be nice and give her a break. She is new to competition and asked a valid question. Did she cheat? All you needed to say was no you don't feel that's cheating or yes you do. You don't need to persecute the lady and tell her to apologize. She didn't name any names. It's called freedom of speech and she came here to a cake decorating board to get your opinion on the matter not to be heckled. We should be able to ask each other any questions pertaining to cake decorating and not feel ashamed for doing so. Or be worried about what kinds of questions we want to ask. This is how we learn. That's one thing I love about this site is learning new techniques from other bakers.

metria Posted 10 Mar 2012 , 5:21pm
post #28 of 33

the title of this post is "cheating okay in cake competitions???", which is pretty aggressive. if the title had been "is non-competitor-made armature acceptable in competition?", this would have set a completely different tone.

she is welcome to ask questions, but to me, she is not welcome to point fingers, regardless if we knew who she was talking about or not.

sweettreat101 Posted 10 Mar 2012 , 9:57pm
post #29 of 33

Yes she could have posted the question differently but she doesn't deserve to get attacked by fellow cake decorators in this manner. People shouldn't feel afraid of asking a question. I have seen people post basic questions about butter cream and then get verbally attacked by experienced cake decorators who were getting tired of the same basic questions. One even suggested a cake board only for professional bakers. All I'm saying is the question was a yes or no answer it didn't need to go that far. If she wanted to call someone out on cheating she would have included the date, place and the name of the competitor. We should all be one big cake decorating family here sharing each other knowledge of the love of cake decorating no matter if you are a newbie or a professional baker.

CWR41 Posted 10 Mar 2012 , 10:07pm
post #30 of 33

No. I think everyone knows that it's never okay to cheat in any situation. This wasn't cheating, examples were given, and it needed further discussion than a simple "no" answer.

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