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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | October 26, 2021

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Ekka cake competitions

Ekka cake competitions

| On 08, Aug 2013

Cake judging is serious business!

I mean, the sort of serious business that takes an expert eye with decades of experience behind them and who will sit in front of these beautiful creations critiquing the evenness of every pipe, every petal of each sugar crafted flower and will assess the perfect smoothness of icing with a critical eye for hours on end.

These skills belong to the lovely ladies of the Queensland Cake Decorating Association.

Cake Decorating

I was lucky enough to observe and gain a few sneaky tips from the Queens of cake knowledge as they scrutinised hundreds of deliciously aesthetic cakes.

This year the show received 110 entries in the decorating cake section, with a 12-year-old the youngest contender.

There are several categories to enter from modern contemporary, tradition and miniature to Christmas themed, novelty and beginner.

To a novice eye all these cakes deserve to win but I was just about to learn how much skill was behind cake competitions.

Judge Marie Sidhom taking a closer look at the miniature cake entries

Judge Marie Sidhom taking a closer look at the miniature cake entries

Cake Decorating Association member and cake decorating teacher, Marie Sidhom has been judging for 13 years and in her time she has loved the creativity and skill of all the people who enter.

“I’ve attended several cake decorating competitions overseas and our local talent definitely stands up to other countries,” she said.

Each cake is judged and scored and will be given a mark out of 10 for each criteria – design, impact, colour, creativity, skill.

The judges then discuss each cake and their scores and these are added together, allowing for fair judging and a detailed report is also written discussing what could be improved, what was well done as well as any advice.

There’s even an interstate judge who has never before seen the cakes to make sure it’s one very full proof, bona fide competition.

“There are a lot of factors involved and you might look at them and think it’s perfect but there could be less skill involved, the fondant is slightly cracked and the work is just not as fine”.

These talented competition entries can take over three months to finish their cake, so a lot of love, time and tears have gone into what seems more like art than cakes.

Wedding cakes, many of the categories

Wedding cakes. Several categories do not require actual cake underneath. Most of these will have foam underneath as they are only judging the decorating

Then there was the fruit cake judging…

I stepped into a whole new world as I watched several ladies crowding around this cake, holding it, squeezing it and describing all its’ flaws.

Inspecting fruit cake

Inspecting fruit cake

Judges look for how evenly the fruit is distributed, the colour, the smoothness of the top and the circumferences, making sure the sultanas aren’t popped (a sign the oven was too hot), not too dry, not too moist…. I could go on forever.

Then they cut the smallest wedge to share between them and this is when it gets heated.

The women debate whether the flavour is there, some say they haven’t used enough flour, others think it’s a good effort, needs more kick – it’s a very poetic affair.

I could have joined them for the entire day as they divulged their secrets, debated over whether cake ‘a’ was better than cake ‘b’ and talked passionately about the fine art of decorating and their devotion to passing on the baton to the next generation.

So wander on down to the RNA showgrounds this year and spend some time in the Commbank Auditorium.

You’ll be amazed, bewildered and astounded at the talent before you and don’t forget to remember those talented ladies who deemed the winner of what is definitely one hell of a difficult task.

The most delicate of piping that takes years to master

The most delicate of piping that takes years to master

The details

What: The Ekka

When: 8-17 August

Where: RNA Showgrounds. See the cakes on the lower level of the Commbank Auditorium.