So I was super blessed this past weekend to be asked to help judge the North Florida cake competition. A first time for me so I was super nervous but also very excited. I knew I was going to be a stickler for the rules and fortunately the other judges were very much the same way.
At the end of judging we had disqualified 10 entries which I knew meant I was going to have to answer a lot of questions. One thing I wanted to make sure I did was be there for the contestants, I knew most of these were first time competitors and getting answers would be super important. I wanted to make sure no one went home angry or never wanting to compete again.
So I am writing this to try and help any of you that may be thinking about competing with many shows just right around the corner, especially the first time competitor. I have said this before and I just cannot say it enough ....know the rules! If the rules say no non-edible items that means if you are making a piece that requires glass in it, then you must find an edible medium such as isomalt or gelatin to create those pieces with. Ribbon would not be able to be used on the cake but yes on the bottom cake board that would be ok, use fondant or gumpaste in it's place for any tiers or accents (a mistake I made). Disco dust is not edible so do not put it on your piece just to be safe, there are some tutorials out there for rdible disco dusts so use those. Do not use fake gems, take the time and make your own isomalt gems and silk flowers are a definite no,no.
A competition piece although in most cases you can use dummies it is still supposed to be presented as if it were going to a client. So here are a few things to make sure you think of. Lets start with your board....this is a very important part of your overall piece so firstly make sure you have one ( not kidding a cake did show up with absolutely no board), Treat your board as if it also a continuation of your piece, finishing it off with fondant is not a must but it will score better as an overall finished piece, and ribbon on the side to hide any ugly edges of the bottom board. Because you are treating it as a real cake then you should still have cake boards under any tiers that will be seen, some people also cover those pieces with fondant or buttercream just to finish it of nicely. I know many are travelling from far away but still you cannot use HOT GLUE on any of your piece, You could not hot glue a clients cake so do not do that to your competition piece either. Sugar glue, isomalt, royal icing or chocolate all make perfect mediums for sticking things on cakes.